This year’s inaugural Footman James Show us your Shed competition revealed a treasure trove of great spaces – where classic motoring enthusiasts indulge their automotive passion.
We had submissions of all shapes and sizes, but one entry that caught the judges’ eye was Aidan Gribbin’s. As first glance they may not appear to be much going on, but the longer your eyes linger the more you see. From the trinkets, memorabilia and tickets from events and Grand Prix visits to the model aeroplanes and helicopters hanging from the ceiling. However, historic motoring fans will quickly recognise the vehicle in pride of place.
“The workshop has been the build site of a good number of cars over the years, and the latest project, a Jaguar C -type replica, is in full swing,’ explains Aidan. “I didn't want anything too ‘standard’, and something that I could add my own touch to. It is very much a replica, as everything pretty much is Jaguar. Some people would say that it's just a kit car, which in this case boils down to the chassis, body, fuel tank, radiator and loom, but the other bits are Jaguar XJ6, Mk2, etc.”
2021 is the 70th anniversary of the C-type’s famous victory at the 24 hours of Le Mans, Jaguar’s first victory at Circuit de la Sarthe. Driven by Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead the car smashed every standing speed and distance record for the race and crossed the line nine laps ahead of the second place Talbot-Lago.
It’s obvious that Aidan’s homage is a being given a lot of love “I am working really hard on making it unique but also very period. I don't do ‘standard’, but I'll not sway too far from the original theme. I've built my own ally dashboard, battery box, interior switch and a lot of the smaller items.”
Aidan is quick to point out that the picture he originally sent is how the workshop usually looks, and that it wasn’t spruced up for the submission. “It's my second home and actually the focal point for many social events for our neighbourhood community. It’s heated, thanks to a small log stove, and there are usually ‘beverages’ available, which would explain why there’s normally a visitor or two appearing while I'm trying to work.”
It’s clear the space isn’t just about cars, and a selection of tools also features. “The lathe is used not just for wooden bowls but for everything from a brass shim to a polishing mop for my cam covers. The now weathered wooden floor is from my dining room, the bandsaw was a present from an old mate and the map on the ceiling is from my days sailing around British Columbia,” says Aidan. “I spend a lot of time in here producing prototypes for my bike light business and, basically, I’ll repair anything that needs repairing.”
The FJ Show us your Shed project wanted to acknowledge the modern ‘shed’ as a place to relax and recharge, or even just practice mindfulness, and the value of Aidan’s workshop as an enabler of positive mental health is obvious. “Although I'm not a fanatical collector of any one thing or an avid hobbyist of a particular thing, my slightly disheveled shed has kept me sane for many years. The space has helped me through being a single parent, has given me countless hours of ‘therapy’ from parenting, work stress and general life strife and I also get to show other people how to do something or other. It is only my workshop but, for me, it's a life saver.”
You can see all of our Show Us Your Shed entries here.