Talbot Samba Rallye (Group B)

Published on: Jan 20, 2016 @ 21:21
Originally Published in: 2014 (old website)
(C) Jay Auger - website owner & author
Notice: Any form of duplication methods (including but not limited to copy/paste of text and screen capture) of the website's content is strictly forbidden.

INTRODUCTION

Encouraged by the previous successes of the Peugeot 104,  Simca 1000, and Talbot Sunbeam, the Samba city-car would be an effort by Peugeot to symbolise the fusion between the newly acquired Talbot brand and the modernisation of its model range. Peugeot Talbot Sport (PTS) was formed in 1981 to help promote the image of the brands through providing the best rally cars for all of the upcoming Group A, B, and N categories. The entry-level Samba Rallye was developed alongside the 205 Turbo 16 supercar at Peugeot Sport Vélizy while all other Talbot motorsport projects came from Talbot’s Peugeot Sport UK headquarters in Coventry.


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HISTORY

While the fire-breathing Group B/12 supercars are responsible for the legendary fame behind Group B, it is a common oversight to forget the B9/10/11 classes that provided the low-powered, cheaper to buy, entry level cars a fighting chance. These lesser classes featured mostly privateer or dealership entries.

The front wheel drive Samba Rallye was conceived to be the best entry-level car in Group B, aiming at the lowest B/9 echelon for engines under 1300 cc. For this, the 1360 cc Peugeot XY engine as used in the Citroën Visa did not qualify, but at the same time the 1124 cc version of the pre-TU engine family, as used on the 104 ZS, seemed a little too far off the class limit for a good result.

To remedy this, a simple trick was used: a “new” engine was created by using the block and pistons of the 1360 cc version but substituted the crankshaft and connecting rods of the 1124 cc, which resulted in a final displacement of 1219 cc and a power output of 90 BHP. The engine was subsequently bored out to 1285 cc for the rally cars which increased the figure to around 130 BHP.

Using a similar recipe to the Citroën Visa, the Talbot Samba Rallye used plastic body panels to keep weight low at 780 kg  (1720 lb). However, since the B/9 class only had a 675 kg (1490 lb), the rally cars made full use of more advanced composite panels and screens to successfully get the weight down to the minimum requirement. The rear brakes were also upgraded from drums to a disc system on the competition cars.

The Samba Rallye was successfully homologated in Group B on January 1st 1983 with the 200 homologation cars strictly reserved for clients in possession of a rally license. A “Samba Cup” was created to help launch the car into competition.

The Samba Rallye was evidently aimed at national and local events of the French Rally Championships, hoping to win its B/9 class honours, but it did see action on the World Rally Championship stage when the calendars merged at specific venues.

René Defour at the 1983 Monte Carlo Rally

French rally driver René Defour piloted his Samba Rallye to 35th place in the 1983 Monte Carlo Rally, finishing 2nd in class behind a Citroën Visa rival. Success on the international scene would soon come when Gilbert Casanova clinched the class victory in the year’s Tour de Corse while finishing 14th overall in front of much more powerful competition. Giovanni Del Zoppo would emulate him with a 12th place overall finish and a class win at the Sanremo Rally.

Talbot Samba Rallye Evolution

In January 1984, Peugeot Talbot Sport would homologate an evolution package in hopes to keep the Samba Rallye’s successes going. The improvements would include a wider track via use of polyester fender flares, chassis reinforcements, new engine cradle, reinforced and lengthened axle shafts, a new front air dam with brake cooling ducts, new sway bars, reinforced steering components, and new AP brake calipers, along with a selection of roll cages. The engine output was also improved via use of a better flowing tri-Y exhaust manifold, revised intake plenum and carburettors, resulting in 135 BHP and more torque.

Such parts were made available to all competitors via PTS’ catalogue which prompted some privateers to update lesser versions of the Samba to full Group B spec. Third party conversions were also in full swing, such as those proposed by firms Mathiot and Brozzi, albeit their 1440 and 1550 cc engine displacement upgrades would shift the cars into the B/10 class which required a higher minimum weight of 750 kg (1650 lb), hence negating any real performance increase.

Jean-Pierre Rouget at the 1984 Tour de Corse Rally

The Talbot Samba Rallye (16 entries) would occupy the first three class positions at the 1984 Monte Carlo Rally; Jean-Pierre Rouget, Philipe Kruger, and Claude Haumant, respectively. The year’s Tour de Corse rally (14 entries) would see Kruger and Casanova once again occupy the first two class positions while finishing 11th and 12th overall.

Jean-Paul Bouquet at the 1985 Tour de Corse Rally

1985 would see a duo of Samba Rallye drivers once again claim the top B/9 class honours at the Monte Carlo Rally; Marc Janiaud and Daniel Monchal. Then came the car’s best ever WRC finish when Jean-Paul Bouquet expertly piloted his Samba Rallye to an incredible 7th place overall in the year’s Tour de Corse Rally, obviously also clinching the class win. However, the victory was a bit tarnished by the death of Lancia driver Attilio Bettega in the event.

Gilbert Casanova

1986 would begin disastrously for the Samba Rallye on the world stage as all Group B models failed to finish the Monte Carlo event. Redemption would come at the Tour de Corse rally, albeit amidst tragedy when Lancia driver Henri Toivonen and co-drive Sergio Cresto both died in a fiery crash, when Gilbert Casanova repeated his 1983 feat of a class win at the French event.

The story of the Group B Talbot Samba Rallye did not end with the infamous 1986 ban of the category as the latter only affected the B/11 and B/12 classes. Small displacement Group B cars such as the Samba were allowed to compete until the end of their homologation. As such, the Samba Rallye would continue on competing until the end of 1988, albeit it was soon relegated to the shadows by other more popular Peugeot “GTi” offerings.

Ultimately, the Talbot Samba Rallye was arguably the best entry-level Group B/9 rally car on tarmac. However, it failed short of matching the successes of its Citroën Visa cousin at other types of events.


RALLY CAR SPECIFICATIONS

(E) = Evolution Package

Group/Class B/9 Homologation: B-232 (click to see papers)
Years Active 1983~1988 Homologation

  • start: January 1st 1983
  • end: December 31st 1988
Engine
Type Peugeot XW, I-4, SOHC 8v, gas located front transverse
Displacement 1285 cc WRC: 1285 cc
Compression ratio 10.5:1
Output power – torque
  • 130 HP @ 6700 rpm
  • 135 HP @ – rpm (E)
  • 147 lb-ft @ 5400 rpm
  • – lb-ft @ – rpm (E)
Materials block: aluminum cylinder head: alumimum
Aspiration
  • natural / normal
  • 2 x Weber 45 DCOE carburettors
Ignition electronic
Cooling system water-cooled
Lubrication system wet sump N/A
Transmission
Type front wheel drive 5 speed manual
Gearbox ratios
  • 1st: 3.083
  • 2nd: 2.076
  • 3rd: 1.500
  • 4th: 1.166
  • 5th: 0.950
  • F: 1.259
  • R: 2.833
N/A
Differential ratio 4.066 4.357 or 3.866
Clutch single plate – cable operated
Chassis-body
Type
  • Peugeot type-104 steel monocoque chassis with roll cage, 3 door hatchback, polyester body panels, Plexiglas rear screen, polycarbonate side screens.
  • Polyester arch extensions (E).
Front suspension
  • McPherson struts, coil spring, anti-roll bar
  • Lower wishbone (E)
Rear suspension Trailing arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Steering system rack & pinion
  • 21.17:1
  • 15.87:1
  • 14.1:1
Brakes
  • Front: 256 mm discs / 4 piston calipers
  • Rear: 241 mm discs / 2 piston calipers
dual circuit, hydraulic handbrake
Dimensions
length: 138.0 in (3506 mm) width:

  • 60.6 in (1538 mm)
  • 63.1 in (1602 mm) (E)
height: 53.6 in (1362 mm)
wheelbase: 92.1 in (2340 mm) front track:

  • 52.0 in (1320 mm)
rear track: 49.4 in (1256 mm)
Rims – tires 13 / 14 in
  • N/A
Dry/Unladen Weight 675 kg (1490 lb)
Weight/power 5.2 kg/hp (11.4 lb/hp)
Fuel tank 40 litres

HOMOLOGATION VERSION

Presented at the 1981 Paris Auto Show, the Talbot Samba Rallye is a supermini / city car manufactured by the PSA Group in the former Simca factory in Poissy, France, and marketed under the short-lived Talbot brand. The Samba model was aimed to bridge the gap between the two companies and begin a new age. Based on the Peugeot 104, it was the only Talbot not inherited from Chrysler Europe and engineered by PSA alone.

In 1982, a limited production series called the Samba Rallye is devised as a entry-level rally car for all of the new Group N, A, and B racing categories to further help boost the new image of the Talbot brand. 200 special units were produced for the Group B category at the end of 1982 with FISA homologation duly granted on January 1st of 1983. These cars would be strictly reserved to rally drivers in possession of a valid FFSA license.

The engine of the Samba Rally is a variant of the 104 SR (or Visa Super X) 1219 cc unit but with a 104 ZS2 cylinder head with four intake ducts equipped with two Weber double-barrel 40 mm carburettors and high compression pistons. Developed for competition, this engine was also run by Citroën from 1980 with the Visa Trophée and the Visa 1000 Pistes, slightly de-tuned  to 90 BHP in the Samba Rallye for better reliability. It is however a very “peeky” 8-valve engine which does not like lower revs. With its light weight of 780 kg (1720 lb), the Samba Rallye offered a good power to weight ratio of 8.7 kg / hp and a top speed of 176 kph.

In July of 1984, a second version of the Samba Rallye (phase 2) is put in the PSA catalogue as a 1985 model. It takes the larger 1360 cc / 80 BHP engine of the 104 ZS to offer a more civilised version more usable in everyday life. However, the loss of 10 BHP signals the end of the line for the Samba Rallye, already commercially overshadowed by the 205 GTI. The “Rallye II” was the last Talbot car to be launched and the very last in production. It is note to mention that this particular version of the Samba had nothing to do with Group B homologation and was a “continuation” series.


ROAD CAR SPECIFICATIONS

Class Supermini / B-segment / Subcompact / City Car Homologation: B-232 (click to see papers)
Production 1982 # built: 200 Group B homologation cars
Engine
Type Peugeot XW, I-4, SOHC 8v, gas located front transverse
Displacement 1219 cc
Compression ratio 9.7:1
Output power – torque 90 HP @ 6700 rpm 75 lb-ft @ 5400 rpm
Materials block: aluminum cylinder head: alumimum
Aspiration
  • natural / normal
  • 2 x Weber 40 DCOE carburettors
Ignition electronic
Cooling system water-cooled
Lubrication system wet sump N/A
Transmission
Type front wheel drive 5 speed manual
Gearbox ratios
  • 1st: 3.083
  • 2nd: 1.823
  • 3rd: 1.192
  • 4th: 0.892
  • 5th: 0.717
  • F: 1.259
  • R: 2.833
N/A
Differential ratio 4.066
Clutch single plate, cable type
Chassis-body
Type Peugeot type-104 steel monocoque chassis, 3 door hatchback, steel body panels, polyester bumpers
Front suspension McPherson struts, coil spring, lower wishbone, anti-roll bar
Rear suspension Trailing arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Steering system rack & pinion 21.17:1 / 3.9 turns lock to lock
Brakes
  • Front: 240 mm discs / 2 piston calipers
  • Rear: Drums
dual circuit
Dimensions
length: 138.0 in (3506 mm) width: 60.6 in (1538 mm) height: 53.6 in (1362 mm)
wheelbase: 92.1 in (2340 mm) front track: 52.0 in (1320 mm) rear track: 49.4 in (1256 mm)
Rims – tires 13 in Uniroyal 165/70R13
Curb Weight 780 kg (1720 lb)
Weight/power 8.7 kg/hp (19.1 lb/hp)
Fuel tank 40 litres

VIDEOS


REFERENCES

(C) Article by Jay Auger – website owner & author

  • Images & videos are the property of their original owners
  • All homologation papers are the property of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA): SOURCE
  • DISCLAIMER / LEGAL NOTICES

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