1983 Talbot Samba LS 1.0L from UK and Ireland


A car which had a smile on its face


Clutch cable snapped.

Accelerator cable snapped.

Rear brake cylinders needed replacing twice in two years.

General Comments:

The Samba was a reliable, comfortable, fun and "different" car which I enjoyed owning. The gearbox wasn't brilliant (in my experience PSA gearboxes of the 1980s were generally horrid), requiring a bit of fishing about to find 4th if you tried to snatch the change from 3rd too quickly.

Driving was simple and fun, good visibility all-round and direct steering. I imagine the 1.3 engine would have made the car fairly sporty; as it was my 954cc engine was ideal for the car, and the fuel consumption was exceptionally low around town.

Despite being kept outdoors and run in all weathers near the English coast, the car still had no structural or surface rust when I traded it in, and I saw it running about town as late as 2002 so it was obviously one of the better-made ones, and the paintwork was beautifully done (unlike many other cars of the same era that I drove over the years), albeit in dark brown with orange "go faster" stripes down the sides...

The problem with the brake cylinders leaking was the only consistent thing that went wrong - it twice failed the MOT on it - no idea whether it was a regular fault for this platform or just bad luck with a poor batch of cylinders.

All in all, a lovely car which I have fond memories of.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 12th January, 2019

1982 Talbot Samba LS 1.0 from UK and Ireland


A bit of a dog in the looks department, but very reliable


Rust was a bit bad on the front sills of the car.

Other than that, it was reliable until the engine packed up at 63000 miles.

General Comments:

This was my first car; wanted a small Volvo but the money won't go that far.

I remember doing 105 mph downhill in this car near junction 8 on the M25. It could have gone faster but I had to slow down as I saw a police car in the inside lane.

This was not the prettiest car that I have ever had, but was reasonably comfy from what I remember. One thing I do remember is that when you went over 70 mph you had to turn the radio up loud or the sound of the engine was deafening.

The best thing about this car was it was very reliable and cost next to nothing on petrol.

I must agree with other reviews that it rusted on the front something rotten, but it kept on running.

It finally died after my little brother had it in '96.

A lot of fond memories from this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 12th December, 2008

1983 Talbot Samba LS 954cc petrol from UK and Ireland


Rust, rust, rust



Flat spot on acceleration which I was never able to fix.

More rust.

Gearbox sychromesh on its way out when I got rid of it (driver abuse suspected).

Did I mention rust?

General Comments:

My first car! Heaven knows why I'm writing a review of it now, it's not like you can buy one however hard you try! Apart from a few Cabriolets left, most of them have rusted away long ago.

This car had the thinnest steel used for its bodywork that I've ever seen. The slightest impact would cause a dent, and if the paintwork was scratched in the slightest, rust would set in in no time. I've never seen a car rust away so much in the year that I had it.

The interior was actually quite nice. I'm very tall and I found it very comfortable.

Despite the massive ground clearance, the car's handling wasn't bad at all and never misbehaved.

Let's not talk about the performance, though the engine was bombproof. Despite my greatest efforts, I just couldn't kill it.

No one forgets their first car, and this car had plenty you'd want to forget about. But if I could buy another I would, but purely for nostalgia!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th June, 2004

5th Jun 2005, 01:41

HI my wife and I have four sambas the LE, rally, and two style.

We have found to be good cheap cars to run, if you have one sent us a line.

21st Oct 2006, 10:54

My first car was also a Talbot Samba, a GL if my memory serves me. It was metallic gold, and it lasted a year before the engine started misfiring, and eventually dying.

When it was working, it was quite good fun to drive.

I occasionally scour auction sites (no names mentioned!) looking for surviving examples, but all in vain. They're long gone.

31st Mar 2008, 15:55

My first car was a 1985 Samba Trio in metallic midnight blue - a 1.1 if memory serves. Being 15 stone and 6'2, it wasn't the best choice, but for 175 quid what are you going to do?

I remember the wobbly speedometer needle would only narrow down your speed to the nearest 10mph. Other than that, and being mocked by other kids whose parents bought them cars, it was a great little vehicle. The engine was bulletproof, cheap on fuel and insurance, and minus the pink piping around the seats, the interior was passable.

It served me well for about 9 months and 15,000 miles before I parked it into the front of a Fiat Uno at about 30mph. The Uno came off far worse, but alas the Samba was a write-off too.

28th Apr 2009, 03:07

My first car was a Talbot Samba, and I thought it was great. Mine was yellow with a grey and pink stripe down the sides. I always found the gears hard to change, so I usually ended up going round the corners in 4th gear, but it got me from A to B at that time. I was pregnant at the time, so couldn't afford to get any repairs done on it, so I just drove it into the ground. God, it seems like a lifetime ago now. My twins are now 15, but I'll never forget my Talbot Samba.

16th May 2015, 23:27

What a great comment - really personalises what old cars can mean to people, and how even the most unloved of models always means something to somebody somewhere.

My own fond memory is the SEAT Marbella - great memories of the car that took me the length of the country to the lady who is now my wife of 20 years.