David Tillyer’s Real World Dream Barn

Another Real World Dream Barn, this time courtesy of automotive blogger, David Tillyer. In common with other Dream Barn entries, David claimed it was harder to select his final ten than he originally thought. His patience was rewarded with a fantastic selection though.

Last week someone asked me what my favourite movie was. I couldn’t answer them because truthfully I do not know which one of the many great films I’ve seen over the years has entertained me the most. The same thing could be said about my favourite car. That is why this post hopefully will suit me well. If I had a lottery win, I’d happily forgo the big house and fancy holidays for a secluded barn somewhere in the Norfolk countryside to house my eclectic taste in cars.

So limiting myself to just £30,000 per car has been an enjoyable challenge. It’s easy to say what you’d like should money be no object but this limit forces you to be creative and forces you to delve deeper into your love (read: obsession for me) for cars. Some of the cars in this list push the budget to its limits, others cost less than a DFS sofa.

Lotus Elise (S1 Sport 135 preferred)

Real World Dream Barn - S1 Lotus Elise

The little Lotus has always been a thing of desire for me. I live just ten miles from the factory in which they are built. In the mid ’90s my mother worked for the historic car company and in 1996, aged 12, I was lucky enough to attend the UK launch of their latest creation at Hethel. I’d recently stopped racing karts and the Elise seemed perfect in its back-to-basics execution. I promised myself I would have one when I ‘grew-up’. Sadly that day has yet to come, on the plus side I may have aged but at least I haven’t grown-up. The Sport 135 (not pictured) to me seems to be the perfect Series 1 Elise. Not overpowered and highly strung but subtly improved over the launch model. Image © David Tillyer

Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I

Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Drophead

Now I know this budget means that the better examples of this car are not available but it is such a stunning vehicle that a slightly tatty one would be fine for me. I was lucky enough to get a chauffeured lap around the Goodwood circuit this year in a Cloud I drophead and it was such a relaxing car to be in. As an added bonus, when the other half asks what car we should take to dinner, I can reply with ‘lets take the Rolls’. Doesn’t that sound good? Image © Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

1970 Dodge Challenger R/T (in white)

1970 Dodge Challenger

Starting quite young, like most petrolheads I developed a love for car chases. It was The Blues Brothers that started it all but the film that left the biggest impact on me was Vanishing Point. The star was the white 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T and the entire film revolves around the chase that ensues after the driver is caught speeding whilst trying get across America in a ludicrously short amount of time. I have to have some American muscle in my dream barn and this is by far my favourite. Image © Bull-Doser

Mercedes W124 500E

Mercedes W124 500E

I love a good Q-Car. Something that car-people recognise as being very quick but normal-folk don’t notice it. The 500E is a masterclass in this art. Subtly flared and spoilered but at a quick glance still looks like a mini-cab. The large V8 and the specialist production by Porsche further add to the desirability. The fact that they are left-hand drive only does not put me off. Image © Daimler AG

MK1 Fiat Punto GT

MK1 Fiat Punto GT

My first car was an original Punto. So was my second car. I was lucky enough at 18 to drive two examples of the 1.4 turbocharged hatch and I loved them. Again very subtle on the outside but the way it delivered its 130bhp was almost comical. It doesn’t handle as well as other hatches from the era but I have always wanted one and for that reason it has to go into my dream barn. Image © David Tillyer

Toyota Landcruiser FJ70 SWB Pick-Up

David in Toyota FJ70

In 2009 I lived in Australia for a short while. During my travels I drove a couple of FJ70s and I enjoyed their basic go-anywhere design and build. One day whilst wandering through Airlie Beach I clapped eyes on a short wheelbase FJ70 pick-up that had been lifted and fitted with big off-road tyres. It just looked so cool and mean and I was smitten. My Dream Barn has to have a 4×4 and this is the one I’d have over all of them. Image © David Tillyer

Fiat Dino and Dino Spider

Fiat Dino Coupe

I have a bit of a thing for Fiats. I have done since we had a Fiat 130 Coupé. I love both the Dino Coupé and the Spider version equally. I’d have the Spider for summer cruising and the coupé just for the way it looks. The iconic name and Ferrari-based engine further add to their appeal. Finding good ones is getting hard but then again this is a ‘dream’ garage. Image © Wikipedia

Alvis TD21

Alvis TD21 Cabrio

You can blame my Dad for this one. Aston Martin and Jaguar may have had the ’60s sports car market to themselves but in the late ’50s another British car-maker was producing some stunning cars. Unfortunately Alvis stopped making cars in 1963 long before I was born but my father was Alvis mad and has always had around five or six Alvis models in his real barn at any one time. The TD was always my favourite. The best examples are the drop-tops which are starting to command good money but some can still be bought for ‘Dream Barn’ money. Image © ChiemseeMan

Lotus Esprit Sport 300

Lotus Esprit Sport 300

Perhaps my favourite car in the barn. It’s another Norfolk-made plastic car but it is the best one by far. When I was ten, most kids had either the Ferrari F40 or Lamborghini Countach on their wall. Not me, I had a Mustard Yellow Lotus Esprit Sport 300 taking pride of place. The car was based around the successful X180 racer that Lotus had been using in the American GT series. Only a handful were produced and they were put together by a select team at the Lotus factory. Even today it is considered by most to be both the fastest and the best handling Esprit made. This for me was the original dream car. Luckily you can sometimes see them pop up for a few pennies under £30k. Image © Lotus Cars

Lotus Carlton

Lotus Carlton

Yes another Lotus badged car has made it onto my list. The Carlton is not like normal lightweight sportscars that we are used to Lotus making. Instead it’s humble beginnings are more Luton than Lotus. The Vauxhall Carlton was a fairly boring rep-mobile until GM decided to give it to Lotus who they owned at the time. Lotus massaged the engine and beefed up the bodywork to give the car quite a presence. The work done under the bonnet gave the Carlton enough power to achieve more than 170mph. At the time people were outraged and called for it to be banned. Fortunately it wasn’t and a legend was born. Image © Vauxhall

There are only two more Real World Dream Barns to appear on PetrolBlog in 2012 before the poll to find the best one. More on this soon. But if you’d like to submit your own Dream Barn for 2013, get in touch.

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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. December 8, 2012

    Absolutely fantastic dream barn bar the minor hic up in the PuntO.
    Would love the 500E

  2. December 10, 2012
    Antony Ingram (@antonyingram)

    Oddly, only the Elise and Merc really grabbed me from this list. But that’s why it’s your real world dream barn and not mine 😉

    The Fiat Dino is a lovely bit of kit but my Italian coupe lust lies with the tiny Fiat 850 Coupe, which I find captivating.

    I fear my RWDB will have to wait until 2013 now though…

  3. January 19, 2013

    The Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I is such a good reminder of automotive beauty.


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