Ever felt a bit left out? Sitting at home alone knowing your mates are having a great time without you? Sitting in the pub with them later, trying to laugh at the tales of their exploits? I am about to experience this, as a large proportion of the PH team are in France for the Le Mans 24, or headed that way, and I am feeling more than a bit glum about being left behind. (Boo-hoo. Should have got your a*** in gear! Ed.) However I try to console myself with thoughts of rainy days, warm beer and too much overcooked meat between bread, I still ache to be there. The bad parts are what makes it so good.
To cheer myself up (and anyone else still stuck here in the UK) I decided to look for Le Mans related sheds, and have come up with the following selection. All are made by manufacturers competing in Le Mans 2010, and while the budget didn't stretch to a 'Vette or an Aston I did find a few interesting cars for under £1000.
Peugeot, you can't knock their Le Mans efforts although I doubt that (m)any Brits will be willing them to victory this weekend. Their diesel racer is undoubtedly fast, and hearing Mr Mansell tell us how the derv-powered cars fly past them as if the petrol cars had stopped only served to confirm the er, 'lack of balance' in the Le Mans sporting regulations. But their road offerings have lacked the same excitment of late, and it was for this reason that I overlooked the abundance of 206s available for under £1000 and went back to 1992 to find this gorgeous little 1.6 205 GTi. Sure it has its faults, but as they are mostly cosmetic, it's a car you can buy and enjoy straight away. A proper hot-hatch at a budget price. For full details see here
Audi are also fans of racing with lorry fuel (only kidding diesel fans), but their shed candidates are the polar opposite of Peugeot. With Pugs, the older the car the better it is (by and large) but with Audi, the sub £1000 stuff is decidedly dull as the older good stuff continues to fetch reasonable money. That said, if you want a decent wafter that doubles up as decent daily transport, then how about this beauty for £995. 2.6 litres, huge interior space, solid interior, air, cruise, full history and even heated seats could be yours for less than the beer fund you would take for a weekend in Le Sarthe. Bargainous, if not exciting motoring from a time when Audi were not known for their mainstream sportiness. See here
BMW are at Le Mans this weekend with their glorious 'art car' and to celebrate their return we offer you this BMW shed. OK, so the 7er has been done to death on SOTW, but I can't igonore their stonking value for money. If you were planning to head to Le Mans with a few mates, you could do worse than buying this, filling the boot with beer and tents and heading for the port. This 1987 735i has a long MOT, service history and only 138,000 miles on the clock. OK, so it's fairly basic in spec with no leather, no air and no cruise but when it looks this good do you really care? For information can be found here
It's always nice to be patriotic when abroad, and what better way to show your Britishness than piloting a Jag? An XJ at that. Although it is 'only' a 3.2 this leather lined Sport model comes with a long MOT and a few months tax, and is in 'excellent' condition according to the seller. Chances are that this car will last a lifetime, and most won't believe you only spent £995 on it, rather they will think you have come into wealth and are showing remarkably restrained taste as you waft past. This is my personal favourite of the Le Mans sheds, and I'm struggling to hold myself back from going to view it. If you are tempted too, take a look here for the advert
Finally, if you are heading to Le Mans you will probably spend more than you accounted for and might wish that you had made more of an effort with your transport as you pass a load of race goers in their Routemaster drinking beer. Let's blow the budget for a moment and take a punt on this rather bright Transit ambulance (ambiwlans?), complete with all medical equipment. The choice is yours, do you rip it all out and create a makeshift motorhome/ beer storage unit, or do you dress up as doctors and see how many nurses you can encourage to join you in Mulsanne? For a shade over a grand, we think its worth a punt for Le Mans 2011. Fancy bidding? See here
Enjoy Le Mans everyone, and spare a though for those of us stuck at home...