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Group B. If you are a rally fan of any sort, I probably don’t have to say more than that to get your imagination flowing. It was no doubt the pinnacle of rallying.

The raw beat of those 5-cylinder Sport Quattro’s and their whistling turbo’s, Delta S4’s jumping so high you fear they may never land again, and 205 T16’s executing perfect slides through one hairpin after another. Granted, the car we’re looking at today is perhaps not quite that spectacular. But it is nonetheless a fully-fledged Group B rally car produced in a mere 200 examples to meet the homologation requirements. That is still pretty special if you ask me, and as an added bonus, it’s also a whole lot cheaper than those ultimate icons of Group B rallying.

Introducing the featherweight Citroën Visa Trophée – the first rally car ever homologated for Group B.

The Citroën Visa Trophée was initially developed to compete in Group 5 rallying, but with the introduction of Group B for the 1982 season, the little Visa actually made rallying history on the 1st of January 1982 by becoming the very first car homologated into this new era of rallying. With its small 1,219cc engine it slotted into the lowest B/9 class for engines up to 1,299cc. But despite the small engine, it still managed a healthy 100hp in base trim, and was even developed throughout its racing career to push out an alleged 150hp towards the end! Add to the equation the generous use of fiberglass body panels and not least lexan windows for all but the windscreen, which all helped the Visa Trophée weigh in at a mere 710kg’s. Needless to say, the Visa Trophée was no slouch, and amassed an impressive number of class victories in those early years of Group B.

All of 200 Visa Trophée’s lined up for inspection before it could be homologated for Group B.

Towards the end of the 1982 season, Citroën introduced the Visa Chrono. This was largely an identical car to the Trophée, but with the engine capacity enlarged to 1,360cc, thus placing it in the B/10 class for 1,300 to 1,599cc cars. As the Chrono was regarded as an evolution of the Trophée, only 20 cars were needed to homologate it. However, both the Trophée and the Chrono were still FWD cars like the normal road-going Visa, and Group B was of course quickly becoming the epitome of four-wheel-drive. Citroën therefore developed the Visa further still and introduced the Mille Pistes in early 1984. Once again the engine was enlarged this time to 1,434cc which bumped up the power output too. But more importantly, the Mille Pistes now had the four-wheel-drive which had become virtually mandatory if you were to be respected in Group B. As this was such a fundamental change, it was regarded as a whole new car, and Citroën had to build 200 examples of them for the homologation. This became the final and ultimate rally incarnation of the Visa before Citroën’s ill-fated attempt with their BX 4TC.

Sporting its full rally trim, and the otherwise so feminine and sweet Visa suddenly morphs into something quite brutish and purposeful.

The Citroën Visa Trophée for sale here is really quite extraordinary! It was never converted into a rally car, so it instead presents perfectly original as a road-going version of the 200 homologation specials. It’s never been restored either, so all factory fiberglass body panels are still in place, as are the factory lexan windows. It apparently even still retains its factory paint, and only has an amazingly low 15,700 km’s on the clock! After 20 years in a museum, it’s now been freshly serviced and is claimed by the selling dealer to be mechanically perfect and ready to use. I sure do wish it could be me, as that unmolested early dash and those fabulous electric blue cloth seats look terribly inviting for a thrash across some twisty backroads…

Now if I’m to be perfectly honest, I haven’t got the foggiest idea what something like this is worth. For starters, you just try finding another one to compare it with…! If you really were to find another Visa Trophée, it would most likely be a full rally-spec car with a tough life and a couple of re-shells already behind it. Regardless, the dealer in Brescia, Italy has it up for Euro 39,500 or £ 34,500. It would be all too easy to argue that this is a ridiculous amount of money for a Visa. On the flipside, while it’s of course a significant amount of cash for most people, it also sounds like a very cheap entry ticket into the magical world of Group B – even more so of course when the car in question is in such unmolested condition. Click on the link below for the full advert and judge for yourself.

1981 Citroën Visa Trophée Gr. B

At ViaRETRO we rarely need much of an excuse to include a video in our articles. The Visa Trophée above seems like the perfect reason to share this 1982 film from “Citroën Relations Publiques“. I hope your French is better than mine though. But even if it isn’t, you can no doubt still enjoy this period presentation of early eighties rallying extravaganza followed by their presentation of the all-charging, all-flying Visa Trophée:

 

 

With our Saturday instalment of Prime Find of the Week, we’re offering our services to the classic car community, by passing on our favourite classic car for sale from the week that passed. This top-tip might help a first-time-buyer to own his first classic, or it could even be the perfect motivation for a multiple-classic-car-owner to expand his garage with something different. We’ll let us inspire by anything from a cheap project to a stunning concours exotic, and hope that you will do the same.
Just remember – Any Classic is Better than No Classic! We obviously invite our readers to help prospective buyers with your views and maybe even experiences of any given model we feature. Further to that, if you stumble across a classic which you feel we ought to feature as Prime Find of the Week, then please send us a link to primefindoftheweek@viaretro.co.uk

8 Responses

  1. Dave Leadbetter

    Nice find! What a strange Citroen publicity video though, it’s five minutes before we get a glimpse of their car rather than all their competitors’ products. Interesting motor, and almost certainly the cheapest entry into Group B ownership.

    There is some nice in-car video here which shows how well they buzz along. For the rally geeks this is interesting as it’s one of those strange closed road events run to high speed regularity complete with passage checks, which is why they dawdle into the finish control having covered ground too quickly and getting ahead of time. For the non rally geeks, see how the single wiper leaves a huge unswept area just where you need to see the road!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKMSN90pioQ

    Reply
  2. Anders Bilidt

    Great video David! He’s moving along rather briskly – especially considering there’s only a smidgen more than 1,200cc…
    Would love to have a go in one of these homologation pocket-rockets!

    Reply
  3. Claus Ebberfeld

    Totally agree on the rarity aspect, the idea of an affordable entry ticket into the famed Group B, the engine sound and much more. However – it’s a Visa.

    I never liked them in period and this car makes me realize that has not changed. The aestetics were always challenged in the details and the overall picture just ruined by the strange/ plain wrong proportions. Somehow the Visa was made even worse looking by being so closely related to the hailed Peugeot 205 that did just everything right. It is simply beyond my comprehension how the Visa could end up so clumsy looking sharing the platform of the 205.

    Call me shallow but I simply can not live with the aestetics of the Visa, regardless of which version, road or Group B. To my mind the electric blue seats and the go-faster stripes are the only mitigating aspects on the Trophée.

    Reply
  4. Dave Leadbetter

    I like the fact it looks a little clumsy and almost apologetic, it’s a car with a face for sure. The GTi variant with quad headlamps and body kit looks a bit more purposeful. They’re such underdogs I can’t fail but like them :)

    Reply
  5. Claus Ebberfeld

    Usually I am all for the underdogs, Dave – and sure it’s a car with a face: It’s just not a pretty one. If had that amount of money to splash out on a Citroën I’d go with an SM anytime. Shares some of the characteristics of the Trophee as well: Fast, not pretty, nice seats.

    Reply
  6. Anders Bilidt

    Claus, I hear what you are saying about the 205. And you are right of course. The 205 is no doubt a better car than the Visa, a prettier car than the Visa, and probably a lot of other things which the Visa isn’t. But all of that only goes to make the 205 the typical oh-so-obvious choice. And like Dave, I prefer the underdog. If I’m honest, I’ve always had a bit of a crush on a Visa GTi in white and with the funky early dashboard. Also, keep in mind that the Visa was introduced in ’78 – a full five years before the 205.

    But the essence of this whole article is of course that we’re looking at entry tickets to the world of Group B.
    So you try comparing a Visa Trophée with a 205 T16. Once again, it’s fairly obvious that the Peugeot is going to come out as the winner. But then have a look at the price tag. Whooooaar! If anyone is going to brush aside the Visa Trophée with the notion that paying Euro 40 grand for a Visa is insane, then I truly lack the words for expressing how I feel about paying close to Euro 200 grand for a Peugeot 205. With such a significant difference in price, you can’t really compare the two at all, and arguably the Visa walks away as the winner for the rally fan who wants a taste of Group B, but just can’t afford to play ball with the big investors…

    Reply
  7. Jens Holm

    Well, the 205 was always the pretty girl in school, with a rich dad and everything goin’ for her. The Visa however was the rather peculiar girl with freckles and irregular teeth. Who would beat up the boys anytime – sort of like Peppermint Pattie in Peanuts – and that was the one I would get a crush on…. so give me the Visa. The not so obvious choice..

    Reply

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