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

Every time I park the Rallye up, it costs me money. Part of me thinks I should have called it quits once it got through the MOT seeing as I’m not someone that cares about the cosmetics of anything. But I’m also a soft touch. I go outside, see the dents, the faded paint, the stains, the tatty wheels and old tyres and want to make the 306 better. More than that, I’ve realised you have to invest in a project car – you feel more emotionally bound to something when you’ve shelled out for its upkeep and repair.

So what’s going on here? Well, a few things this month, lowering my bank balance by £760. This on top of the £619 it cost to get it mechanically straight and through the MOT. In my head I’d thought I’d spend £1,500 getting it straight – which means I’ve got £121 left to spend. Yep, budget, smudget. Still need to get the under body protection done. And several panels need repainting…

Nick Goodall runs a company called Detail My Car. He took one look at the Rallye, decided detailing my car wasn’t going to be remotely enough and called for back up. First port of call was the wheels and tyres. The 306 was wearing original-fit Pirelli P6000s on the front and some utter trash on the back. To exacerbate the lift-off oversteer… Well, time to be more grown up. 195/50 R15 Michelin Pilot Sport 3s cost £55 a corner for a tyre that was cutting edge when it was launched in 2010. Decade old now, but a decade younger than the car. They’ve been attached to wheels that now sparkle. And are actually round.

Somewhere along the line I’d bought (on Ebay, for £75 if memory serves) two spare wheels with tyres for the 306. MyAlloys threw one cracked, flat-spotted rim away as unrepairable, then tidied the other five up, first stripping to remove corrosion, then polishing and coating. The best four are now back on the car with the Michelins attached, the last I’m tempted to put a piece of glass on top and use as a coffee table. It’s immaculate. All-in cost was £280, with the happy bonus that junking the damaged wheel and balancing everything up means the wheel wobble and steering shake has gone. Happy days.

Dents. Acne of the bodywork. Up close the 306 wasn’t a pretty sight. The roof was unblemished, but pretty much every other panel had seen some sort of life. Car park scuffs, random dents – the more I looked, the more I saw. And then there was the front nearside wing, which looked like it had been repeatedly hit with a bowling ball, roughly pulled straight, then smashed with a scaffold pole. That’s the only one that defeated Keith Woodcock from DentSmart. He bought his rods and tools to massage the panels, using a reflection on the bodywork to check progress, and did an amazing job at restoring the creases and curves to where they should be, but that front wing was a step too far. £300 for his services (I reckon that’s less than a tenner per dent), and now I’m off to source a new 306 front wing.

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