Rallying was back in the plan.
I sold my Supra, sold my Impreza and spent hours researching what car to rally. Previously I’d had success in a Peugeot 205 1.4, but that specific rally class was dead and gone. The 1.6 GTi version is still a popular choice in the rally community, but parts are becoming a premium when you crash them. We wanted something a bit more modern, abundant for spares and easy to modify for rallying. Peugeot 106s were up there on the list, but having spent years in a 205 with the same short rear suspension damper design causing terrifying handling quirks on gravel when the dampers overheat I wanted to find something similar but better. That is where my attention fell to the modern equivalent from the French PSA group, a Citroen C2. More specifically the C2 VTS, which used the same basic 1.6 16v engine as the old Pug 106 in a more modern shell.
As with most of our vehicles, we trawled through insurance write-off auctions until we found one for the right price. Category C write-off, low mileage and minimal damage. Excellent.
The first thing I thought was, wow it’s uglier in real life up close than I’d imagined. The interior was the same old plastic rubbish you would expect from a French hatchback, but with the added complication of a split folding tailgate that rattled and didn’t always shut properly. With a new lower arm, track rod and a bit of dent removal on the wing the C2 was set for MOT and hooning.
Now haven driven fast 106 GTis, slow 106 1.1s and a variety of 205s and 206s I was reasonably excited to give the C2 a test drive. At the brochure the Citroen’s stats stacked up well against its older brethren:- 125BHP, 8 sec 0-60, but a weight of just over 1 ton, compared to a 106 gti:- 120BHP, 8.4sec 0-60 and a weight just under 1 ton. To be fair to the C2 the handling was commendable, that sharp, urgency that made the 205 a legend is still in there but the engine, what have they done to ruin it? The power is flatter than Norfolk and the throttle would be more responsive if you had to get out and open it manually. Considering the same basic engine was so good in the 106 I was surprised by how awful the engine felt. This, coupled with the weird angle of the steering wheel and strange seating position really set the ball rolling for my hatred of this car.
With the C2 completely failing my test drive expectations it was back to the internet for answers to the problem. Remaps, throttle bodies, performance cams and sports exhaust were all valid suggestions, but this was supposed to be a budget rally car, you start factoring in a ECU remap, cams and an exhaust system, suddenly you are the best part of £2000 into the engine. Hmm… looking at the C2 sat on the driveway, it’s ugly little face and hideous interior was enough for the ebay advert and swift sale to occur within days. Onto to the next project and never again will we speak of the time we owned such an embarrassment of a vehicle, and that’s saying something especially when you read what we purchased next…