Sometimes it’s the least special new cars which end up being the most special classic cars. Confused? Well, read on for clarification and undeniable proof…
You probably don’t have to be much of a loyal ViaRETRO reader to have caught onto the fact, that the editorial team here at ViaRETRO have a profound appreciation of yesteryear’s daily heroes – the Cortinas, Carinas and Corsas. All cars which used to litter our streets, were utilised as mere practical tools and subsequently disregarded without a second thought, only to now be found on the severely endangered species list of old car. When they were new, they were just for transportation, were often regarded as somewhat boring – maybe even entirely inadequate. But nowadays, when viewed in the soothing glow of retroism (think I may have just invented a new word there…??), on the odd occasion where we spot a survivor out in the wild somewhere, they fill us with warm and nostalgic memories in a way that no exquisite sportscar or grand tourer can, as it was of course only the few and very privileged who had access to such machinery when new. These yesteryear’s heroes on the other hand; well, everyone has a story to tell and an emotional link of some sort.
And just you wait to you see the charming little eighties city car which we’ve found for you this week. Arguably, in retrospect it’s made even more interesting by the marque as a whole seeing its demise as a passenger car manufacturer in 1987. But for a while up through the early eighties, the PSA owned Talbot were actually quite popular with their comfortable and economical family cars ranging from the small Samba to the larger Horizon, Alpine and Solora.
Introduced in late 1981, the Samba was the only Talbot not to be inherited from the Chrysler Europe takeover. Instead it was based on the aging Peugeot 104 from 1972. However, with its front-wheel drive, it was however still a more modern interpretation of the small family hatchback than the rear-wheel drive Talbot Sunbeam which it replaced. PSA also decided to slightly increase the wheelbase of the Samba compared to the Peugeot 104 and Citroën LN, and it was of course an altogether more modern design with its wrap-around plastic bumpers and not least a distinct Talbot-family front end to emulate its bigger family members. By the time the Samba was discontinued in 1986, Talbot had produced approximately 270,000 examples of their little city car.
The Samba was offered with three different engines and trim levels; the base LS with the PSA 954cc XV-engine, the GL with the 1124cc XW-engine and not least the GLS with the largest 1360cc XY-engine. The year after its introduction, Talbot introduced some glamour to the small city car when they worked together with the famed Pininfarina to add a convertible to the range. At the time, that made the Samba the only car in its segment to be available as a convertible from the factory. Furthermore, they also introduced the sporting little Rallye which was equipped with a 90hp version of the XW-engine enlarged to 1219cc. Available only in white or red and with go-faster stripes down the sides, it was a proper little pocket-rocket which effectively became the predecessor to Peugeot’s later Rallye versions of the 205, 309 and 306 which became such icons in their own era.
But this is not about glamourous convertibles or performance-enhanced hot hatches. Quite the contrary, this week’s prime find is a true contender for the upcoming Festival of the Unexceptional, which we so enjoyed reporting from last year.
After all, can you imagine anything more suitable for the Unexceptional than a base-spec Talbot Samba 1.0 LS – but presented in absolutely amazing condition and with equally impressive history? This 1983 RHD Samba has only had one previous owner until it was purchased by the current owner in 2012 where it became a part of a private classic car collection. Not just that, but it has also covered a mere 16,762 miles in its 36 year life span – all of which is fully documented through every old MOT certificate. The Samba has been professionally treated with Dinitrol and is claimed to retain all factory panels as well as original glass, lights and even rubbers. There are even fabulous little details in place like the rear window sticker from the supplying Talbot dealer, just like there are two sets of original keys, a full handbook pack and the original bill of sale.
Besides all the documentation being flawless, the little eighties Frenchman presents in a charming Jonquil paintwork which really compliments the Havana cloth seats. The selling dealer ensures that both a body and interior are in exceptional condition and free from wear or damage. Pictures can of course be flattering, but I must say it does look extremely good in the many large and detailed pictures on the dealer’s website – some of which we have borrowed here:
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Talbot Samba is claimed to drive perfectly, and it will be delivered to its next owner freshly serviced and with a new MOT. At this point I must say that one of my favourite pet hates is when overly optimistic owners try to sell their often modified and personalised classic cars with the ridiculous line: “The best (insert model name here) in the world”. Gibberish I say! Yet when the selling dealer of this Samba writes: “…this is far from your usual and run of the mill Talbot Samba. It is regarded as one of, if not the very best example that is known to exist”, well, then on this one occasion, I’m inclined to believe them. And all of this can be yours for only £ 4,495 which currently equates to approximately Euro 5,000. Here’s a link to the full advert on the dealer’s website: 1983 Talbot Samba LS
I ask you, where else will you find such originality, such low ownership, such low mileage, such full documentation, such impeccable condition and not least such French city car charm for such a humble amount of money? I personally can think of very few cars in which I’d rather attend the upcoming Festival of the Unexceptional…
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 firstname.lastname@example.org