One of the finalists in the recent Footman James Show us your Shed competition was Jon Candy’s entry. It seriously impressed the judges with its honest approach to enjoying a collection of vehicles, and came within a whisker of winning the trophy.
Launched in March, Show Us Your Shed acknowledged the modern ‘shed’ as a place to relax and recharge, allowing people to indulge their passion, learn a new skill or even just practice mindfulness.
This unassuming garage in Somerset is a space of simple pleasures, and proof that some things take time to mature. Jon’s car and bike themed ‘shed’ is the result of 35 years of subconscious work. “I guess you could say it’s got a well-used look that’s been acquired over all those years, and it’s the result of continuous tinkering rather than a concentrated effort. It’s functional, easy to get cars and bikes in and out of, and totally unpretentious,” explains Jon. The result is a ‘shed’ that perfectly encapsulates his approach to classic vehicles of all makes and models.
As far back as Jon can remember he’s had a thing for cars and bikes, and even has evidence of a defining moment. “There’s a picture of me, at one year old, sitting with my uncle on his 1964 Honda motorbike. I think from that moment onwards I was hooked.”
Pride of place in the garage sits a 1960 Vauxhall Victor F-type Estate, a car that Jon is delighted to have kept on the road. “I think it’s one of just six left in use, and is in highly original condition,” he explains. “The previous owner bought it new, and worked for a Vauxhall dealer so received a good discount. It was off the road for almost three decades, and when I bought it came with loads of paperwork including the original sales invoice.”
Vying for attention in the double garage is a collection of classic motorbikes, all of which are in running order but remain in an honest and unrestored state. Mostly featuring British bikes, the collection includes a 1949 Sunbeam S7, a 1952 Norton International and a 1952 Excelsior Autobyk. However, interlopers like a 1936 Monet Goyen and a 1952 Zündapp are also present.”
It’s not just about cars and bikes, though, as Jon’s collection of memorabilia adorns the walls – most of it automotive. From old garage signs to oil cans, and even vintage sports equipment, the variety mirrors his attitude to classics. “My occupation for the last few years has been house clearances and dealing in collectables,” explains Jon. “This means I’ve picked up all sorts of curiosities along the way. My favourite is probably the huge Shell sign that covers most of one side of the garage.”
Over the years the garage has needed some work, and Jon’s carried out repairs and improvements himself. “My son and I have repaired and replaced the roof several times, but it’s been widened and lengthened, so it’s noticeably bigger then when we moved here. I’ve also installed an inspection pit, digging the hole myself and carting the rubble and soil to the local tip,” he said.
Jon’s philosophy to owning vehicles is only buy what you can fix and maintain yourself. "Over the years I’ve owned everything from classic hot rods to 1990’s Saabs. I’d rather be driving 50mph in an older car than going faster in something modern, but for me a classic has to be aesthetically pleasing – I have to love how it looks.”
A big thank you to Jon for his entry to Show Us Your Shed and his time!