If you haven’t seen the news already: a Swiss Peugeot dealer has revived the Rallye moniker by dressing up a new 208 in the old Peugeot Talbot Sport colours and a set of white steelies. Needless to say, it’s an exceptionally cool-looking thing, and proves the old Rallye formula works just as well today as it did on the 205 way back in 1987. A shame it’s limited to the Swiss market, then, though you’ve got to expect that a Peugeot dealer in the UK has taken note and is (hopefully) working away on a version us Brits can get our mitts on.
However, at the risk of sounding like a colossal killjoy, it’s not a proper Rallye. Not least because it’s a dealer special, but it’s essentially a bog standard 208 with some stickers and those retro wheels. Although its 1.2-litre three-pot engine produces a Rallye-esque 100hp and comes with a six-speed manual, it weighs exactly the same as a standard 208. So while some of the old Rallyes could get away with having meagre power outputs, they had a lot, lot less metal to shift along. Of course, we’ll take it if it ever crosses the English Channel, but we’re still waiting for a proper Rallye successor.
Specifically, a successor to this: the Peugeot 306 Rallye. Ironically, it’d be reserved for the UK market only and, unlike the 208 homage, would feature all the weight-saving measures expected from a Rallye. No electric windows, no air-con and less sound deadening helped shave anywhere between 16kg and 65kg from a GTI-6 depending on your source, while cloth sports seats and a plastic steering wheel added to the Rallye’s rudimentary appeal.
Funnily enough, the 306 Rallye actually broke from tradition. Prior Rallyes weren’t as powerful as their GTI counterparts, and the 205 and earlier 106 variants have to be properly ragged to get up to speed. Meanwhile, the 306 gets the same running gear as the GTI-6, meaning two whole litres of naturally aspirated four-cylinder rortiness and six speeds of manual cog swappery. There’s 170hp on tap, which is loads more than its Rallye predecessors and, presumably, enough to exploit the agile platform below without bouncing off the rev limiter.
You already know it’s a legend, and you probably know used examples command a serious premium because of it. Matt Bird likes to remind us he paid £1,700 for his ten-or-so years ago, but even a leggy one will set you back five times that these days. This car is one of the more cherished examples you’ll find out there, with no signs of peeling lacquer or stickers, and a chunky history file documented by the three previous owners. Plus, it’s recently had cambelt sorted, too, so you can get to work on upping the current 65,000-mile tally.
Interestingly, Peugeot only made 100 black examples of the Rallye from a 500-strong production run, making it the rarest of the three colours available. Not that there are many of them left, with HowManyLeft putting the figure at 83 currently on the road and over 200 SORN’d. Ready for the price? It’s £14,995. We’ve certainly seen more expensive ones on PH, and while it’s not the cheapest either, it’s looks to be as box fresh as a near-25-year-old car can be. Still cheaper than a 208 ‘Rallye’, and at least you can actually buy this one…
SPECIFICATION | PEUGEOT 306 RALLYE
Engine: 1,998cc four-cylinder
Transmission: six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 170@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 142@5,500rpm
Year registered: 1999
Recorded mileage: 65,000
Price new: £15,995
Yours for: £14,995
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