1980s / 1990s / SEAT / Spanish / Sunday classic

Sunday classic: SEAT Marbella Le Jouet

seat-marbella-le-jouet-1After recovering from its messy divorce with Fiat, Spain’s SEAT flourished during the late 1980s thanks in part to a sizable amount of cash injected by Volkswagen and a fresh lineup of cars. Its entry-level model was the Marbella, a three-door hatchback that was known as the SEAT Panda until 1986. The Marbella was identical to the Fiat Panda in most aspects but it wore a softer overall design.

It took more than rounded corners to differentiate the Marbella from the Panda so SEAT France launched a special edition called Le Jouet (which means “the toy” in French) in early 1989 to capture car shoppers’ attention.

Available in red, white or black, the Le Jouet’s main selling point was that it came standard with two pop-up glass sunroofs. It also featured edition-specific blue, purple and turquoise stripes affixed on both sides and “Le Jouet” stickers on both quarter panels, on the hatch and on the left side of the hood. The blue, purple and turquoise motif was also found on the hubcaps.

SEAT made no changes inside the car, but the Marbella Le Jouet came standard with a radio.

The Le Jouet was powered by the same Fiat-derived 903cc four-cylinder engine that was found in the engine bay of the regular Marbella. Linked to a four-speed manual transmission, it sent 39 horsepower and 44 lb-ft. of torque to the front wheels.

SEAT axed the Le Jouet edition in 1993 but the Marbella stuck around until it was phased out in 1998. Precisely how many Le Jouet cars were built is not known.

One thought on “Sunday classic: SEAT Marbella Le Jouet

  1. I had a 1992 Red Marbella CLX from new. Not sexy, not technologically advanced, not fast not overly equipped but it remains my most favourite out of the 20 odd cars I have owned. Nippy, frugal., easy to drive and park it was a city car before its time and I will regret selling it to my dying day

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