It was so successful that Peugeot attempted to repeat the trick without going through the unnerving business of actually replacing it. Ostensibly the 106's predecessor was the 104 - but it was the lessons learnt with the 205 which informed the development of the new entry-level model, based as it was on much the same platform. The evolutionary attitude was plain enough in the way the Series I cars looked, too: the 205's 80s chic receiving only the most sympathetic of 90s tweaks.
Being uninclined to fix something which plainly wasn't broken - and with its eye on international rallying - the pre-facelift version of the 106, the Series 1, essentially repeated the 'fewer frills, more thrills' formula. Its chassis shared much with the slightly older XSi, although the Rallye benefitted from a larger anti-roll bar at the back and Peugeot (anticipating heavy-handed treatment) reinforced the front suspension mounts.
The engine - the short-lived TU2 J2 - is a confirmed peach. An evolution of the TU24 unit which had powered the 205 version, the 1,294cc 8-valve motor had swapped out its carburettors for the better efficiency of Magnetti Marelli fuel injection, but with 100hp at 7200rpm and a close ratio five-speed 'box, its raucousness barely sustained a dent. And with only 825kg to overcome, the Rallye had that uncanny fast supermini way of feeling massively quicker than 9.6 seconds to 60mph suggests.
And that was all it needed. Peugeot's nous and physics did the rest; bequeathing the Rallye much the same spiky and immersive handling experience that had already been immortalized by the 205. Sochaux would eventually get round to installing more power in the 106 - most memorably in the GTI, but in the S2 Rallye, too - yet the S1's cultish reputation remains unwrinkled by what came later.
SPECIFICATION - PEUGEOT 106 RALLYE
Engine: 1,294cc, 4-cylinder
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 100@7,200rpm
Torque (lb ft): 80@5,400rpm
First registered: 1994
Recorded mileage: 76,000
Price new: £8,995
Price now: £6,940
See the original advert here.