It would be fair to say that the Peugeot 106 Rallye is a bit of a miniature hero on PetrolBlog and held in high regard by us all. Its mixture of lightness, pace and retro charm ensures that the Rallye is firmly on our radar.
The original series one 106 Rallye came fitted with a 1.3 litre, 100bhp engine and would take an eternity to reach 60mph (okay, over ten seconds to be precise). But outright pace isn't the Rallye's strongest asset. Like the AX GT, the 106 Rallye is at its best hurtling along a B-road or performing giant-killing acts on a track day. Yes, the series two Rallye may have had a bigger 1.6 litre engine and a tidy facelift, but PetrolBlog's heart belongs to the series one.
So when a chance conversation on twitter revealed that a follower had gone and bought one, we were keen to learn more. So a few emails later, here is William Patterson on his latest acquisition. May we also suggest that you follow William on twitter @willp1987.
Why a 106?
For the past year I have putting away little bits of money here and there with a view to purchasing a ‘fun’ second car. I have a Skoda Fabia vRS as my daily driver which is perfect for my needs but I missed having something that I could chuck around, (and rev beyond 4k rpm), and also fancied having a go at track days without the risk of damaging my daily driver!
Before settling on the Rallye I considered dozens of different cars including a Clio 172, Charade GTti, and Mazda MX-5. Most of the Clios in my budget seemed to be pretty rough, the Charades are just so rare and after sitting in an MX-5, it became clear that they were not designed for my 6’6” frame (having said that, getting in and out of the 106 does require a bit of practice for someone of my size).
Peugeot 106s hadn’t initially been on my radar but I was reminded of them by an article I came across whilst browsing the internet and I quickly decided that a 106 Rallye fitted my needs perfectly. It was light, high revving, cheap to buy and maintain, had suitably questionable decals and ultra-cool(?!) steel wheels. Having had a MK1 Golf GTI as my first car I was keen on the idea of something that would deliver similar levels of fun and would be great little B-road toy. The interior might not be to everyone’s taste but personally I love the red seatbelts and red carpets. I also like the eight valve engine, it pulls smoothly from low revs and there is a noticeable kick at 5k rpm and it then pulls hard to 7k. It is also surprisingly torquey for a little engine and pulls well in high gears from low revs meaning you don’t have to be revving it too highly in order to make steady progress.
Why this one?
Once I had decided that a Rallye was the car for me the search for a suitable example began. This wasn’t as easy as I had first thought; given the popularity of these cars many have been heavily modified or prepared for night navigation rallies and track days etc. I was specifically after a standard car and it had to be the S1 with its original 1.3 engine, nothing else would do. After a few weeks a lovely looking black S1 came up for sale in Kent, a bit of trek from East Yorkshire, but luckily I had won some tickets to the opening round of the BTCC at Brands Hatch so had made plans to travel down for the weekend. The car was located just a few miles from where I was staying so I made contact and arranged to view the car. However, a couple of hours before I was due to go and view I got a text massage advising that someone else had been to view and bought the car there and then, so it wasn’t to be! The black one had been a bit more than I wanted to spend anyway so I moved on and started looking again and that was when I found L189, this one was near Swindon, priced a bit lower and looked original.
The car and where I found it?
After finding the car on the Rallye Register website I got in touch with the vendor and it became clear that the car was far from mint but was straight, had only had three owners and crucially hadn’t been modified. The car had been sitting in a shed for the past four years and it had recently been taken out for its MOT which it had passed.
But it hadn’t been washed in what looked like years. When I turned up to view it was covered in a layer of dust and dirt outside and dog hairs on the inside! I spent about 45 minutes looking around the car and although there were a few dents and scratches all the structural areas appeared solid (famous last words). What's more, the engine was running well and I test drove it up and down a farm track where the only issue seemed to be a crunch into second gear.
On browsing through the history the first owner had the car for 18 months, the second for five years and the current owner had owned it for 12 years. The owner was open to a bit of negotiation on price and after a few minutes we arrived at a price that I think we were both fairly happy with and the deal was done. The next challenge was to get it home (or rather to my parents' house in mid-Wales). After viewing I drove up to Wales and very nicely asked my father if he would mind getting up at 6am the next day and drive me back to Swindon to collect the car, a round trip of some 340 miles. Needless to say this wasn’t his preferred way to spend the April Bank Holiday but nevertheless he obliged and by 10:30 the next day we were back in Swindon and having got the tax and insurance sorted, we set off for Wales.
The journey home!
As anyone who has bought an old second hand car will know, the journey home can be nerve wracking! My past history of journeys like this hasn’t been great so I was somewhat apprehensive about making a 170 mile journey in an 18 year old Peugeot that had barely run, let alone had a service in over four years. I should firstly point out that it did make it home, although this wasn’t without incident:
- Whilst making my way up a busy M4 through some 50mph road works I ended up in stop start traffic and suddenly the car just switched itself off and all the dash lights came on, thankfully it started again immediately but given that we were only 20 minutes into the journey this didn’t fill me with confidence.
- Next, I noticed that one of the belts was slipping when pulling out of junctions, this came to a head in heavy traffic going through a small town when it started squealing so much that I had to pull over as the noise appeared to scaring small children and lots of people had started pointing (as if they somehow thought I wasn’t aware of the horrific noise coming from under the bonnet!).
- After waiting a few minutes for the traffic to clear I set off again and started to wind my way through some of the smaller roads that Wales has to offer and this is where it transpired that the car would shudder and jolt violently when coming off the throttle and the squealing belt had now started protesting when changing from 3rd to 4th gear. In typical Bank Holiday fashion the traffic was very slow and all the holiday makers were slowing down enormously for anything vaguely resembling a corner, this was rendering my trip very uncomfortable with all the jolting and shuddering. Anyway, Toyota drivers were the main culprits and no sooner had I despatched one I caught up with another one driving equally slowly. Eventually I cleared the traffic and was able to press on and get home.
- After a fairly arduous journey I eventually arrived home and immediately as I pulled onto the yard the car cut out and then refused to idle when started again.
All in all, this was a fairly unpleasant journey and one that had left me wondering if I had made the right choice.
Plans for the car?
The weather was awful for the weekend I was in Wales so I wasn’t able to spend much time with the car but before being able to bring it to Yorkshire where I now live it was going to need some work.
The car was booked into a local garage for a full service including a new cambelt and a couple of other small jobs. Whilst there they recommended a new engine mount and some new HT leads, once all this was sorted I arranged to go back and collect the car.
The 250 mile drive up to Yorkshire was far more pleasant and the car felt like a different vehicle altogether. The Jubilee weekend was spent t-cutting the car and cleaning the interior and although the paintwork isn’t in the best state, it does now look a great deal better and I have managed to buff out a lot of the scratches and contamination on the paintwork.
Cleaning the interior was a long job but it is finally dog hair free(ish) and is now a much nicer place to sit. The immediate plan is to get a track day booked and see if I enjoy them. My enjoyment of the track day will then determine the long term plans for the car and whether I keep it or just have a bit of fun for a couple of months and move it on.
Given that they are getting rare now I want to keep the car as original as possible. It is currently running 205 GTI ‘pepperpot’ alloys which I want to replace with the original steels but these need a professional refurb and a set of tyres as they are in an awful state. The gearbox crunch may become an issue and this is certainly likely to need attention in the future but otherwise I just want to address the cosmetic issues and improve the paintwork as much as I can without carrying out a respray. Some new decals would be nice as the front and rear ones are looking very faded and I also need to source a new parcel shelf as it is missing its original one.
But the main plan is to try and enjoy driving it. Finances are tight at the moment and I may not be able to keep it too long if it proves to be a ‘needy’ car so I’ll make the most of it and then see where things go!
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