The joy of Shed

Shed Of The Week is an absolute PH institution, it goes without saying. Even though we just did. Man maths is another, and here we pick up the story of what happens when the two collide, a desire to protect a cherished 'proper car' from the ravages of winter kicks in with real force, and opportunity knocks in the shape of an unassuming, unloved and spectacularly cheap old Peugeot. Over to our Shedaholic...

£500's worth of winter motoring fun
£500's worth of winter motoring fun
"My name is Dave and I suffer from man maths. This cruel affliction means I can convince myself that owning an M3 CSL and an E36 M3 track car as my only transport, having nowhere to store them, and running two company cars used by my wife and sister is somehow affordable and justifiable.

"I lift share in the main, which means most days I travel in heated seat comfort aboard a Freelander with my only concerns being my driver's erratic overtaking and fear of traffic lights. But there's at least one day a week when I need to be under my own steam. Reaching November, and starting to think about how to get to work without wasting further miles on completely inappropriate cars on salty roads in the middle of winter, my condition meant I could see only one solution: buy another car.

Shed logic/man maths version of a 'bit of a clean'
Shed logic/man maths version of a 'bit of a clean'
"So I needed a simple plan to find a cheap car to run occasionally over winter, which should have meant a straightforward shopping list. Less than £1,500, cheap to run and, most importantly, comfortable. Trawling the classifieds threw up plenty of options and it's always fun to simply search on price rather than brand. My favourite bang for buck was probably a BMW E39 5 Series but the plethora of Astras and Focuses were just run of the mill and slightly dull. And reliable and cheap. And comfy enough. In other words, perfect.

"Enter man maths. This is how I've instead ended up spending £500 on an 18-year-old Mk1 Peugeot 306 Sedan STDT, in green, with 173,578 miles on the clock and need of a little TLC. With a full receipted history since 1994 it was perfectly logical to me that this car, which has been sitting at the bottom of a muddy carpark since March and my wife described as 'horrible', should be preferred to something more modern and reliable yet nearly as cheap.

What, you thought he was kidding about the beige?
What, you thought he was kidding about the beige?
"Having not even seen it pre-purchase I discovered upon picking it up that it was spectacularly dirty. Opening the door revealed a sea of beige covering everything, and I mean everything. Seats, doors, gear knob, the lot. I started to wonder if my logic had finally caught up with me. Was buying a very old and spectacularly uncool car to plod around in really the best decision?

"The answer has been a bit of a revelation. After a couple of journeys to work I started to take it all in. There's an unobstructed view out, it's not that wide and is easy to park, has great rear leg room, a big boot, delivers 52mpg, is nippy when needed and has wonderful, linear steering and neutral handling at the same time as delivering proper old-school ride comfort. Even the original Blaupunkt stereo is in full working order, including the remote stalk. The steering wheel may be a bit too near my knees, the clutch operates as an on/off switch and everybody else on the road feels some kind of compulsion to overtake me regardless how fast I'm going, but the fact is I just enjoy driving it.

It's no beauty but it is a beaut
It's no beauty but it is a beaut
"My realisation now is a modern incarnation of the old 306 could be the answer to the question of the family motor car. It's simply just what you need, completely without pretension and perfectly balances the appeal of frugality, practicality, comfort and mild eccentricity proving that firm ride and sporting promise don't always equal fun. In an age of congested roads and austerity it reignites the joy of motoring.

"So yes, a great decision and these days I'm a proud sufferer as I owe it all to man maths."

Though neglected, Dave's CSL is not up for sale... Meanwhile a £20 eBay bonnet, £8 indicators, full valet, set of tyres and DIY rear suspension rebuild later and his Peugeot is living the Shed dream.



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Comments (123) Join the discussion on the forum

  • tomoleeds 14 Jan 2013

    i know a few people who do the same in winter ,some are bmw owners,I buy a cheap 4x4 every winter,council dont plough side roads where i live,so need to get around in the snow.last year i bought 2 and sold a mitsibushi pinin to a bmw owner,his own car a brand new 3 series would not get him to his house in the snow.

  • Bertrum 14 Jan 2013

    I recently acquired a 2001 Volvo V40 estate for £560 with 3/4 of a tank 3months tax and MOT till sept '13.

    Smells a bit of dog and has 145k on the clock. But it's a 2.0 and returns north of's even silver.

    Love sheds!

  • JVaughan 14 Jan 2013

    I love my shed ... 1999 406 Diesel estate, 188,000 miles and still returning late 50's mpg. cost me £800 2 years ago, and aside from tyres, she has not cost me anything.
    Have to replace the discs and 2x calipers this year(£300) but hope she has another few years left in her

  • JayUK91 14 Jan 2013

    I've got my A4 Quattro on the road for it's second winter whilst the other car's in hibernation.

    Love driving my shed, but not so much the 24mpg of a 2.6 V6

  • JapFreak786 14 Jan 2013

    Not exactly a shed but I drive my Civic VEi around daily, 1.5 eco engine giving me about 35mpg (never calculated it) and cost me and my brother £300 each to buy since we share it, and bring the M5 out when I feel like it

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