GRR

This Peugeot 504 pickup is the strangest Group B car

01st August 2018
Andrew Evans

When it comes to halcyon days of motorsport, Group B is never far from the conversation.

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It was an era of monstrous supercars equipped for rally stages. Keen to exploit the rules and claim the fastest off-road title in motorsport, car manufacturers built custom-made, high-performance rally cars.

They were little more than a hugely powerful engine in a tube frame chassis, clad with lightweight body panels and registered as road cars. As the category had a minimum production run specification the brands made the minimum number they could, and they're some of the most sought-after cars today.

Leading the charge was Peugeot. Its mid-engined 205 T16 and T16 Evo models won 16 World Rally Championship events, and back-to-back titles in 1985 and 1986, before the category was cancelled after some high-profile tragic accidents.

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However, Peugeot had another Group B car that's much less well-known: the 504 Pickup.

Peugeot had homologated the 504 coupé and four-door into the earlier Group 4 regulations. With a particular presence in the African market, the 504 proved adept at the African rallies – Safari and Cote d'Ivoire – and Peugeot homologated the replacement 504 in the new rally categories. The brand's African importers wanted to promote the Pickup's off-road credentials and convinced Peugeot to include the Pickup in the homologation process.

However, Group A had a minimum cabin space requirement, which the 504 Pickup, as a single-cab, two-seater, didn't meet. Thus it ended up in Group B by default, despite selling in the millions.

Despite the fact it would be hilariously outclassed by the supercars, the rear-wheel drive 504 Pickup did actually race. Its first rally was the 1983 Safari where, amazingly, it finished 8th overall in the hands of Johnny Hellier – although some seven hours behind the leading quartet of Group B supercars.

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It later went on to win the 1984 African Rally Championship, with David Horsey driving.

The car here at the Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard isn't one of the original vehicles. It's a recreation by owner Allan Weston. The car has taken four months to build, from a well-worn diesel version of the 504 Pickup, and first turned a wheel under its own power on the way to the trailer, two days before FOS.

You can find this rather unusual Group B car hitting the rally stage during the event.

Photography by Pete Summers.

  • Peugeot

  • 504

  • Group B

  • WRC

  • FOS

  • FOS 2018

  • 2018

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