Known by many of us for its extremely lightweight shell and striking decals, housing a 1.3 4-cylinder engine producing 100bhp, the oh so iconic 106 Rallye is the tiny hot hatch you never knew you wanted.
With its history and pedigree for rally dating way back to the early 90s when it was first produced, the 106 Rallye proves that power isn’t everything you need to have some fun. The Rallye weighs in at a mere 825kg, and has a power to weight ratio of 121bhp per tonne making this ultra-light weight group N rally car heaps of fun to drive. With this in mind, the 106 Rallye really is one of those caras that you can throw into a corner and have a great amount of fun doing it!
This extremely good example is owned by Matt Chapman, who bought the car 2 years ago and has loved it ever since. After selling his beloved Porsche 924 Turbo, he fancied moving back into a car he had loved and owned many years ago. Rewind 10 years or so, Matt owned a 106 Rallye and forever missed the way the car put a grin on his face. “Until you’ve driven one its hard to explain how 100bhp puts a grin from ear to ear, it’s a B road hack that’s for sure!” The raw driving experience that comes with owning a 106 Rallye is something that really has to be experienced to be appreciated.
So, lets learn a little more about Matt’s example. As I’ve already mentioned, this 106 Rallye is the holy grail, the S1. The car is finished in factory colour Bianca White paintwork, along with the Rallye colour decals which really give the car a vibrant look! Matt has a stainless steel Pugsport Group N manifold back exhaust system and a K&N panel filter which has been fitted to the factory air-box. The original 5.5×14 Michelin steel wheels are in faultless condition, and are wrapped in Toyo Proxes, a good choice if we do say so ourselves, moving onto the interior, the original seats, belts and carpets are all present and in fantastic condition, Matt has upgraded the sound system on the Rallye including a Vibe Sublime subwoofer, Pioneer retro component speakers which have been fitted into the doors and a a Bluetooth hands-free head unit.
It’s a pleasure to see one of these that is left original, and not ‘track ready’. While there is nothing wrong with a fully stripped race car it’s nice to be able to see a car for what it is and what it was intended to be. Matt has replaced the steering wheel for his cherished Magnus Walker signed MOMO steering wheel, which is stupidly rare and was fitted to his previous Porsche 924 Turbo.
So, what future plans does Matt have for his 106 Rallye? He’d like to get the bodywork tidied up in places as the car has a few parking dings and marks but it means he’s not too precious with it and can use the car and not have to worry. “I think sometimes cars get pampered too much, no point wrapping it in cotton wool if its got 130k on the clock.” Cars were designed to be used, and with something as cool and nimble as this your really do want to be able to feel like you can use every ounce of power and really push it into the corners.
Matt is also planning several road trips and will potentially drive it to the south of France taking the scenic route! Speaking of road trips at the time of writing this Matt has just had a lot of underbody work carried out on the car and decided to take a road trip to Wales to test it out; a very ballsy move! Fast forward a week and the Rallye ran perfectly.
Matt now uses the car as a weekend toy, or as he puts it a “B road hack”, which is most definitely the intended use for it! As I’ve already mentioned Matt tries not to worry too much about wrapping the car in a blanket of bubble wrap, and loves to be able to really push the power into those corners and why wouldn’t you? He even uses the Rallye for the odd run to the shops and even to the local tip! While it may be a fully specced Group N rally car, it really does prove itself to be a practical little hot hatch. Although Matt has this as a second car, you could quite easily use one as a daily driver and have little to no issues at all. In Matt’s ownership it has not had a single mechanical issue… touch wood.
Matt would like to give a big thank you to his friends for helping him out with the car whenever he needs it, moving and picking bits up and without them he says building cool cars wouldn’t be possible. He also wants to give a huge thank you to his fiancé, for putting up with his constant talk of cars, parts and shows 24/7.
Words and Photos by Harry Higgs Photography