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» Rallye Buyers Guide

Take your time and dont rush your inspection, and try not to view the car at night or in rain. Just follow the following rough basic guide and check bodywork, mechanical and interior parts of the car.

Look along each side of the car for ripples or uneven surfaces, and poor repairs suggesting the car has been in an accident. This is usually most visible by paintwork mismatch. Just because a car has had paint doesn't mean it should be discarded - as long as the paint or/and repair has been treated/repaired correctly proceed with the inspection. Another sure sign of paint is overspray. Examine all the window seals for signs of overspray and paint build up, aswell as around badges. If the car has had a total respray ask for details on where the car has been sprayed and reasons as to why - its not neccessarily a bad sign, especially if carried out on older cars, but some unscrupulous people will do this to hide the body work of the car for a quick couple of hundred. Check the roof for filler or repair which could suggest a serious accident. Filler repairs are noticeable by 'shrinkage' marks, most noticeable in winter, 'orange peel' is another sign of poor paint repairs - the surface being rough in appearance. Rallye Standard colours are Indigo Blue and Bianca White (S2) and Cherry Red, Black and Bianca White (S1). Rallye decals are fitted as standard - with a long coloured stripe on each flank on the S1 with smaller Rallye logos on the S2 - both have a bonnet Rallye decal and rear Rallye badging - fading of these especially on S1s is very common. S2 has Rallye writing near lower rear arch. White steels are standard fitment to the Rallye and oversized alloys (15 inches and above) can cause problems.

Lift the bonnet and check for any misalignment. Check the chassis number on the scuttle pannel (on V5) aswell as the engine code (stamped on the block on the S2, stamped on an aluminium plaque and riveted on the S1). Pull put the dipstick and check the oil level and quality. Sludgy oil or excessive low level could mean neglect or poor maintenance. Open the radiator cap, make sure the water is clean and free from oil.

Dont be alarmed by small amounts of rust deposits, but alot of rust could again signify poor maintenance. Antifreeze is a sign of good ownership and also acts as a corrosion inhibitor. Open the oil filler cap and check for excessive build up of white 'mayonnaise' deposits or 'mulsh'. A mixture of oil and water suggests head gasket failure - although a small build up due to condensation and weather mean that mulsh can appear on the rocker cap without the gasket going. Open the boot - lift up the mat and check for repairs or signs of paint/filler suggesting a rear bump. Get underneath the car - or take someone who knows what to look for. Check the front end for signs of bush wear on lower wishbones and engine mounts. Check for signs of oil leakage and water leaks. Common oil leaks occur around the rocker gasket, common coolant leaks occur around the 3 bleed nipples, the oil cooler piping,and the thermostat housing. Check the sills, rust shouldn't be a problem, but look for signs of 'crimping' where by the car may have had equipment attatched to be 'jigged'. Backunder the bonnet check for new parts, this can be a sign of good ownership. (new battery, new alternator etc). An old saying goes like this 'All that glistens isn't gold' so a clean engine bay doens't mean the car is better mechanically than a dirty engine bayed car.

Many Rallyes have had new engines fitted - making it hard to know what to look for - Check the new engine has been registered on the V5 and that the engine code/cc matches. Ask for receipts, details, as much info as possible about this engine - is it guaranteed? cost? who fitted it - is the mileage genuine?? This can be a dark area as this is an area where by alot of the info can be hazy, but you just have to check as best you can.

Other areas include under bonnet modifications, of which there are far too many to go into detail. I would as a guide just check for fitment of these (is it good, secure) and can it be changed back to standard easily - and has the owner got the OE parts still. An airbox can cost up to £80 to buy new!! And be careful, any modification from what the manufacturer intended can have an effect on the running of the car.

Ask to see all history, receipts etc. Check as much as you can - don't be rushed. A dealer stamped book is nice, but generally has little impact on how well maintained the car is. As long as the car has been serviced by someone competent - either the owner or a garage - it doesnt matter. Most older cars will have been serviced at smaller garages or by the owner. Expect to find on most servicing carried out by the dealer until the warranty ran out. OE parts receipts are good, aswell as receipts for aftermarket parts, even 2nd hand parts - all info is good, telling you what has been carried out and when. Little or know history usually means lots of short term ownership. Don't be alarmed by major work - most S1 Rallyes will have had at least 1 head gasket/cam belt by now. Receipts/notes/dates for these are useful. Don't assume because alot of parts or money has been spent this is a bad car - it often means the owner has spent a fortune getting it right - and you will often reap the benefits. Personally I would want a HPI report - these cars are often stolen, crashed and thrashed so cover yourself. I have mine infront of me now. It gives details of previous HPI inspections, all the engine code details, chassis details, colour, registration etc and most importantly most (not all!!) accidents where by the car has a Cat rating and finance outstanding. Expect to pay around 20-30 quid if your not in the trade. Ask to see current/old MOT's.

Start the engine - FROM COLD - Listen for rumbling and knocking noises in the first few seconds. Check for blue smoke from the exhaust which can mean a worn engine. Check every gear for engagement and check the clutch, try and make it slip. Leave the handbrake on and engage the clutch...slowly. Check all electrics, fans, radio etc. Check the warning lights - do they all work, make sure there is no engine management light on, now low battery warning light etc.

The oil gauge takes forever to move, but the coolant gauge should start moving after around 5-10 mins - keep on eye on this throughout the drive. It should go as high as 3/4 and no more really. Check there is no oil pressure warning light. This light should be on before you start the car and then go out - if it doesnt light first chances are it may have been disconnected!! Start to drive away, loud injector noise and tappet noise are very common, so expect the engine to sound 'tickety' 'tappety' when cold. It shouldn't be excessive though. The idle especially on the S1 is very lumpy, and should idle around the 1k mark, higher when cold. Choke is electronic controled by ECU, so it shouldn't cut out when cold. On the drive check the speedo moves...not always smoothly on Peugeots and the odometer works. Sloppy gear travel suggests worn linkages, lot of crunching on gear changes means worn syncro's. However all older Peugeots have very stiff gears when cold. Check the car pulls smoothly through all the gears - take your hands off the wheel and check for judder at high and low speeds. Take a few slow corners on full lock, listen for CV joint graunching noises and bearing noise. Feel the ride, it should be firm on a standard Rallye. Does the car drive straight and not wander, does it brake in a straight line - are the brakes good! Just check as much as you can and listen for suspect noises. Expect rattles though Peugeots are fragile so dash rattle and bits falling off the interior are common. Check the interior condition. Worn seats are normal in Peugeots. Expect steering to be stiff/heavy as there is no power steering as standard (unless requested). When you get back jump out and check under bonnet again for water leaks, oil etc..etc. The S1 needs to be revved higher in order to achieve its max BHP so dont be scared to give it some beans on the test drive, it has to cope with being driven at high revs. Torque is lacking so dont expect it to pull like a steam train through the gears. The S2 has bags of torque and this should be felt in each gear. Again this area is so vast I have just covered the basics.

If you are happy with the car I suggest leaving a deposit and getting the HPI report before proceeding. Use this time to haggle on any faults you have noticed and anything else such as MOT, tax etc.. Don't rush into anything - a deposit of 20-100 pounds will usually secure a car for a day or two - so have a think. Re-check anything you feel neccessary. Rallyes can vary vastly in price. As I know a few people in the trade I can access CAP and quite frankly the prices are disgusting, but based on the market..so. Look to pay around 1500+ for a good S1, 2000+ for an exceptional one, S2's are getting rare now too, so anything from 2K up to say 4k for an outstanding low mileage one. It all depends on how badly someone wants a Rallye to be honest.

And good luck!!

Written by James Higginson.

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