Pull Up to the Bumper Baby – Peugeot 206 GT & 205 Rallye

Peugeot 206 GT and 307 Wagon. Objects in mirror are dangerously close to being the same thing.
Sometimes you need to take a second look at a car you pass as humdrum at first; walking past this Peugeot 206 I did a double-take; instead of another boring silver 206, it’s a boring silver 206 GT – one of 4000 cars made for WRC homologation purposes. Those bumpers, almost US regulation in size, are there so the rallye brethren could just and just make the required 4 meter length. Looking at them, you can be sure they’re not there for design’s sake. I remember a tale of just-too-short Sumo wrestlers injecting their foreheads with something or fiddling with their hair-do’s, to pass the required height limit. The effect created by the extended bumpers on the 206 is similar. Were it lowered, it would make a fine snow plow. I’ve seen 206 GT:s with frankly ridiculous rear spoilers. This one has done without a large add-on spoiler, but the rear bumper is so large the roof would benefit of a slightly larger one; there would be more balance. This GT I saw was number 2288 of 4000. It’s also one of the 20 examples imported in Finland, so not that common a sighting. The engine on the GT is the same 136hp 2.0-litre EW10 engine as on the 206 GTi; according to a Peugeot-driving friend it’s way too gutless for a GTi. It makes sense, it’s jacked out of a 406 family saloon, but there just aren’t the required theatrics at the upper rev range that just have to be there on a GTi. The 206 range was beefed up by a 180-hp version, the RC, but compared to the light, terrier-like 205 and 309 GTi:s the magic just isn’t there – especially the lift-off tail-happiness. To cheer up this post with some classic Peugeot hooliganiness, here’s something I found some time ago that’s still for sale. This 1989 Peugeot 205 Rallye is another rarity. It follows the recipe Peugeot had for Rallye-badged cars: take off everything that isn’t strictly needed, like soundproofing, and massage the engine with something special. In this case the 1300cc engine got twin carbs and the gearbox was a special close-ratio one; and everything is put in the right perspective when you consider the fact the engine is originally the basic 1.1-litre engine from the starter 205, but taken to the gym and bored out to make it all it can be. The car weighs 794 kg, and while the engine’s power output is a non-gigantic 100hp, it’s still quite well from 1300cc in such a light car. The engine’s characteristics are such that one is expected to give it full beans whenever possible to make it scream and fly; so it’s the polar opposite of the larger engine in the 206 GT/GTi which doesn’t reward late change-ups but favours a more leisurely approach. Front suspension is shared with the 205 GTi to ensure chuckability. This 205 Rallye is for sale for 2500 EUR – while a 206 GT or GTi usually commands double. I know which I’d get. So, instead of trout pout bumpers the 205 Rallye’s taken the no-nonsense approach. It makes my trousers fizz for the thought of getting into those well-sculpted buckets, grabbing the wheel and throwing the Rallye into some ice track corners. Wonder if the lakes are frozen yet?

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