Special edition ‘208 Rallye’ has us at hello…

And then goodbye, because of course it's too pitch-perfect to be a reality (in the UK, at least)

By PH Staff / Tuesday, 28 November 2023 / Loading comments

What a wonderful and commercially exploitable thing nostalgia is, eh? Car manufacturers are nearly as adept at playing the wistful card as Hollywood is – especially as they speed up their efforts to sweep away more than a century of happy, petrol-scented memories. But this homage-special ‘208 Rallye’ isn’t the product of Peugeot’s marketing department – no, it’s apparently the brainchild of a single Swiss dealership that evidently spied the gaping hole in the current 208 lineup where something interesting should be. 

Garages Hotz SA (yep, really), a franchise Peugeot dealer, is obviously no slouch in the sticker department, nor in its study of the history books: its rally-inspired, available-for-£22k-ish take on the 208 is intended to pay tribute to 40 years of the 205 Turbo 16 – the deliciously bonkers Group B car that swept Peugeot Talbot Sport to a couple of WRC titles. Or at any rate, that’s what the website claims; visually speaking, the car’s most obvious points of reference are the 205, 106 and 306 models that made the Rallye name famous for a certain cross-section of Peugeot buyers (PHers, basically). 

However, before anyone gets too excited, it’s worth pointing out from the get-go that a) the special edition model is being assembled very far from here and is unlikely to ever see a UK numberplate, and b) its maker has opted to restrict itself to a visual makeover alone – underneath, it brings together a 100hp three-pot and six-speed manual in the established second generation 208 fashion. Which is to say forgettably. 

But it’s a measure of our yearning for yesteryear that even with that information tucked under the mental belt, the 208 Rallye still has us gawping at the pictures. Surely we’re not the only ones transfixed by the 16-inch steel wheels and the merest whiff of a body kit? Or the only ones surprised by how well the latest 208 – even in its default five-door format – absorbs the add-ons without looking depressingly naff? Had this been a Peugeot-developed product, with fifty more horsepower rung from its turbocharged triple and a chassis tweaked for fun, we might be talking goosebumps. Rather than the hump. Still, if you’re reading this in Bern or Geneva, take note…

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