Finally the sad news that one of the auto industry’s most renowned designers, Peugeot’s Gérard Welter, died recently at the age of 75. Welter, who designed cars for Peugeot for 47 years, penned some of the most legendary Peugeots of the last half a century.
His design credits included the 304 604, 305, 405 and 406. His last production Peugeot design was the RCZ coupe, with its complex double-bubble glass roof.
He is most famous, though, as the designer of the iconic 205 hatchback. The 205 exploded onto the motoring scene in 1983 and Peugeot built 5.3-million over a 14-year production run. It gave birth to the 205 GTi, which was the first hot hatch to best the Volkswagen Golf GTi in performance, if not sales.
He didn’t isolate himself with conventional projects, though, and he teamed up with fellow Peugeot designer Michel Meunier to create the WM-Peugeot sports racing car. Its top speed of 405km/h on the Les Hunaudières section of the Le Sarthe circuit in 1988 remains the highest speed record ever recorded at Le Mans. While Roger Dorchy’s lap in the WM P88 is remembered, Welter’s racers competed at Le Mans from 1976-89.
He also designed the most successful rally car of the Group B era, the Peugeot 205 T16, the Paris Dakar-winning 205 and 405 coupe and the 405 coupe that rose to fame in the Climb Dance short film that covered Ari Vatanen’s Pikes Peak victory in 1988. – BD Motor News