How would you like an old barn, in a quiet rural setting, where you and a few friends can store the cars that are important to you and generally chill out? We thought so.
Last year’s Show us your Shed project uncovered some amazing spaces - places where classic enthusiasts like to spend time and store the vehicles they love. One of the most intriguing pictures submitted as part of the competition was supplied by Ben Notman.
“We’ve been in the area for about 10 years, but in the current building for about seven,” says Ben. “For me it’s about tranquillity - I love being anywhere with an engine. Our ’shed’ is shared between five of us, and it’s great just going round tinkering or even cleaning the car.”
Like many people who live in a busy city garage space can be an issue and, when Ben found the car of his teenage dreams for sale, a Clio Renault Sport V6 Phase 1, he needed a storage solution. “I’m in the centre of Edinburgh and, when I bought the car about 10 years ago, I realised that it wasn’t going to be straightforward to keep it round the corner. A friend of mind was also looking for somewhere to store his S2 Lotus Elise, so we teamed up."
“We found somewhere about 30 minutes from the city, in a quiet country location, and because we could split the rent it worked out quite reasonable. Over the next few years we had more people join our ‘club’, and had to move a few times when the owners of buildings upped the rent, or wanted to refurb.”
Today this collective of classic enthusiasts is settled and makes the most of its hideaway. “At the moment we have the Clio and now a 911, but there’s also an Austin Mini Copper undergoing renovation, a BMW café racer motorbike and even a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) laid up.”
The ‘shed’ itself is an old agricultural barn, and has plenty of character. “It’s watertight, so we know we can leave things without damp being an issue, and there’s electricity so we can keep batteries on charge. The cobbled floor looks nice, but isn’t the easiest to live with if you’ve got wheels to remove, and there’s no running water which would make washing them easier. However, we really can’t complain as it’s great value for what we get and all in a lovely setting.”
The group don’t arrange to be there at the same time but use the space as needed. “It is an unusual mix of kit, but everyone is proud of their toys and wanting to look after them means sharing the space makes total sense. It’s generally quiet in the winter months, but we’re all looking forward to better weather when we can get them out and play," explains Ben.