It must be summer now because Shed's hooter is constantly running and his eyes are the colour of hot coals. Time, surely, to peer blinkingly at the convertible market with a view to getting that hay fever nicely ramped up to defcon one level.
Enter stage right, jauntily bereted and comedy moustache all a-bristle, this bien charmant Peugeot 205 CJ. Peugeot made these cheeky little chaps between 1986 and 1994. Powered by the petrol 1.4 motor, the CJ was aimed at folk who didn't need the performance of the injected 1.6 CTI, the open top version of the 205 GTI, but who did fancy the Pininfarina CTI look but with lower insurance and running costs.
The PH ad bot may need a touch of WD40 as it has understated the CJ's power at 60hp. In fact the 8-valve carburetted 1.4 had 80hp at 5800rpm and 80lb ft at 2800rpm and is a rather lovely thing, not as spritely as the CTI's Bosch LE2-injected 105hp 1.6 obviously, but a useful step up in power and torque over the smaller-engined 205s. You could actually get the CJ with a 1.4i motor, but according to Shed's Branston-stained specs folder the Jetronic injected version was slightly less powerful than the carb'd one at 75hp, with only a tadge more torque, 81lb ft at a less accessible 3400rpm.
Anyway, engine specs aside, the straight 830kg CJ underpinned by the sweet and supple 205 chassis (albeit with less rigidity) is bang-on for everyday use and even with the non-injected 1.4 will happily give you a 100mph-plus breeze in your barnet on a balmy day.
205 convertible prices are nothing short of crazy at the moment. 'Proper' CTI convertibles seem to start at £4000 and go up to £10,000 for minters. Some trade sellers are trying to sneak CJs onto the coattails of this CTI surge and are asking anything up to £6k for them. Private sellers are seemingly much more realistic in their expectations, as this apparently clean and solid £1450 car indicates. Shed has found this same car on sale elsewhere at £1950, so he's hoping that the £1450 PH price is correct and not a rubber worm for Shed-fanciers to bite disappointingly on.
What's to go wrong? Well, it's a 30 year old French car, so have a guess. As the vendor says, it's got a long MOT in place. The absence of body rust anywhere on the record lends credence to his claim that it's been garaged and only driven on dry days. Rust has been mentioned, but only in reference to the brake pipes, and that's been coming up in the advisories section since 2012 so make your own call on that.
Generically, blue smoke from a 205 exhaust pipe probably means worn valve stem seals. 205 shocks are known to leak and fail. Poor starting may be down to a dodgy fuel pump relay. Door handles seize up. CJ specifically, the hoods often end up looking a bit like a tramp's hat, but this one is pleasingly tight and unrumpled. You'll see all sorts of wheels on these too. Shed isn't 100% convinced that the CJ ever had those pepperpots from standard but they give the car a faux-GTI look and that is never a bad thing.
The owner doesn't include pics of the original (and repaired) denim seats, which is a pity as it might suggest that the repair operation wasn't hugely successful, but if seat originality isn't an issue for you then it's all gravy. Plus it sounds like there's a set of 106 seats being thrown into the deal, or being made available at least.
With the number of CJs registered for use on UK roads down to under 120 and still dropping, an investment in a solid one could be a shrewd move. Classic insurance, £160 a year road tax and all the Gallic street cred you could ever want. Even if you're only generally interested in golden-age Peugeots and aren't too fussed about the model, a visit to Derbyshire would surely be worth the cost of a train ticket. If you do take the plunge, just remember to stuff all the door pockets with Kleenex before you drop the top. That's good motoring advice for any young male even outside the hay fever season.