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Peugeot 106 GTi

Self-portrait at 30mph
Ah, the 106 GTi. A cute, friendly, girly, shopping trolley of a car? Wrong!

If ever there was a car thatís greater than the sum of its parts, the 106 GTi is it. Iíve never known a car to come alive like the 106. Basically the harder you drive it, the better it gets, the more everything works together, egging you on to extract the maximum out of it.

Donít believe me? This is what evo had to say about it in issue 34 (August 2001):

"It says 'GTi' on the tin in bright red letters and that's exactly what the 106 is - purely, simply and supremely. Only three things really matter. It's very light, it's powered by a 120bhp 16-valve engine with more fizz than Tango and its suspension encapsualtes the sum of Peugeot's considerable knowledge in the field of handling. This car is so focused it's almost on fire.

The 106 positively relishes being grabbed by the scruff of the neck and thrashed within an inch of its life. It doesn't seem to matter how extreme you get with it, how ludicrous the liberties you take on the edge of adhesion, it always seems to have a few tricks in reserve that will pull you through. The harder you drive the Peugeot, the better it gets. The tirelessly crazy-to-rev engine, the gymnastic chassis, the lightning gearshift, the stonky brakes - all conspire to give you the best of times if you're in the mood for a serious blast."

I had mine for just under a year, and never tired of driving it. So why did I sell it? The dreaded Peugeot gremlins, unfortunately. I was warned when I bought it that I might have problems, and sure enough, after 6 months of ownership it started to misbehave, cutting out, not revving over 4,500rpm and finally left me stranded on the M5. The result was a £180 recovery fee. Ouch.

The real killer was the fact that the dealers couldnít find the problem and fix it, so gradually I began to lose faith in its ability to get me from A to B, let alone have fun along the way. A great shame, but still the highs of ownership definitely outweighed the bad.

The real highs were chasing (and passing!) Lotus Elises at Oulton Park and Kemble on trackdays. I guess I was getting a bit cocky when I thought I could keep up with an Escort Cosworth and a Mitsubishi Evo 6 though...

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Thanks to Steve Carter for the photo :)
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Thanks to Justin for the photo!
It's my favourite pic of the car, and reminds me of all the time I spent enjoying these great roads...