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.