Peugeot Quasar: The Ultimate Group B Weapon
If ever there was a manufacturer to perfectly sum up the frustrations that concept cars often cause, it would be Peugeot. Over the years the manufacturer has presented countless concept cars ranging from the bizarre to the stunning. Perhaps the most frustrating element of Peugeot’s concept back catalogue is the number of sports cars that have received positive responses, but have had absolutely nothing done with them. On one occasion at least, however, a Peugeot concept car did actually have some relevance to the brand’s future activities.
As the Group B era of the WRC began to take off, Peugeot looked to build their own competitor to take on the all-conquering Audi Quattro. The result of this would be the 205 T16, unveiled in 1984. While the ties between the regular 205 and the T16 were slim at best, Peugeot still faced certain restrictions with the 205. This prompted two of the 205’s designers, Gérard Welter and Paul Bracq, to create a version of the T16 removed of the hatchback body’s limitations.
The resulting concept car from this development was the Quasar, unveiled at the 1984 Paris Motor Show. As the Quasar was intended to be a 205 T16 with no restrictions, it unsurprisingly relied heavily upon parts from the Group B rally car. This included lifting the engine from the T16, however in the Quasar the 1.8 litre, turbocharged four cylinder produced 600hp and around 360 ft-lb of torque: a seriously impressive amount of power for the period. This was a significant increase over the output of even the later Evolution 2 model of the 205 T16, which at its peak could produce up to 550hp. The Quasar also borrowed the all-wheel drive system from the T16, as well as the brakes and suspension set-up.
Visually the Quasar took a completely different approach to the 205 T16. The styling was full-on supercar material, with a perfectly of its time wedge front-end and large glass canopy covering the occupants. However, potentially the most distinct element of the exterior styling was the rear-end. The engine and exhaust system were largely exposed, with very limited bodywork across the back of the car. The taillights taken off of the regular 205 do look a little out of their depth in contrast to the massive exhaust tips next to them, however. The intention of the design was to enclose the mechanical parts of the car in as tight of a package as possible, which created a truly unique looking car.
If externally the Quasar was eye-catching, the interior was arguably even more so: almost every surface was covered in bright red leather. In terms of equipment the Quasar took a distinctly futuristic approach, which combined with the aforementioned leather captures its era perfectly. Clarion were in charge of providing the tech for the interior, including the digital dash that, considering it has the exact same display in every photo, doesn’t appear to actually do anything. Still, it looks brilliant, especially when combined with the dash-mounted CRT screen. The screen provided navigation information and could both send and receive telex messages. It’s quite impressive how similar the general interior layout of the Quasar is when compared to modern day cars, if admittedly rather a lot simpler: a large, digital dash display with lots of information and a large screen in the middle of the car to control most of the technology is a set-up we’re all largely used to now.
Unsurprisingly, both because of the completely impractical for production design and due to it being a Peugeot, the Quasar never made it past the concept stage. The mechanical parts would go on to great success in the WRC when fitted to the 205 T16, with Peugeot taking both the driver’s and manufacturer’s titles in 1985 and 1986. Realistically it was never particularly likely that the Quasar would become anything more than a concept, but it was still an interesting insight into what a true Peugeot Group B based supercar could look like.