The cars : Talbot Samba Rallye development story

Talbot Samba Rallye

The Talbot Samba Rallye is the oft-forgotten predecessor to the similarly-named Peugeot 205 and 106. Like its illustrious antecedents, it was a stripped-out, modestly tuned affair, designed specifically to attract young people into entry-level motorsport. The road version was a homologation special – but one also designed to go rallying.

Following the rallying successes of the Simca 1000 and the Talbot Sunbeam, PSA launched the Samba Rallye in 1982. Fitted with the 1219cc XW version of the transmission-in-sump ‘suitcase’ engine, used in the Peugeot 104 and (later) 205. In Rallye form, it delivered 88bhp.

All from a ‘new’ engine

To create the ‘new’ engine, the company used the engine block and pistons of the 1360cc version but substituted the crankshaft and conrods of the 1124 cc, which resulted in that 1.2-litre engine capacity.

This car was PSA’s motorsport division, Peugeot Talbot Sport’s, budget alternative to the upcoming Peugeot 205 T16. That car went on to become an all-conquering WRC weapon, while the Samba was a bit of a short-lived phenomenon. It was developed by Peugeot Sport Vélizy, unlike other Talbot projects such as the Group B Horizon and Sunbeam Lotus, which came from Coventry.

The road version was available in either white or red, with a hood scoop and side stripes. In 1985, a version with the 1360cc unit producing 79bhp was launched, without the stripes. A special rally-only Group B model, officially called the Peugeot Talbot Sport Samba Rallye, preceded the later Peugeot 205 T16, with a 1285cc, 96 kilowatt engine.

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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  1. I remember seeing various Sambas and perhaps a couple of “Rallye” versions. I think it was fitted with white painted steel wheels in those days, like a few other Chrysler/Talbot models

  2. At that time rallying was an incredibly popular sport in France and Italy with thousands of spectators at every corner. That’s why Fiat/Lancia/Peugeot/Renault invested such huge sums in cars like the Stratos all kinds of Abarths. in the lower categories Fiat raced/rallied every conceivable Ritmo or 128 as equivalents to these Simcas/Talbots/Peugeots.

  3. It is unfortunate the Talbot Samba along with other cars that used the X-Type “Suitcase” engine (e.g. Citroen Visa, Peugeot 104, Peugeot 205, Renault 14, etc) never featured a 1.6-litre version of said engine, as a precursor to the distantly related 89-120 hp 1.6-litre / 1587cc PSA TU5 since many could have benefited from such an engine.

    Such an engine could have potentially put out around 82-106 hp up to around 116-128 hp (the latter using both the Talbot Samba Rallye and Citroen Visa 1000 Pistes as a rough guide).

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