Once upon a time there was a carmaker in France called Peugeot and they made really good fast cars. They don’t do that anymore, they make small heavy cars with Star Trek doors that no one will buy. But many years ago people who were more interested in cars than their hair used to go to their dealerships and buy hatchbacks with illustrious names like 205 GTI and 306 GTI. So confident of its cars’ sporting credentials was Peugeot that it even called them ‘Rallye’ sometimes and it wasn’t even a joke.
But those days are sadly gone and all we have to remember these happy times are the memories of half-leather seats and dodgy graphics. That and cars like the 106 GTI. It is very small but very, very good. Google it and you will find terms like ‘best handling small car ever made’, ‘better handling than any supercar’ (steady on), ‘excellent handling’. You get the picture – this car could go round a corner. I don’t care if it is made of tin foil and my head would stick out the sunroof, the 106 GTI it is one of those cars you just have to drive.
It had a 120bhp 1.6-litre 16-valve engine that was enough to give the 950kg Pug 128bhp/ton. The interior was made of recycled Evian bottles but that didn’t matter because it drove brilliantly. As Evo once put it: ‘The car is so focussed it’s almost on fire.’ It was hardcore, hyperactive and supplied so much lift-off oversteer that you’d think it was rear-drive.
The 106 GTI took on and beat pretty much every new hot hatch even when it was past its sell-by date. Not long ago these couldn’t be had for less than a few thousand pounds but recently they have dipped into Shed territory. It doesn’t even seem that long ago when they were making them new and Peugeot managed to do a good job of keeping the age-old 106 design looking fresh.
The one we found here on Autotrader is a 1998 and has 110,000 miles on the clock. There’s not much info about it and the pictures have been taken using a mobile phone wrapped in cling-film but who cares? I would love to have this car in my drive. Just a shame it hasn’t got sliding doors.
Ad says: '1998 PEUGEOT 106 1.6 16V GTi 3dr Hatchback, 110,000 miles, 3 door hatchback, blue, petrol, manual. £999 ono.'