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Long-term review

Peugeot 306 Rallye - long-term review

Published: 29 May 2020


  • SPEC

    Peugeot 306 Rallye

The 306 Rallye rides again! But for how much longer?

Get a specialist involved. It makes things so much more straightforward. Took the 306 to Andy Reid at ARM Motorsport after ATS had failed to sort the wheel balance (I think they knew, since they offered it FOC). Anyway, had a phone call later that morning to say it was done. And you know what? This time, it actually was.

“These are tricky wheels to balance,” Andy told me. “Mounting them on the machine is a skill in itself because there’s no wheel centre – you have to use the four-bolt pattern. Anyway, the nearest wheel was 20g out, the rest more.” I took it for a drive to celebrate. It honestly felt like a different car. Not only no wheel wobble, but the gearchange was smoother too. I ask Andy what else he’d tinkered with that morning. “Nothing. That’s all in your head. When something’s wrong with a car, your brain starts spotting other issues. Sort the big one and the little ones tend to disappear.”

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If only he’d stopped there. “Of course, the front anti-roll bar is starting to corrode, the rear brake discs are tired – they basically need to be used more – and when was the last time you had the cambelt done?” I ask him whether he’s measuring by miles (about 4,000) or time (about nine years). Typically it’s time, and it should have been done about four years ago. We roughly totted it up: £150 for new rear discs and pads, £60 for a new AR bar, £350 for the timing belt (the front subframe has to be disconnected). He also pointed out something I knew all too well. It’s been shoddily jacked up in the past, which has allowed rust to start nibbling at the sills.

A few months back, I was talking about fitting Bilstein dampers, but I’ve changed my mind. I could do that, but I’d want to get the basic mechanics done first as I’d be happier modifying a car that was already A-OK. And if it were A-OK, I might want to leave it like that.

It’s not a question of cost - £560 all-in is, from memory, about what Land Rover wanted to charge for an oil-change service on the Velar. But it is a question of use and desire. Now the wheel wobble is fixed, I can actually drive the 306 properly as it is. This is ridiculous, isn’t it? This is the 12th time I’ve written about the 306, and basically all I’ve got done is an MoT test and some cosmetic work. Half the time I see the 306 as a millstone. I have considered shoving it back in the lock-up; I am considering selling it. But, first, I want to try to fall for it again.

So it’s going to take a hiatus from these pages – to make way for something shinier, costlier and, since Mark Riccioni is involved, less reliable. In the meantime, I keep hearing the last words Andy Reid said to me as I walked out the door: “You don’t want to spend too much on it. At the end of the day, it’s just a 306.” Amen to that.

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