Every chap needs at least three ruinous car improvement or restoration projects, and to help with the ongoing pain of my E30 M3 rally car and W124 cab, I’ve bought a 205 Rallye.
Now, a few of you might have read that and thought “What?!, the real Rallye, the LHD car, 1294cc and way more special than a GTI?” And if you were one of them, then my childishly excited answer is: ‘YEEEESSSSSS that Rallye!!’
If you’re still looking at the photo and wondering if I’ve taken leave of my senses, then allow me to explain why, for me, this car is every bit as special as an RS Porsche.
Between 1988 and 1992 Peugeot decided to build a cut-price GTI that would be eligible for sub 1300cc rallying throughout Europe. Taking the base 1100cc TU motor out to 1294cc gave a genuine 103hp at 6300rpm and the unmistakable gurgle of twin Webers. Trick cams and a few other mods make it a very lively engine.
The interior was pretty much stripped bare, leaving a kerb weight of around 790kg. The 130hp 1.9 GTI weighed 875kg, so they weren’t that far apart in terms of power-to-weight.
I’ve been looking for one of these for a while, but I’ve wanted one for years. There was a UK Rallye in the early 90s, but that was just a base 205 in drag with none of the clever bits. I tried to buy one in France using that completely addictive Leboncoin website, but most of them were dogs and the French don’t seem to like foreign email addresses. Beginning to think I’d never find one, I sent a pleading note on twitter and someone said they might know of one.
‘YEEEESSSSSS that Rallye!!’
We tracked it down, had a peek and then I just had one of those dangerously impulsive moments and bought it – the embarrassing part being this was a year ago and I’ve not had the time to even think about getting it ready.
A mint, low-miles Rallye is now quite a valuable thing – perhaps upwards of £15k, but mine is showing over 300k miles and has been turned into a regularity/tarmac rally car. The good bits are that the motor is (supposedly) brand new and the shell is in good order. It was breathing a bit of oil when it started, but hadn’t been used in yonks and, after so many years looking for one of these little blighters I was minded just to own it and sort the problems afterwards.
The plan is to return it to street specification, which means cutting out the cage and finding some original seats (or recovering some GTI seats) and then getting the chassis working for the road. My plan is to have it ready for medium and short journeys throughout the summer months.
It will join my 1957 2CV, 1988 205 XS and 1988 AX GT as another treasured Gallic item unlikely to increase in value – but it will also be one of the most special machines I own.
The full story on the work, to be carried out by Rally Prep, will be here soon.