Peugeot 205 T16 Evo 1
- Factory car, provenance beyond doubt
- Legendary car, Group B icon
- Restored in 2009
- Acropolis Rally (Greece), Ari Vatanen / Terry Harryman; Argentina Rally, Carlos Reutemann / JF Fauchille
The Group B period is one of the most fascinating in rallying history. Following on from Group 4, cars in this class could now be turbocharged, which opened the door to super-powerful machines that were extremely effective, particularly with the arrival of four-wheel drive. To be homologated in Group B, there had to be at least 200 examples of the model produced, allowing 20 special versions each year, known as Evolution models, built purely for competition.
At Peugeot, the appointment of Jean Todt in 1981 as head of the rally competition department, resulted in the launch of a major programme to win the World Championship. The weapon that enabled the constructor to achieve its objective was the 205 Turbo 16. Modified for the cause, the car had little in common with the 205 series model. It had a fibreglass shell on a steel monocoque chassis with a mid-positioned engine and transmission to all four wheels. The engine was a four-cylinder 1800 turbocharged engine producing 350 bhp in the first Evolution version.
The car was homologated in March 1984 and finished in fourth place on the Tour de Corse, driven by Jean-Pierre Nicolas. The 205 T16 was ready to go, and to measure up against marques that were already present, such as Renault, Lancia, Porsche, Opel and a little later, Audi. The 1985 season brought resounding success : seven wins in eleven races, 182 special stages won out of a total of 473 and for Peugeot, a first constructor's title when Timo Salonen and Seppo Harjane won the drivers' title. Evolution 2 of the petite Peugeot appeared the following season, and was even more effective, winning the marque its second consecutive title, with Juha Kankkunen and Juha Piironen taking the drivers' title.
The 205 T16 Evolution 1 cars were then sold by the factory to private teams who continued to excel in whichever races they took part in. However, the car on offer didn't follow that path, as it was kept by Peugeot until 2008. As part of the factory team, it has only ever competed in Peugeot Sport colours. It participated in two Championship races in 1985, the Acropolis Rally where it had to retire, and the Argentina Rally when it finished third, driven by Carlos Reutemann and JF Fauchille. The car was restored in 1986, after its season of racing, and stayed in Peugeot's possession until 2008 when it was sold to a Monégasque collector. To ensure it was in perfect running condition after not moving for some years, it was entrusted to the Techno Concepts workshop in Nice to be completely re-commissioned. In 2009, this car was offered in Artcurial's sale " Peugeot sort de ses réserves ", from where the current owner bought the car.
It is extremely rare to have an opportunity to buy a factory car with irrefutable provenance, which will not go unnoticed by enthusiasts. Moreover, as a Group B car, this Peugeot 205 T16 represents an extraordinary page in rallying history . At that time, the cars in this class were already the stuff of legend. They are even more so today.
- Acropolis Rally (Greece), Ari Vatanen / Terry Harryman. Broken steering in the second special stage, retired.
- Argentina Rally, Carlos Reutemann / JF Fauchille. Third place overall.