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Joy of 306. Is this fixed now? Who knows!!!1!111

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#1 OFFLINE   RoadworkUK


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Posted 30 January 2016 - 09:29 PM

Not sure if I ever introduced my wife's car, which ironically probably has greater shite credentials than either of mine.


It's a Peugeot 306, lovingly crafted by the artisans of Ryton-On-Dunsmore in 1995. AD.


It's a 1.4 (XU) three-door, in Bermuda Blue, in the sought after XN trim (AKA Club Sport) with every possible convenience option deleted in the hunt for trackday glory. When Colin Chapman chanted "simplify and add lightness" he actually had in mind the Peugeot 306 XN.




Here it is at the beginning of the ascent onto the Stelvio Pass, at the beginning of a trans-European road trip I wrote up here.




Here it is in a layby full of crushed tarmac in Holland




And here's the Vauxhall Corsa which went into the back of it in December.


This was a bad day. Nicola phoned me at work in tears, recounting the full horror of what she'd been through, with the same wavering voice usually reserved for the death of a loved one.


The 306 is the only car Nicola has ever owned since she was 18. Eleven years ago. She could be excused for getting a bit teary eyed as she saw it being winched onto the beavertail.




You might see the photo above and think "well, fuck me, that's come off well" and you'd be right. Nic was doing about 20 when the Corsa enthusiastically bummed her, she was turning left into the petrol station and says it felt like one of my showboating oversteer moments, this the car going all sideways and jaunty. Only when she got out and saw the Vauxhall did she gulp and say "Oh".


Nevertheless, it doesn't take a lot to write off a 20 year old Peugeot; so we knew that the insurers decision was pretty inevitable. Indeed, the nasty insurance people concluded that it was "economically unviable" for repair. Hilariously, the valuation was £510, which is pretty much Ferrari money in my book.


So, cold hard economic wisdom shouted loudly to take the money and run.




Nicola and I aren't very wise people. While we could take the £510 and buy any Ferrari of our choice (well, after the £60 admin fee we probably would only have been able to get a '90s 456 or something, I suppose), but Nicola didn't want a Ferrari. She wanted her car.


For a few weeks the 306 sat, dejected and abandoned in a mystery location. It had been hauled away to a destination unknown while paperwork was shuffled by anonymous insurance droids. Meanwhile, no engineers report nor assessors verdict was made available to us. All we had to go on was that quick photo that Nicola took on the petrol station forecourt.

Rather than the £510, there was also the option of taking the car back on a Cat C and accepting a lower payment, reflecting the admin fee and the scrap value of the car. At least we'd have the 306 back, and £350 in our skyrocket, (enough for a Porsche 911) but literally no idea as whether there were hidden irreversible impact-related nasties.


Confusing, too, was that nobody could tell us where the bloody thing actually was. COPART had been mentioned, but surely they couldn't actually scrap it until we said yes, could they? Could they?


At what felt like the last minute, it came to light that the car was actually at a bodywork repair place in Ipswich. To avoid any risk of it being spirited away, we dropped everything and rushed to Martlesham Heath.




It was sitting cheek by jowl with what can only be described as The Doomed. Burnt, mangled, in some cases unrecognisable. The 306 looked minty clean in comparison and I took delight in noticing that the gaffer tape holding the tailgate shut was actually different to the tape initially applied by the recovery truck driver.


This meant that somebody must had at least had a vague look at it. The grumpy bastard who seemed to have the most authority at the place did a lot of harrumphing and muttering that "It's had a very hard smack up the arse", but reluctantly gave up the key in exchange for a signature.


With the car still insured, taxed and MOT'd, we were clear to nurse it home to safety. It started immediately just as it ever did, though it smelt horribly of clutch which I put down to not being treated with kid gloves by anybody after it was scraped onto the flatbed.


We went straight to the neighbouring pez station (Nic never did quite make it to the pump before the unpleasantness a few weeks prior) and I darkly suggested not to put more than a tenner in. Just in case.


Stay tuned for the next, thrilling instalment.



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#2 OFFLINE   bub2006


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Posted 30 January 2016 - 09:32 PM

Hats off for the enthusiasm mate. Nice to see a lower spec motor being saved
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#3 OFFLINE   320touring


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Posted 30 January 2016 - 09:37 PM

Yay!pug 306s ftmfw!
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Read about my chod based adventures here:

#4 OFFLINE   Lacquer Peel

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 09:54 PM

The smaller engines up to 1.5 are of the TU family.


I like the look of it, you don't see many tidy phase 1 306s any more, and less base models still. Minty green and black bumpers FTW. Good luck straightening it out.

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 10:04 PM

A very readable narrative style.  Episode two anxiously awaited.

#6 OFFLINE   forddeliveryboy


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Posted 30 January 2016 - 10:08 PM

Well rescued - insurers act as if they're gods. I'm guessing the rear axle hasn't moved and the doors open and close as usual or they wouldn't have let you drive this away?


Hang onto it for another ten or fifteen years and it really will be worth agreed value insurance! Once diesels are banned from cities and all half-reliable older chod has long-gone, something like this will make even more sense.

#7 OFFLINE   Skizzer


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Posted 30 January 2016 - 10:17 PM

Well done! Heartwarming is right. This better not turn out like Bambi's mother [*spoiler alert*].
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#8 OFFLINE   fordperv


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Posted 30 January 2016 - 10:26 PM

Bless I bet the mrs is heart broken, looking at the pictures it looked like it was a loved car
Sir slidealot, knight of the roundabout

#9 OFFLINE   Cavcraft


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Posted 30 January 2016 - 10:45 PM

It's ace that you've saved it, I hope the next instalment is more good news.
"As for actually admitting to liking Corsas on a public forum: you're a bollock-brained, biscuit-eating, faux-northern, bastardy, bollocky, wank-brain"

#10 OFFLINE   Felly Magic

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 10:49 PM

I know exactly where this was taken to, as it's 2 mins from my gaff. Good luck with it mate

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#11 ONLINE   WilsonWilson


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Posted 30 January 2016 - 11:42 PM

That looks a right nice little car. Horrible colour too.
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#12 OFFLINE   dieselnutjob


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Posted 31 January 2016 - 12:12 AM

Spring 2011





Winter 2015:-




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#13 OFFLINE   purplebargeken


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Posted 31 January 2016 - 04:09 PM

Moar, moar!!!!!

#14 OFFLINE   dollywobbler


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Posted 31 January 2016 - 04:50 PM

This thread gains much approval. Pre facelift gains it even more.

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#15 OFFLINE   RoadworkUK


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Posted 31 January 2016 - 08:24 PM

Moar?! Coming right up!




So, having planted his Corsa into the posterior of our 306, Mr Company Car was no doubt put in a brand new courtesy whip until such a time as his usual steed arrived, all mended and freshly polished, back on his driveway.


Meanwhile Nicola was all grumpy and in the miserable position that her beloved Peugeot had been involuntarily restyled and awarded Category-C status, and as a couple we were resigned to car-sharing; not convenient when our working hours don't mesh.


If I could, I needed to get the 306 back on the road quicker than possible.




So, immediately after rescuing the Pug and locking it in our garage, we went to Brighton for our annual Christmas Shopping extravaganza.


Over many excellent pints at The North Laine, a plan was hatched which resulted in Nicola booking the 306 in for a post-repair inspection at the place which has MOT'd it for the last ten years on Tuesday week. This meant that, after getting home I'd have four days of 9-5 and then a weekend of tinkering to spend getting the Peugeot fit for the road.


Delighted to see me doing some hard work, my Dad granted me the use of his comfortable garage and workshop. His 540i was kicked out and the 306 installed for strip-down and inspection. The survival of the car would hinge on whether the boot floor was bent.




It's here that I confess to my having probably contributed to the write-off decision being made. The reason for the gaffer-tape all over the rear end was that the tailgate couldn't be made to shut post-impact. A bodyshop estimator or loss adjuster would probably leap to the conclusion that bodyshell distortion was to blame, but I knew something else. Something far more silly.


Several weeks before I had decided that the tailgate had fallen upon my bonce once too many times thanks to tired struts, so I sourced a new pair from work. The replacement items, from a C-Class Coupe were an exact fit, but were set up to handle far greater weight. The result was a very, very power assisted tailgate with a convenient built-in catapult. It wouldn't take much miss-alignment to prevent it from closing at all.




Once the bumper was off, very, very simple on the XN, I could see the full extent of the damage. The valance (can't think of a better word for it) had been pushed in about seven inches and the slam panel below the bootlid had been twisted through about 15 deg. I would have to try and untwist it in a manner that opposed the direction of impact. Delightfully, the boot floor was 100% unmangled. Not just that but it was also in unnaturally good condition.




The fact that this meant I was looking at what was essentially a cosmetic repair put me in a really good mood, so I went in for a celebratory cup of tea before continuing.


What followed was my first attempt at using a hydraulic ram and I rather enjoyed it. I braced it against the subframe using angle iron and gently began to nudge the valance back in the right direction. All kinds of positive-sounding noises occurred and, little by little, it began to regain some of its original shape.




I soon learnt to leave the metal under pressure for a little while otherwise it would spring back to its dented state. I was lucky, too, that the nearside was largely unfucked so I had a decent point of reference.


When I emerged from underneath I could see that the slam panel had rotated enough to be almost symmetrical again. I spent the next hour or so playing around with the tailgate, adjusting the lock striker and fiddling with the hinges, until finally it agreed to do what I wanted to do, namely stay shut and be willing to repeat this willingness to comply for several cycles. This was sufficient cause for celebration for me to open and consume a Toblerone.




Now it was time to get that dent out of the slam panel, access to which was rather limited from the inside. I wistfully attempted to knock it out with a drift through the little access holes orifices there were, but succeeded only in stretching the metal. I was quite impressed, though, by how thick and tough the metal seemed to be.


Accepting that I'd be making a mess, I broke out the slide hammer.




I drilled holes where I thought prudent and then attempted to pull the dent out bit by bit from the outside in. After a session of banging and crashing that probably sent most of the residents of Frinton-On-Sea panicking that they'd been plunged back into the war, I ended up with something that I thought I'd be able to hide under filler. I used a spinning wire brush and "prepped" the surface for application of gob.




By way of excusing myself from the crudeness of the outcome of this enterprise, I should say that this was intended as a "get the car back on the road" repair, rather than a "nobody would believe it ever happened" repair solution. I applied layer upon layer of P38, then ran out of that and went on to stopping filler, sanding and reworking as I went. This process finished Sunday off and recommenced on Monday morning.




Meanwhile I had repaired the rear bumper through the simple expedient of "putting some glue on it". I'm pretty sure a body coloured item would have burst into a challenging thousand piece 3D jigsaw, but all this took was some glue to an inner seam and a replacement number plate.




Even before I refitted the bumper I knew only too well that there was still a sizeable hollow where not enough material had been added, but it was surely enough of a repair to show that progress was being made. The decision to leave it in primer was made partially to show that all remaining work was a matter of cosmetics only. I was actually really pleased how flat and true to the original shape I had got the slam panel to be.


Plus, I kind of like how it looks with a kind of tramp stamp above its arse.




The day after all this tomfoolery the Pug attended its booked inspection where it was decreed that "there's nothing wrong with it, mate". We then spent some of the write off money on a new brake caliper (the n/s/f had been sticking for ages) and a tyre, and spent some more on an exceedingly good Chicken Shashlik later that evening.


Write off? Not on my watch. Nice try, Vauxhall. 3/10, could do better.


Part three to come when the weather turns less shitty, no doubt with boasting about the concours* quality finished product. Thanks for reading.

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#16 OFFLINE   carlo


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Posted 31 January 2016 - 08:43 PM

What a nice story.  I wish Mrs_Carlo would show that much affection for the cars she drives, or even me for that matter.

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#17 OFFLINE   Felly Magic

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Posted 31 January 2016 - 09:28 PM

Plastic Corse-it-not 0 Povvo Pugrat 1 :)

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#18 OFFLINE   mrbenn


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Posted 31 January 2016 - 09:32 PM

Nice to see it isn't just me that gets hopelessly attached to cars.....


Good work!

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#19 OFFLINE   Sudsprint


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Posted 31 January 2016 - 09:32 PM



And the moral to this story is that you don't kick sand in a 306s arse

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Posted 31 January 2016 - 11:02 PM

Excellent, it seems to have stood up to it well.


Hopefully the Corsa has been cubed.

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#21 OFFLINE   andrew e

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Posted 31 January 2016 - 11:04 PM

Great stuff!
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#22 ONLINE   WilsonWilson


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Posted 31 January 2016 - 11:17 PM

It's good when people fix stuff. It makes People feel good reading about people fixing stuff.

Keep up the endeavour.
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#23 ONLINE   Jon


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Posted 01 February 2016 - 03:27 AM

Fantastic result so far! Much as I condone an excellent Chicken Shashlik as the next man (though admittedly I'd have gone for lamb instead), I hope there's some funds left in the pot to get a proper font rear number plate re-instated. 


Actually, that really sounds like I'm belittling your efforts but it's from a more pedantic point of view, as it seems I really care about these things. Not having seen an XN spec Peugeot in quite a long time, it's great to see one so well looked after in such a jolly colour. Sadly my dad opted for his 106 XND in cherry red, by far the dullest of the XN standard shades.

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#24 OFFLINE   Twiggy


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Posted 01 February 2016 - 09:48 AM

Brilliant !

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#25 OFFLINE   cms206



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Posted 01 February 2016 - 10:10 AM

The though that someone is going to write off the Council Estate is one of my biggest fears on the roads.

Fixing your wife's only car ever hits all of the feels - good effort Earl.

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#26 OFFLINE   outlaw118


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Posted 01 February 2016 - 11:11 AM

Nice work Chuff, as discussed, Stepdorter_Outlaw has a 306 meridian, (ex sporteh-shite) and it's a proper darling. It clonks, rattles, pisses oil (they all do that Sir) and the bidet doesn't work.


But not once, even when running on 2.5 did it fail to proceed.


I've spent many a pleasurable* hour under it, and only wish I had the arsedness to spend more.




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#27 OFFLINE   Aston Martin

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Posted 01 February 2016 - 12:28 PM

Fantastic, how much of the £350 have you spent and how much will the Cat C affect insurance etc?

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#28 OFFLINE   shumarialto


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Posted 01 February 2016 - 12:43 PM

Good work, lovely wee car. How clean is that boot floor for the year  :-D

#29 OFFLINE   Spottedlaurel


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Posted 01 February 2016 - 02:21 PM

Inspirational stuff!


I’m also interested in how you get on with the admin side of things. Curious to know what your insurers say, but I believe you won’t have to go through the VIC process at least?


I need to do similar with my Camry estate.

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#30 OFFLINE   trigger


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Posted 01 February 2016 - 02:35 PM

Well done Chris, It's always enjoyable watching people fix stuff. I had a 306 bummed exactly the same way on the Copdock Roundabout about 11 years ago leaving the same dent in the rear panel, I think i got about £500 back from the insurance company and just drove it about damaged!

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