Peugeot Quasar

One of the things I most adore about 1980s concept cars is that it wasn't enough to be fast. To truly captivate auto show crowds, your concept car had to be fast and technologically advanced. Sure, concepts completed before the 1980s have always featured advanced tech—but they weren't often more than window dressing.

When the 1980s hit, automakers immediately began stuffing consumer-grade electronics inside their concepts—and sometimes, their production cars. Nothing showed crowds that an automaker was on the cutting edge like dashboard-mounted CRT screens, digital gauges, and a silver—it had to be silver—graphic equalizer.

This led to some strange hybrids of features and supercar-like performance, including the Peugeot Quasar. At that time a World Rally Championship manufacturer, Peugeot's on-stage rival Lancia had recently introduced the 037: a rear-drive, bespoke rally weapon. With a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine (a development of the Abarth 131's) and supercharger, the final Evolution 2 specification had horsepower up to 325, from an initial 265 in 1982.

The last rear-drive rally car to win the World Rally Championship, it was quickly made obsolete by the works Audi Quattro, Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 (T16), and other all-wheel-drive rally cars. 

All of this is to say: I think the inspiration from the Quasar came from the 037: what if the 205 T16 didn't remain competitive? Jean Todt's competition department began rallying the 205 T16 in 1984, the same year as the Quasar's Paris Auto Show debut. Maybe if Group B hadn't been shelved we'd have seen a Quasar-like competition car roll out of the Peugeot workshop…

Fitted with the rally car's drivetrain in an extreme state of tune, the mid-engined concept is said to have 600 horsepower from just 1775cc. Four cylinders were turbocharged, with a 4WD drivetrain and race car-like pushrod suspension to help keep everything under control.

Every 80s trick was packed into the car, from its glass canopy-style roof, to "Lambo" doors, to a digital navigation system complete with some sort of warning system for the driver…hopefully it was a computer voice gently reminding him that it'd all be obsolete within a few months.

 


Sources / Recommended reading