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Peugeot 306 Rallye
2.0-litre, 4cyl
Claimed MPG:
0-62mph in 7.8s

The barn find: unearthing an old car from a shed or lock-up. People get very excited about this, but it’s not exactly difficult. I mean look what I found – a 20-year old, 88,000-mile Peugeot 306 Rallye that had lain undisturbed behind drooping ivy and busy weeds in an unassuming garage for several years.

To be fair I thought I was going to find it in the lock-up next door. That’s where I remember parking it.

T916 JKP is my embarrassment and now I’m giving it an airing. God knows it needs it – when I opened the door and reached inside to check for cobwebs and run my hands over things, I’d forgotten it had an alcantara steering wheel. It doesn’t. That’s mould.

I’d like to point out now that I do genuinely and honestly love this car. It’s just that life got in the way. I bought it back in 2009 for £1950 and proceeded to spend jack all on it. Well, that’s not strictly true. I paid £74.60 on Ebay for two new Cyclone wheels to replace the cracked rims it came on, sourced original Pirelli P6000 tyres for even less, sorted out the tracking and taxed, MOT’d and insured it. The bill for that last one – £464 – was more than the rest of it put together.

But due to an unforeseen issue it couldn’t live at home. The unforeseen issue nicknamed it The Heap and banished it. It became my dirty secret, stashed a mile from home, and gradually used less and less. I never forgot about it, but six months of tax each year eventually became SORN. Father, please hear my confession – it’s been three years since I last opened the garage door.

The corrugated roof has leaked. There are water stains all over the red paint, mould around the fuel cap, the tyres are flat and there’s not a drop of life in the battery. It’s going to cost more than £464 to get it road-worthy. But that’s the plan, to give it a new lease of life and remind myself of just what an awesome car this is. The Rallye was the lightweight version of the 167bhp 306 GTi-6. 52kg stripped out for an all-in 1163kg. No electric windows or mirrors, no leather trim or front fogs, either. Less sound deadening, too. Just 500 were built, all for the hot hatch-obsessed UK market.

With the aid of a phone torch and Rowan Horncastle’s camera flashes I conduct a more in-depth investigation. First impressions were dire, but aside from cobwebs and (hopefully) superficial staining, I start to feel more upbeat. The doors open and close freely. Mice haven’t found their way into the cabin. The six-disc CD autochanger in the boot doesn’t look too rusty. Elsewhere corrosion seems to have stayed at bay, although I cross my fingers rather than stick my head underneath the sills.

And then I open the bonnet. Time hasn’t been so kind here. Again, no gnawing evident, but the ravages of climate and damp can be seen in rusty bolts and corroded terminals. But at least I’ve had a look. And that’s not all. Soon, I’m going to try and get it running.

What do you think?

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