Full confession, first. I called them Freedom Fries. At West Point, we giggled at the Maginot Line’s bureaucracy-bred haplessness. I too-often insert an ungainly Honnhh Honnnhhh Honnnnhhhh when a social situation calls for a Frenchman’s laugh [c’mon – don’t we all encounter such scenarios?]. But that’s all a form of betrayal, as our Peugeot 205 GTI was a French jewel among the the myriad, multi-cultured automotive gems that sparkled throughout our three year tour in Germany. I’ll even go on record as naming it as our all-time favorite car. Thus, whatever we may think we think of the French, my opinion shall forever hold a very large asterisk because of our excellent Peugeot period.
The gem’s cave was our nearby Peugeot-Talbot dealer in Bremen-Lesum, Autohaus Manfred Haensch. Looking back, Herr Haensch’s sometimes-gruff countenance may have reflected how many, uh, berets he wore. He sold us the car, then handled all of the tax-exempt paperwork. He was the service advisor and cashier, and probably even did some wrenching. It all added up to multi-tasking, before such was invented. And blessedly, Googling the dealership reveals a still-active store, giving hope that a small dealer can still exist in today’s increasingly mega-dealer world.