When I was a small child I utilized to devote hrs and hrs flipping by way of auto magazines memorizing specs and cutting out my preferred photographs—surely I am not alone in this pastime. I was possibly 6 or 7 many years outdated when I acquired genuinely “into it,” but back then I was largely constrained to the neighborhood offerings. I would go to the newsstand in the village I lived in on Lake Como to purchase Italy’s significant auto magazines (which I loved), but my assortment was augmented from time to time with some assist from my father. I’d be content to see him strolling by way of the door soon after a enterprise journey, confident, but I was especially thrilled to see what sort of auto mag he’d picked up for me along the way.
1 of the oldest automotive recollections I can recall is me going by way of the pages of a Spanish-language auto magazine named Automovil. It was the 96th situation, from January 1986. I can nonetheless keep in mind the smell of that paper, the arrangement of the pictures, the typeface.
The front cover was split into two vertical halves: a white Ford Sierra RS Cosworth 4×4 occupied the bottom, with 3 vehicles over it with the word comparativo—you do not require to be a fluent Spanish-speaker to get the gist. The fortunate journalists on duty for that attribute story examined 3 homologation specials towards 1 an additional for the duration of the final days of the Group B era: a red Lancia Delta S4 Stradale from Italy, a dark green Audi Sport Quattro from Germany, and from France, a dark grey Peugeot 205 Turbo sixteen.
My diecast assortment at the time featured a one:24-scale Camel-liveried 1987 Paris-Dakar-winner Peugeot Turbo sixteen Grand Raid: no Lancias nor Audis. So then, quite straightforward to deduce which auto I was rooting for in the mag’s comparo.
The genesis of the T16—in summary—goes back to 1981, when Jean Todt arrived at a press conference in London with some information: Peugeot Talbot Sport would create a Globe Rally Championship-winning auto by 1985. They lived up to the declare, and developed a motor vehicle which all but dominated the last many years of the Group B era in 1985 and 1986—Lancia place up a battle, but the Peugeot 205 earned drivers’ and constructors’ titles back to back. Its turbocharged 1779cc inline-4 created among 350 and 550bhp dependent on the increase settings of the Garrett T31 snail. Excess weight? Among 910-one,000kg (~two,000-two,200lbs). In other phrases, a quick auto.
Like all the Group B machines, in purchase to homologate the rally edition of its humble 205 hatchback, Peugeot had to create 200 street-legal examples of the auto they’d base their competitors edition on. The motor was moved to the middle, and powered all 4 wheels rather than the front two. It was hardly a 205 at all.
These unique vehicles all came out of the PSA Sochaux factory in anthracite grey, with just 4 additional-unusual examples vehicles sporting a unique pearl white finish. These vehicles had been reserved for essential figures in the T16’s background: Jean Todt himself, Jean Boillot (then-president of Peugeot, and regarded a the father of the 205), André de Cortanze (Peugeot Talbot Sport’s technical director), and racer Didier Pironi.
This French-produced unicorn has close to 200bhp, considerably much less than the aggressive spec, but a lot more than sufficient to make its occupants truly feel a bit like Juha Kankkunen. The engine and gearbox are mounted transversely, the mass resting virtually precisely halfway among the driver cockpit and the rear axle. Nonetheless, the engine is heavily offset to the correct, so that it and the gearbox could be found on both side of the longitudinal driveshaft. To offset the bodyweight of the engine, the battery and the intercooler are mounted on the opposing side. This light-weight auto, in spite of getting no energy steering and a steering wheel that is tough as a rock, is nonetheless straightforward to deal with about town, and excessively exciting to drive on the backroads outdoors of it, with a great tendency to oversteer.
The doors, windscreen, headlights, and grille are at faithful to the base-model 205s that 1 could uncover by the dozen in a French auto park in the 1980s. Almost everything else, barring a components bin toggle switch right here and there, is Turbo sixteen-particular.
Although you may possibly pull the back hatch up to load your groceries into a typical 205, performing so in a T16 would just unveil a negative location to transport your frozen items. The auto was developed to be purely practical, with an straightforward entry to the engine and the 4-wheel drive transmission, and as this kind of it can get rather warm within. The front boot is filled with a spare wheel, ancillaries and the fuel filler cap. And despite the fact that Peugeot additional some sound insulation to the cabin, there is only so a lot you can do when the engine is located about a foot behind your head.
That explained, is not that what you want in a auto like this? The whistle of the turbocharger is a welcome interruption to any other ideas you may possibly be getting at the time, and any heat or vibrations that seep forward ought to be regarded portion of the knowledge rather than a discomfort.
Thanks to Rosario’s imagery, I can recall these photos from that Spanish auto magazine with renewed clarity. This ultra-unusual white pearl illustration is at present on sale and prepared-to-run at Ruote da Sogno in the heart of the Italian Motor Valley, ought to you uncover by yourself as moved by this machine as I am. As time leaves us no decision but to marching more away from the days of Group B, I feel it is crucial to preserve these vehicles in the spotlight. Yes, if you are studying this far down in an report about a homologated French hatchback from the 1980s, you possibly presently know some factors about this auto, but you’d be stunned at how numerous so-named rally followers only feel of the Audi Quattro when the subject is Group B. The Audi was a game-changer, absolutely, but with the T16 Peugeot going on to win back-to-back championships in the WRC and then consider the all round car win at the Dakar, I feel this is the game-winner.