The old saying ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover’ is one that rings true when looking at Darren Cotton’s Peugeot 205. We found it sitting quietly, surrounded by Porsches, McLarens and Nissan GTRs at Destination Nürburgring and knew we had to take a closer look. As you can imagine it’s a far cry from the original 1.6 GTi spec and harbors a host of custom modifications.
Underneath a largely standard exterior is a well-developed package, honed by Darren over years of track visits. The eagle eyed may spot that the plastic arch trims are no longer texture finish and have been massaged to house the wide R888 tyres but that’s pretty much it from the outside. Sure there is a three bar grille and Speedline SL434 wheels that might hint at something lurking beneath but these are ultra-subtle given the work under the skin.
When it came into Darren’s hands the little Peugeot had already been upgraded with a famous Skip Brown capacity increase to 1.9 litres. Known as the 1.9 GTi-S this package included a gas flowed cylinder head and high lift camshaft, taking the overall output beyond that of the ‘normal’ 1.9 offering from Peugeot. Despite the extra performance Darren needed more. The car is now fitted with an Mi-16 16v head, throttle bodies and aftermarket management controlling 8 injectors. Oil is controlled by a dry sump system and the power is transmitted via a 6-speed box and LSD.
With such an interesting engine setup, the chassis was never going to remain standard. Darren has cleverly modified the rear beam to use Peugeot 306 parts, allowing a drop of 50mm with the trailing arms still in the factory location. Group N ‘tarmac spec’ BILSTEIN absorbers have been selected from the motorsport catalog and mounted at each corner while rose jointed front wishbones complete the package.
Judging by the pace that Darren is able to pilot the 205 around the Nordschleife it’s a combination that works supremely well, outpacing much more coveted machinery around the demanding circuit. But Darren isn’t finished refining the red hatchback just yet and we look forward to seeing it in action again through 2017.