Peugeot 106 Rallye (S1) | High Mile Club

A six-figure mileage means it can be used; a recent resto means it ought to be fresh. Win-win, right?

By Matt Bird / Sunday, April 18, 2021 / Loading comments

The Peugeot 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered is significant for a number of reasons. It’s the most powerful Peugeot ever, for starters, it marks the beginning of the electrified quick Peugeot era and it’s also another fast estate to consider – all points in its favour. But perhaps more so than any other brand, it’s impossible to talk about new performance Peugeots without mentioning the old ones. Even if they’ve nothing whatsoever to do with the freshly launched product. Why is that?

We’ll be trying the 508 PSE for ourselves very soon, to see where it sits in the premium plug-in hierarchy, but until then it was all the tenuous association required to feature a true Peugeot icon. That word isn’t used lightly, either: the 106 Rallye, at its most basic a 1.3-litre city car, is properly revered a quarter of a century later. Perhaps that’s why nobody can resist talking about them…

We’re all accustomed now to lightweight, focused derivatives costing more than standard models – it wasn’t always the case. Cars like the 306 Rallye and Series 2 106 Rallye removed weight and cost less money, the very antithesis of adding equipment and cranking up the price that characterises a modern performance car. Which happens, it should be said, because that’s what the car buying public actually goes for. But not having the truly raw alternatives is still a bit sad.

The first 106 Rallye, like the 205 that went before it, was even more serious than those later cars. It was a car built specifically for Peugeot to compete in the 1,300cc class of Group N rallying, which sounds like a marketing strategy of 50 years ago rather than the 1990s. Yes, we have the GR Yaris now, but that’s a Lexus by comparison with the flyweight Peugeot. The 1.3-litre TU four-cylinder was treated to a bespoke intake manifold, high-compression head and new cam, meaning 100hp – but more than 7,000rpm was needed for it. Even by the standards of the 1990s, the Rallye was a screamer.

Which meant nobody bought them, really. So now Rallyes have done what all the rare gems of the 20th century have: prices plummeted because nobody loved them too much, the cheap ones were bought for projects, numbers dropped because those projects were crashed, and now those that are left are being cherished. Like, really, really cherished.

More than 130,000 fizzy miles have passed under the steel wheels of this one, meaning it’s never going to be one to preserve as a low-mileage showpiece. You’d never feel guilty about experiencing everything the Rallye has to offer, as opposed to many that have survived until now, where it can feel that every mile might impact value. Better even than that freedom is the knowledge that this Rallye should be as good as it’s ever been, despite the mileage, because it’s recently been restored as well. Stored from 2014 until 2020, the refresh took place last year and the car has covered less than 1,000 miles since then. Sadly the advert only mentions a respray – and fabulous the Cherry Red paint looks, too – but you would have to hope that such an undertaking might also have updated a few mechanical components. And if it hasn’t, then what a foundation to build from.

It’s for sale at £11,995; a huge amount more than they once were – find something cool that isn’t – but not the most these Rallyes have been advertised for. And, given the reputation, unlikely to drop off a cliff anytime soon. As new additions like the 508 PSE prove – however good it might turn out to be – cars of the Rallye’s ilk represent a bygone era that’s now sorely missed. Once upon a time it was two-seat British sports cars; now it’s stripped hot hatches. Few are as deserving of the praise (and appreciation) as the 106 Rallye.

See the original advert here

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