The Fleet: Peugeot 107 – “Rocky”

Rocky, my grey Peugeot 107

This Peugeot 107 is a car that changed everything for me. It was the first brand new car I bought. This was the first car I ever took a spanner to. And it’s the first car I drove abroad in. It’s also the first and only car the wife likes. So why is it on this website, surrounded by cars hated by my wife? Well everything is subjective, and her like of this car only extends to the fact she can drive it. Oh, and she doesn’t have to pay anything towards it’s maintenance.

A little history first

An obligatory arty shot of my Peugeot 107. Not taken with a digital camera, an actual film camera!
As it’s a French car, I thought I’d do some French noir photographs in tribute to this tough little car.

The Peugeot 107 was born out of a partnership between PSA and Toyota. PSA needed something to replace the Peugeot 106 and the Citroen C1. Toyota really needed to make more of their acquisition of Diahatsu and actually build a small car. This partnership created the B-Zero project and resulted in the Citroen C1, Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 107 sharing this platform. All three versions of this supermini were built at a shared factory in the Czech Republic.

Like every product of a partnership, the resulting product takes the best bits of each of the people involved. Well, for the most part. The petrol engine in all three variants are designed by Toyota, whereas the diesel versions were designed by PSA. The petrol engine in mine has been absolutely fantastic, very revvy and returns a good miles to the gallon. The brakes are alright as far as brakes go. They stop you quick enough to not hit the badger Farmer Richard Head has thrown out of his Land Rover.

Cheap as chips

My Peugeot 107 is a "Special Edition" Millesim 200, celebrating 200 years of Peugeot.
This “Millesim 200” is a special edition, celebrating 200 years of Peugeot. I’d be wary of using “celebrating” so close to “Peugeot” really

My Peugeot 107 was bought in September 2010 with 15 miles on the clock. Bought on their “Just Add Fuel” with a part exchanged 1999 Honda Civic as a deposit. Nearly 10 years on I don’t regret that decision. This car has cost me pennies to run, even after 80,000 miles. The name “Rocky” was given to it after I took it camping in the first week of owning it. Three friends accompanied me in it, loaded with four heavyweights, a 6 man tent, sleeping bags and enough beer for 2 nights sleep. It’s a tough little car, and naming it in honour of Rocky Balboa does it justice. To me anyway!

My not-so-local Toyota dealer sells a service pack for the Toyota Aygo. That pack consists of 5l of 5w30 oil, oil filter, air filter, and a cabin filter – all for £40. The best part about it is that the pack consists of manufacturer spec parts. It also contributes towards a stamp in the service history book, although I must admit I haven’t bothered stamping it.

When the car has had issues, they have been cheap to resolve too. Last summer the passenger electric window failed, meaning the actuator had to be replaced. A quick look on eBay meant I nabbed one for £15. I then spent an entire Sunday fitting it as I have hands the size of shovels. This car was designed to only be worked on by children.

Every rose has it’s thorn

A boot comes as standard with the Peugeot 107.
A boot comes as standard with the Peugeot 107. Big enough for a petrol can and Asda shopping bags. Other supermarket bags are available.

I would love to say that the 9 years of ownership have been fantastic, care free with no drama. But I’d be lying. As much as I love this car, there are things about it that really have bugged me about it. The biggest gripe is the catalytic converter. And it pains me to say this, but Toyota dropped the ball with this design. I would come to expect it from Peugeot, but not you Toyota!

Remember this is a 9 year old car, it’s done 80,000 miles, and yet it’s on it’s third catalytic converter! Why? Well it’s actually more of a “mani-cat”. It serves as the exhaust manifold of the car as well as the catalytic converter. The three pipes from the engine come down to the catalytic converter and through the exhaust system. The problem though is that the join from the manifold to the catalytic converter body cracks and inevitably splits. Meaning it starts to sound like a tractor while driving around town and makes you sleepy with all of the gases escaping straight in to the cabin.

I have all three catalytic converters for this car. Two are proper PSA/Toyota and the other one was £115 from Euro Car Parts. Last time I checked Peugeot wanted nearly £350 for a replacement. In fairness to the ECP catalytic converter it didn’t suffer the same failure as the proper PSA/Toyota converters. But that’s probably because I removed it after 18 months. The engine was down on power, like it couldn’t breathe. Like most cheap 3rd party products it’s built to a cost point, not for performance. So the replacement for that was a second hand converter from a scrapped Citroen C1, costing £60. That lasted 2 years as well.

Keeping it moist

Gratuitous pantograph action courtesy of the Peugeot 107
Gratuitous pantograph action courtesy of the Peugeot 107. And yes, unapologetic use of fancy aero wiper blades.

The catalytic converter isn’t the only issue that plagues the Peugeot 107. These cars are notorious for allowing water to seep in to the car. Most issues relate to the high level brake light, as well as the brake lights themselves. The door seals as well can allow water in over time. And as luck would have it Rocky suffers from all of these issues. I’ve rectified the leaks around the rear lights using draught excluders, but the high level beam still leaks. So that will be replaced along with new door seals.

The car can also suffer when driving in the wet. Most notably is when you need to negotiate a roundabout. The car turns in to a full on Ford Mustang from Bullit and oversteers its way around it. Sure, this sounds great fun. But if you’re not thinking about it and the car starts to swap ends its time for the brown trousers. The Peugeot 107, Citroen C1, and Toyota Aygo, are built to a price point. So corners were cut to make the car as cheap as possible. This meant the designers decided not to include a rear anti-roll bar. The car really does need an anti-roll bar just to make the car more composed in such situations.

The road legal go-kart

Rocky the Peugeot 107, celebrating Ireland's progress in Euro 2016
As well as being a road legal go-kart, it’s also a great flag carrier.

There is a reason why I’ve kept this car so long, regardless of the issues I’ve listed above. The car has never let me down so I know I can trust it, but it’s more than that. When the road is dry, and it’s just you in the car, there is no other legal way to have so much fun. You can throw it around corners which leads to understeer, but you’re expecting this. So you throw it around corners like Jackie Stewart throw his Tyrrell around the streets of Monaco in the 1960’s.

The steering is direct, although light, but it makes it absolutely ideal for driving in the city. If there’s a gap next to you, the car instills enough confidence in you to know you can indicate, merge in to that space, and keep up with the traffic. For our BMW and Audi friends, to indicate is to move that stick on the left hand side of your steering wheel that makes that weird ticking sound. That’s what makes that orange light on cars flash. The more you know, eh?

My Peugeot 107, shaking it's ass
I see you baby, shaking your ass in a French Noir style…

The engine is responsive. It’s only 1.0 litres with 3 cylinders and can sound coarse when you absolutely rev the bejaysus out of it. This means it can be both addictive and necessary to keep the revs high. This doesn’t seem really affect the economy of this engine though. Putting £40 of petrol in this car and will return between 380 to 430 miles from it. It doesn’t sound great but this car gets proper mixed use. That’s pootling around town, then opened up to the national speed limit and then back down to 30mph.

What does the future hold?

This is a car that I will never get rid of. But it’s a car that I don’t drive as often as I used to for various reasons. Mostly because I’ve put so much effort in to the Corolla I want to drive that all the time. Plus it’s the car that the wife drives all the time. So it does get used, just not by the person who likes it.

However, the wife is on notice to find herself a new car. My sister-in-law turns 17 in February and as a gift she’ll be the custodian of Rocky. It’ll be her first car, so she can learn how to be a brilliant driver using it. But because of this, there are certain things that need addressing before she’s let loose on the roads.

Upgrades

A rear anti-roll bar is an absolute must. It’s OK for me to drive the car knowing that the Peugeot 107 will oversteer on wet roundabouts. The sister-in-law won’t have been driving that long. She needs confidence and experience of driving in all conditions to be built up first and foremost. Plus the mother-in-law wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t do something about it.

Most of the upgrades will centre on the interior. The car came with air conditioning and over the years the gas has escaped. So instead of cold air it provides you with warm instead. The compressor, as far as I know, still works so it’ll just be a case of a re-gas.

While you’re being kept cool, you’ll want some tunes. Again, penny pinching from PSA meant they only supplied the car with two front speakers. I’m pointing the finger at PSA for this as I had a Toyota Aygo Black which came with four speakers. So I know it was possible to have more speakers PSA!

Cracked hazard light switch is a common problem with the Peugeot 107.
Cracked hazard light switch is a common problem with the Peugeot 107. Air Conditioning is an optional extra, but who needs it when you have windows?

So with the addition of more speakers, the head unit will also be changed. I bought a 2 DIN head unit which had DAB, Bluetooth and other fancy things for my Dad’s Honda CR-V. I got rid of the Honda to get the hateful Peugeot 3008 but kept the head unit. A new fascia is needed to accommodate the taller unit. This means I can replace the hazard light switch. I’m glad of this as it cracked in the first week of owning the vehicle. Now though it doesn’t flash when it’s pressed, so needs sorting.

Maintenance is a must

Over 82,000 miles covered with this Peugeot 107. Mostly all trouble free!
Over 82,000 miles covered with this Peugeot 107. Mostly all trouble free!

Rocky is a special car to me. It has never let me down so I don’t mind lavishing time and effort on it to keep it running. I have let some things slide though.

The car is well overdue a service. It’s well under the 10,000 miles limit, but it is about 6 months past due. I know, I am awful. I plan on it being a major service. This means new plugs, oil etc. I’ll also, hopefully, check the tappets to make sure they’re within tolerance.

As well as this, the car really does need new brake discs. The ones I fitted years ago have more scoring on them than Liverpool playing a pub team. This will also mean new brake pads. I’ve used Mintex pads before, so I will be fitting Mintex brake discs as well. The only problem is that the discs use a torx screw to hold on to the hub. These are soft, so when they’ve seized they’re difficult to get off. So that’s going to be fun!

The Peugeot 107 petrol comes as a 1.0 litre, 3 cylinder engine. Still used today with the new Peugeot 108's!
The Peugeot 107 petrol comes as a 1.0 litre, 3 cylinder engine. Still used today with the new Peugeot 108’s! Total bitch to check the oil on though.

After the wife and I got married, we arrived home to find the poor old car decorated. The mother-in-law had taped a “Just Married” banner on to the back window of the Peugeot 107. The only problem is that when the banner was removed it damaged the heater elements. So if the rear window fogs up now the heated screen won’t work. The solution? A new rear window. Did I mention the rear window in these cars also double as the boot lid?

There is so much to do, and so little time to get it done. The plan is that the Peugeot is will be worked on before the Lada. At the time of writing it’s already mid-November. Time isn’t on my side! But it’ll form part of a series on YouTube, so there’s some good to come out of it at least.

My Peugeot 107, Rocky, will never leave the fleet.
My Peugeot 107, Rocky, will never leave the fleet.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Ryan Lister 1st July 2020 at 9:19 am

    Found your website via AS… great article, these kind of cars get under your skin. My Dad had a C1 from pre-reg with 11 miles on the clock and has just sold it on at 120k. The new owner (his brother) has just put a clutch in it, but other than that and a fault indicator stalk it was truly faultless in 120k.

    • Reply Michael, Das Admin 1st July 2020 at 10:05 am

      Thanks for finding me! Yeah the 107, C1 and Aygo are great cars. I’ll have this one 10 years in September. I’ll hopefully do another write up and video about it then so keep an eye out.

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