In celebration of our Show Us Your Shed competition, we're taking a closer look at the story behind one of the UK's greatest 'sheds' - Studio 434.
This tale of extreme shedding began with an enterprising ex-naval apprentice who, while working as a salesman for a tobacco company in the 1960’s, had a life changing idea. Rodger Dudding, or RD as he likes to be known, had a brainwave and invented the ticketed queue management system as found in shops and offices around the world, launching his own very British empire of equitable queuing in 1970.
A whole book could be written about the art of democratized queuing but, of more interest to fans of old cars and sheds, is the fact that as he began to make some money he bought a row of lock-up garages in Croydon. Initially somewhat unenthused by his investment, as the income began to flow from them he soon looked to buy more. He always ensured that his garages were rented out at just below the market rate and took a firm stance on any nefarious activities taking place on his premises. Soon business was booming.
Throughout the 70’s and into the 80’s and 90’s, as Rodger hoovered up swathes of what were at the time undervalued garages, he was able to indulge his passion for cars. Starting off his collection with a Morris Minor, he soon added to it with 1968 Jensen Interceptor FF and from there, much like his portfolio of garages, his collection began to grow.
By the early 2000’s, RD had amassed some 14,000 lock-ups, and a collection of 420 cars! As a collector with a self-professed love of all things automobile, the range and depth of RD’s enthusiasm can be seen in the eclectic mix of machines he has curated. The Morris Minor remains, as does the Jensen, but alongside them runs a veritable “spotters guide” to cars both rare and familiar. Austin 7’s sit alongside Ford Capri’s, and Aston Martins of all eras share space with Iso Rivoltas and even a Hispano Suiza.
Fans of 80’s luxury supercars need look no further, as RD has cornered the market with what is considered to be the world’s largest collection of Aston Martin Lagonda saloons. If these are a rare sight on the roads, it might well be because 16 of them form their own super league of 80’s wedge perfection.
In a bid to formalise the collection, his automobilia and the maintenance of both, RD launched Studio 434 in Potters Bar. With over 40,000sq feet of space for his cars, an infinity cove for photography and space to entertain, what was once RD’s private collection has now become a bit of a mecca for enthusiasts. Open to the public for viewings, events and more, RD himself is often on site and lends his enthusiasm and knowledge to the tours with facts and anecdotes about everything from pedal cars to the Late Princess Diana’s Audi 80 Cabriolet.
You can peruse the delights of Studio 434, starting here and read more about RD's exploits.
Have you entered our Show Us Your Shed competition yet? You could be in with a chance of winning a one-of-a-kind trophy! Find out more who won here.