Earlier in the week we pored through the evo archives, and those of our predecessor Performance Car, to find ten hot hatchbacks that have, perhaps unfairly, fallen from our collective consciousness over the years.
The response from our readers was astounding – not just from those who agreed with our choices, but in the list of vehicles posted on our Facebook page in response.
Subscribe to evo magazine
Surprisingly, one car that wasn’t mentioned was the Peugeot 205 Rallye.
You might argue in response that the price these 205s carry on today’s market is evidence they’re far from forgotten. But the popularity of both 1.6 and 1.9 GTI models – and their ease of access, next to the relatively rare Rallye – means the stripped-bare 205 is very much overshadowed by its more muscular brethren.
If you’re looking at a right-hand drive example, that’s entirely justified. Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with the single-carb, 1360cc TU-generation four-cylinder under the bonnet – it was used to great effect in the bubbly 205 XS, after all – but it’s far from being a ‘proper’ Rallye.
The real Rallye is left-hand drive, and displaces only 1294cc. It breathes through not one, but a pair of Weber carburettors, and develops 102bhp at 6800rpm – 27bhp more than the 1.4-litre car and only 2bhp shy of the original 1.6-litre GTI.
Power is only half the story, however. Little stopped the screaming engine buzzing through the bulkhead, since Peugeot removed almost all of the car’s soundproofing. Fortuitously, there’s no radio either, so there’s no music to drown out. The result of the merciless weight-shedding was a 794kg kerb weight – over 100kg lighter than the GTI.
Unfortunately, the example we’ve found on sale at Lenham Sports Cars (via Classic and Performance Car) has put on a few extra pounds, with a half-cage and confusingly, a set of leather pews in the cabin.
Other non-standard parts we spy include a shiny chrome gearknob, external bonnet pins, and an OMP strut brace under the bonnet. Thankfully, it retains the standard, distinctive squared-off arch extenders over white steel wheels, and the all-important Rallye stripes.
Given the Rallye’s rarity you take what you can get, and there’s nothing here that doesn’t seem reversible if you wanted absolute originality.
Whether you can use these non-original features to bring down the £9995 price is another matter. You can, of course, buy a fairly tidy (and more original) GTI for less and have just as much fun. But for some of us, there’ll always be something appealing about driving the car that few others remember.