Addicted to Pug

- Ben Sawyer

As a new subscriber to evo I was incredibly excited to have a reallife magazine arrive through my letterbox. All of the trademark evo staples made me happy: beautiful photos, great-looking roads and words so well formulated I knew exactly how disappoint­ed I’d be if I bought a Golf R ‘20 years’.

But it was Jethro’s column on his addiction to used-car classified­s that really got me. As a kid I would always read my dad’s copies of Classic &

Sports Car or Practical Classics, Retro Cars, Autocar and more. My first port of call in every magazine was the back pages, to see what rusty heap of Italian misery my pocket money or Dad’s bank account would allow.

I ached for a Lancia Thema 8.32 or a Fiat 124 Coupé. Now, as these and all other interestin­g cars built before 2001 reach prices I may never be able to afford, I’ve decided to get ahead of the curve and buy an investment while it’s still relatively cheap.

Like Jethro, I’d sit next to my wife for hours while she showed me what puppy we should have and I looked through the usual online portals to see what car I could buy that would tick as many boxes as possible: fun, good-looking, relatively interestin­g, and the potential to look after me better than my savings account does. For the longest time it was going to be a Panda 100HP, but decent ones are getting expensive and hard to find. I’ve had several Alfas, including a GTV and a Twin Spark 156, but there is no such thing as a cheap, headache-free Alfa.

Then, after much searching, I finally found it: a Peugeot 306 Rallye with bags of history, funky Rallye stickers and enough chassis rot to keep me occupied for ages. And I am absolutely smitten. My addiction reached a new high and paid off.

I just hope I can stay interested for long enough that Lancia Themas don’t suddenly become worth £3.5k and I have to explain to my wife why the French Bulldog is going to have to wait.

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