The fate of this LEGO Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Evolution 2 project is in your hands, Group B rally fans…
Okay…LEGO has to make this. No ifs, no buts, this HAS to become a reality.
The above model is a fan-designed tribute to the legendary Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Evolution 2, the last of the Group B title holders that took both drivers’ and manufacturers’ glory in 1985 and 1986 before the death of the World Rally Championship’s turbo era. So far the model remains a project under LEGO’s ‘Ideas’ campaign. With enough support, the project could become a reality, entirely possible given the amount of detail involved.
As well as the Peugeot Talbot Sport racing colours, the designer has also paid special attention to the Shell logo and sponsorship decals, as well as the stripped out cabin (complete with roll cage). The 205 Turbo 16 Evolution 2, so called for its Turbocharger and four valves per cylinder (16 total), is even in action –mid-air, naturally – before a crowd of spectators. Anyone keen to see this Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Evolution 2 added to the LEGO Speed Champions collection can click HERE for further information. You might also want to check out the below highlight video from the 1986 RAC Rally, the last of 16 victories picked up by the 205 Turbo 16 in just two and a half years.
Make no mistake, Peugeot’s first Group B machine proved a beast. Less a track-spec road car – the shared less than a quarter of its underpinnings with the 200 homologated counterparts – and more a specialist rally weapon, it featured a turbocharged 1775cc four-cylinder engine mounted transversely behind the driver, and while the KKK turbocharger in the ’85 model helped produce an impressive 435bhp, the much gruntier Garrett unit meant that this had been punched up to a terrifying 500bhp (plus 383lb ft of torque) by the time 1986 rolled around. With two-wheel drive all but dead in rally’s new lightweight, purpose-built, high-powered era, power from the heavily canted engine was sent to all four-wheels via a five-speed synchromesh manual transmission. Coupled with anti-lag technology effectively gleaned from Renault’s turbocharged Formula 1 car from the late 1970s, Peugeot’s powerhouse was a force to be reckoned with upon its debut: until crashing out at two-thirds distance, Ari Vatanen had the 1984 Tour of Corsica in his pocket in the 205 Turbo 16. The Finn would go on to win three of the final four rallies.
A decisive opening win at the Monte Carlo Rally, despite an 8-minute penalty and strong pace from Walter Rohrl in the rival Audi Quattro, left fans in little doubt that Vatanen’s ’85 title with Peugeot would be a cakewalk, victory second time out Sweden all but assuring it. Then came Argentina.
Going into the event, a mix of reliability issues meant Vatanen had yet to add to his season win tally, 2nd place in New Zealand a month beforehand the Finn’s only points haul in five rallies. Thing seem to be on the rise in Argentina as Vatanen outpaced new points leader – and teammate – Timo Salonen across the early stages only for a monstrous accident, in which the 205 Turbo 16 somersaulted at close to 200kph. His seat had broken, throwing him around the cabin, and Vatanen would spend the next 18 months recuperating from several battered and broken legs, torso and heavy internal bleeding. An unchallenged Salonen would go on to take championship glory, Peugeot doing likewise with seven victories.
Vatanen’s recovery however was not the only fallout from his Argentina shunt. His hospitalisation, combined with the fatal accident of Italian driver Attilio Bettega earlier in the year on the French Tour de Corse left FISA president Jean-Marie Balestre concerned that Group B’s ‘rocket ships’ were becoming too unruly and dangerous (the high Octane and extremely volatile fuel required to power the engines in particular coming under scrutiny). In 1986, on the Tour de Corse once again, rising star Henri Toivonen and co-driver Sergio Cresto would also perish after an accident aboard his Lancia Delta S4, and the repercussions were both swift and merciless. The newly modified 205 Turbo 16 Evolution 2 would go on to take championship glory, lead driver Juha Kankkunen also securing the first of an eventual four titles (’87, ’91 and ’93). Shortly thereafter though it was announced that, from 1987, larger capacity GpB cars would be banned outright. One wonders how much more Peugeot may have had up their sleeves in the following seasons.