Tom’s Real World Dream Barn

I’m delighted to say we’ve received another Real World Dream Barn. This time it’s the turn of Tom Cornish, aka @DrRectalExam on twitter. Don’t let his twitter name put you off, as is demonstrated by his dream list, he clearly knows a thing or two about cars and is well worth a follow. Over to Tom…

The Real World Dream barn is quite a challenge, but not one you’d moan about having. The £30k budget forces you neglect newer exotics, but the big upside is you won’t be hemorrhaging your money to depreciation. In fact it’s more than likely that you’ll find yourself making money on the cars here, not that you’d want to sell them. I’ve tried to approach this with logic, having cars I’d actually see myself using regularly.

Audi RS4 B7 Avant

Audi RS4 B7 Avant

The RS2 Avant has featured twice in Dream Barns, but I’m choosing to eschew the lovely sounding 5-cylinder for the thunderous V8 of the B7 RS4. The RS2 may hit 60 faster (by 0.1 second if you’re wondering) but it’s the all round ability of the B7 that appeals to me. With state of the art toys, sumptuous interior, and all-weather traction, this is a car that you could speed off to any exotic location at a moments notice. At least you could, had you not spent most of your fortune on cars. It’s supposed to be the best handling of the Audi’s RS’, and thus could probably be considered one of the best Audis ever. Personally the A2 takes that honor, but I’ll take the RS4 all the same! Most of these fine cars now sit below the £30k budget; mine will be a black Avant with the ‘Black Optic’ Pack please!

Tom’s choice of Audi RS4

Bentley Arnage T

Bentley Arnage T

If I had an unlimited budget the latest S-class or XJ might sit in this spot instead. After all, being a wealthy individual you surely need a huge saloon to waft around in. Choosing the Bentley instead is certainly no hardship. Yes there’s less technology inside, but there’s a lot more opulence to be found here, who wants a TFT speedometer anyway? Not only do you get hand made, parts bin luxury, which can’t be matched by any new car, but also a whopping 645 lb-ft of torque, which should happily see those pesky modern day diesel execs off. Add this to a classy road presence that is the envy of even new Bentleys, and you’re on to a winner. Many cars with full service history now sit beneath the £30k budget, seems like somewhat of a bargain to me.

Tom’s choice of Bentley Arnage T

BMW 330d M-Sport E90

BMW 330d M-Sport E90

Oh yes those aforementioned diesel execs. This might seem like an odd choice for a dream garage but bear with me. Imagine the situation it’s pouring down with rain, you have to take a trip round the M25 in the day, is it really worth taking a huge petrol powered beast, or a rare classic out, subsequently burning all the oil Libya produced last year simply sitting in traffic? Not really. So a practical motorway tourer has its place even in my dream world. I’m also a big fan of the E90’s styling, its taut lines really work. The 330d can also outpace the Aston Martin V8 Vantage around MIRA according to Autocar, not bad for an oil burner. I’ll take a manual in ‘drug dealer black’, best colour for BMWs in my opinion.

Tom’s choice of BMW 330d

Honda Integra Type R DC2

Honda Integra Type R DC2

The Integra Type R seems like the perfect antidote to the 1346 lb-ft of Torque I’ve managed in only three cars. The lightweight, rev happy monster is bound to provide tons of front-wheel drive fun. Could one tire of charging up to the cars 8900rpm limiter on some local back roads? Probably not, you get to hear this magical engine all the better thanks to the reduced sound deadening of the Type-R. Often touted as the best handling front-wheel drive car ever, it simply can’t be a bad idea. To my eyes the pre-facelift model has aged better, so mine will be a JDM import in white, bargains at around £5k.

Tom’s choice of Integra

Mercedes-Benz SL Silver Arrow R129

Mercedes-Benz SL Silver Arrow R129

I do love Mercedes’ and my favorites would have to be either the W124, in 500 E form, which wouldn’t be attainable in my £30k budget, or the also rare R129 SL500 / SL600 Silver Arrow. Luckily I have found one, which may be in the US, but is up for less than $30,000, which counts right? The Silver Arrow was built to commemorate the racers of the same name from the 1930s, basically your standard run out model. However with the special edition alloys, silver paint and leather interior, I think it to be the prettiest R129 of the lot. What better vehicle in which to enjoy some open top motoring on this year’s warm day.

Tom’s choice of Mercedes-Benz SL

MG Maestro 2.0 EFi

MG Maestro EFi

Every barn needs a hot hatch right? While there are many better cars out there in terms of performance, the Integra Type R somewhat diminishes the need for an out and out weapon. So the choice for me was either the Rover 200 BRM or the Maestro, and it’s the 80s Golf rival that makes the grade. I’ve long had a soft spot for Maestros, and the 2.0 EFi is one of the best, only 65 remain on Britain’s roads. Top choice would be an earlier model with digital dash, finished in a lovely period white or red. Given the fact so few are left I may have to accept what comes.

Tom’s choice of MG Maestro

Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Likewise every barn would need a Porsche, my top choices would be a 997 GT3, 930 ‘Flachbau’ or Cayman R, but with all those cars well out of my budget, I must look elsewhere for Stuttgart thrills. Luckily there’s a 996 GT3 available for a snip under that £30k budget. It’s hard to find a better track day car. Yes there are Caterhams and the like, trust me the ability to stub cigarettes out on the ground without exiting your vehicle is tempting, but the tin top wins the day.

Rover 75 2.5 V6 Connoisseur

Rover 75

Another cheap yet brilliant British addition to my barn is the Rover 75. With the value of this car at rock bottom, the number of people looking after it properly is sure to diminish. That’s especially bad for the uncommon Cowley built models, completely untouched by post BMW cost cutting. What you get on these models is a real wood dash and fantastic attention to detail everywhere, it’s impressive that they could build this car for £25k in 1999. It’s even more impressive you can purchase one for less than £1k now. I think Richard Wooleys design brilliance shines through best in the dark colours, and the smaller wing mirrors and black sills of the early models only help compliment the design further.

TVR Cerbera 4.5

TVR Cerbera 4.5

The Cerbera is only this far down the list because I decided to do it alphabetically – this is my No.1 dream car on any budget. My current car will fail to hit 60 in the time it takes to get to 100, and the TVR probably uses more fuel on over-run than my car would on a 20 mile trip. That’s not wasteful either, that’s helping create one of the best engine notes of any car, it’s up there with the F40, the LFA and TVR’s own Sagaris. Sending 414 bhp to the rear wheels in a car that weighs a mere 1100kg is mad enough, combined with TVR’s favored lack of any driver assistance whatsoever means the Cerbera won’t be an easy one to drive fast. Speed is not important though, the reason I’ve wanted this car for so long isn’t anything to do with it’s mental figures, it’s simply the occasion of this car. It looks fantastic, from any angle, just how a sports car should look, and the sound, I’ve mentioned it once before, and I’ll keep mentioning it. THE SOUND! The fact that you can obtain these wondrous vehicles for less than £30k is crazy, even crazier that some are near the £10k mark. Can I have two?

Tom’s choice of TVR Cerbera

VW Golf Mk4 R32

VW Golf Mk4 R32

The Golf rounds up the list, and it’s not going to get any more sensible either. The R32 produces an impressive 241bhp and 235 lbs/ft from it’s lovely sounding VR6 engine. Power is sent to road via a clever haldex four-wheel drive system, and the car is kept in check by a decent suspension system. The result is this Mk4 Golf brings strong performance and handling to it’s standard repertoire of game changing interior and crisp styling. There might be room for improvement though, with prices for these great cars now kicking off extremely low (around £5k) there’s room to invest some of the £30k on improvements right? So I’ll be sorting the car out with the HGP 460 turbo kit, which for a mere £11,400 will endow your R32 with a healthy 466 BHP and 464 lb/ft of torque. Useful. Of course the temptation would be to dress it as a 1.4 S and surprise a few people at the lights. Even without this, the VR6 engine should provide plenty of entertainment, it just sounds fantastic, and is a testament to what VAG’s engineers can do when they let themselves go wild, just like the W8 the Phaeton and the Veyron.

Tom’s choice of VW Golf R32

So there you are, a pretty fast list I must say, but if I’m spending £300k I may as well have the ability to travel quickly right?

The Figures:

Estimated cost: £162,000 (Plenty of money for fuel then)

Power: 3253 BHP (Most: R32 HGP 466 BHP Least: Maestro 115 BHP)

Torque: 3244 Lb-Ft (Most: Arnage T 645 Lb-Ft Least: Integra Type R: 131 Lb-Ft)

Average 0-60: 6.02 seconds (Fastest: Cerbera 4.2, Slowest: Rover 75 8.9)

Audi image courtesy of OSX, BMW, Honda and Mercedes images courtesy of respective ads, MG image courtesy of Octane, Porsche image courtesy of shanafin

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Gavin Big-Surname
The chief waffler and founder of PetrolBlog in 2010. Has a rather unhealthy obsession with cars from the 80s and 90s, and is on a one-man mission to collect the cars nobody else wants. Also likes tea and Hobnobs.


  1. January 29, 2012

    All nice choices! I do like them all, although the Honda Integra Type-R DC2 may be a bit, well, a bit chavvish for my liking (sorry if I offend). The BMW 330d is also one of my favourite small saloons made today (and indeed, ever). But why stop at the 330d? I hear the 335d has 286 horses. I would take the beautiful-looking coupé, but the saloon is a looker as well.

    • January 29, 2012

      The Integra Type-R is a car that I’ve come close to buying on a number of occasions.

      I’d imagine that my old Racing Puma and Accord Type-R would be the closest I have owned.

      I agree that Tom’s list is very good. Hard to argue against any of the choices.

      • January 30, 2012

        Its the bmw where tom hasn’t thought it through……not the 330 but take the alpina 2.0 is it the d4? !etter balance with the lighter engine,great go, responsive , looks superb in any colour than black, great handling (did I mention that?) Rare, exclusive and in the budget. Adrian c

  2. January 30, 2012
    Simon Hingston

    Excellent and interesting choices as ever. Fortunately you can re-think the Merc 500E (or E500 depending on the age) no being in budget. Charles Ironside (you can find them on Pistonheads) sell some of the best older mercs and has a gorgeous late E500 for just £12,950. Relatively high mileage at 140k but fabulous looking condition.

    P.S. Can I have the W123 280T too for fetching horse feed?

  3. February 1, 2012

    I keep looking at the Maestro on eBay, my Dad used to have one back in the day a 1.3 errr something.HL perhaps? It was the worst car he had/has ever owned but because it was so crap I loved it. When it came to PX we drove around 60 miles to pick up his ‘new’ Peugeot 405.
    Dealer: What is it you are going to PX?
    Dad: A Maestro…
    Dealer: And it made it here?
    Dad: Yes.
    Dealer: Impressive ha ha ha! (without even having seen the Maestro) I’ll give you three-hundred.
    Dad: Deal.

    As we left the Maestro we I noticed a small stream next to the dealership, and there lying on its roof was a blue Austin Maestro. Perhaps a previous PX.

    • February 1, 2012

      Ha! Great story. The Maestro is probably still there. Maybe somebody will list it as an unmolested barn find!?

  4. February 3, 2012

    Awesome list, Mr. RectalExam. And I even learnt something new. I probably should be ashamed, but a MG Maestro EFi, really? Never heard of that!

    As a true Porsche-o-phile the RS2 is the one to have for me, but I truly adore the A2 and B7 RS4 as well, great taste! If I remember correctly, I had a Sagaris on my list, or should’ve had at least.

    Biggest surprise surely was the 330d, while a great car, I guess I’m not realistic enough to put a diesel in my barn 🙂

    I prefer the 996 GT3-RS in red (wheels and striping, that is), but job well done for putting it in your barn!

  5. February 6, 2012
    Dr RectalExam (@DrRectalExam)

    @Joseph – Din’t go for the 335d because I couldn’t find any with a manual when I was looking.
    @Adrian – D3 is a great car, 330d sounds nicer though 😉
    @Simon Hingston – Surprised how cheap they are, good find. I’d be holding out for a 500E Limited though.

  6. February 6, 2012

    If your intending to buy a car for sitting in traffic jams and motorway driving all day, surely an automatic is best?

    I just converted from manual diesel (with a manual petrol turbo in the semester) to auto (DSG) diesel… it makes life so much easier!

    • February 8, 2012
      Dr RectalExam (@DrRectalExam)

      You are right, I do like the convenience of an auto, but when presented the choice between manual and auto I simply can’t refuse the former. There’s something enjoyable about changing gears that outweighs the annoyance of having to use the clutch in a traffic jam.

  7. April 14, 2012

    honda integra beautiful car


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