Darren Leslie’s Real World Dream Barn

It’s amazing what a good old chinwag can do. The other night I spent a good couple of hours on the phone to Darren, catching up on life’s little trifles. Only I can’t remember much about life as the conversation seemed to centre on an orange MK2 Ford Capri, Audis, Citroëns and a few more Ford Capris. I’m guessing Darren only remembers the car bits too as the next morning I received Darren’s Real World Dream Barn. Knowing Darren as I do, there are only a few surprises in here. But it doesn’t disguise the fact that this is a cracker.

Over to you, Darren.

As many of you have found out, compiling a list for a Real World Dream Barn is pretty difficult. For a given day / mood, the list could change slightly, or even completely. So, for my selection, I’ve tried to select the cars that come up on my ever changing list the most often.

Initially, I thought about having a Dream Barn for all occasions. This seems to have worked out fairly well, although my definition of all occasions is probably somewhat different to many others. And it also seems as though I’m going through a practical stage in my life, which looks like it’s partially reflected in my choices. So without further ado…

Range Rover Mk1 2-door

Range Rover Mk1 2-door

It’s in many other Real World Dream Barns and it’s easy to see why. There’s a purity and simplicity of design in the original which has been lost along the way, leading to today’s bling-fest versions. A story I’ve heard is that the engineers slapped on some flat aluminium panels on the prototype before asking an eminent stylist to produce something suitable. He came back and said they should leave it as it was. Image © Land Rover.

Audi quattro

Audi quattro

I used to own one. A slightly ropey white 10v from 1981, complete with analogue dials. We took it for a driving holiday through Europe and it never missed a beat. That wonderful 5-cylinder engine was a delight, as was waiting for the turbo a spool up before sending you up the road at a rapid rate.

After I sold it, I didn’t particularly want another one, but a few years on, I do. A Sport quattro is way out of budget, but a nice late 20v would do the job nicely. Image © Audi.

Nissan Elgrand (E50)

Nissan Elgrand (E50)

It looks weird. But then you get used to it. Then you look at the fact they can come with 4wd, a 3.2-litre diesel 4-pot engine complete with automatic ’box and enough practicality to suit the majority of people and they start to appeal (well, to me anyway). Being Japanese market only, they are a rare sight and can only be obtained via import which may cause issues down the line. Image © Wikipedia.

Bentley Turbo R

Bentley Turbo R

Buckingham Palace on wheels is how these cars are generally described. Well, if Buck House could do 155mph, it might be an accurate description. Road presence doesn’t come any bigger, and the inside is equally impressive, with the usual wood and leather all over the place. You also have a slice of history in the evolution of the 6.75-litre V8 Bentley have been producing since the ’60s. I could have listed an Arnarge, but there’s something about a well-kept Turbo R that appeals. Now, out of my way peasants…. Image © Bentley.

Mercedes Unimog

Mercedes Unimog

I don’t know much about them, but I do know I want one. Badly. These are the ultimate do-anything, go-anywhere machines and are available in an array of styles to suit the many needs of their owners. I’d have a short wheelbase with pickup style body, although it would have to be a big old barn to fit it in. Image © Mercedes.

Nissan Skyline GTR (R32)

Nissan Skyline GTR (R32)

The original ‘Godzilla’ in super nutter modified form, but an original unmolested R32 would be my choice. You don’t really see any of these about, no doubt the R33 which commands a similar price these days has something to do with it. The R32 just looks right though, and since it’s generally recognised that the 2.6-litre straight-six twin-turbo engine is unstressed in basic tune, it should go on forever mechanically. Image © Nissan.

Mitsubishi Dangan ZZ4

Mitsubishi Dangan ZZ4

Everybody should love the idea of a Kei car. The Kei class car was designed to fit in the Japanese tax and insurance regulations where as part of the requirements, you have to prove you have a parking space. Part of the regulations state that the engine was no bigger than 660cc, developed no more than 63bhp and the vehicle measured a maximum of 3.4m x 1.48m. Most of the cars were basic transportation devices, until in the eighties, when a new niche was started by throwing as much technology at these cars as possible. Turbocharging, supercharging, 4-wheel drive, 4-wheel steering, engine development closely resembling that of motorbikes. These were very exciting times for this class. I love them all, and even considered buying one new many years ago. Image © Tennen-Gas.

Citroën SM

Citroën SM

I’m not quite sure why Citroën thought that buying Maserati was good business sense, but thank god they did. The result of Citroën’s glorious design and a wonderful Maserati V6, the SM can be described as futuristic even these days. I’m not going to waffle on, but instead ask you to spend a little time looking at the picture instead. Image © Citroën.

VW Transporter Kombi

VW Transporter Kombi

Back to something practical again. In Kombi spec, with five seats to carry the family in, with enough room in the back for all manner of kids’ stuff. The great thing with the VW, is that being popular means there’s also lots of bits you can add. Roof racks, cycle racks, you name it. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the ultimate family vehicle. I’d be tempted by a fairly basic spec, with standard black bumpers and mirrors and steel wheels. The interior would receive more attention, with an uprated stereo and perhaps a fancy sunroof. However, it’s a family car and will be well used, so there’s no point going over the top. I’d probably opt for the middle range engine with 114PS to keep it reasonably reliable. Image © VW.

Morgan 3 Wheeler

Morgan 3 Wheeler

Every now and again, you need to have fun. A good laugh for when the world is getting you down, and I don’t believe that there’s any better way on wheels than the Morgan. Even playing with the car creator puts a big smile on your face. There’s not much to the 3 Wheeler. A 2-litre V Twin out front powering the rear wheel, some seats and a steering wheel and that’s pretty much it. As usual with Morgan, it’s beautifully put together and you can add all sorts of amusing (or not, depending on your taste) WWII inspired graphics. Tally ho! Image © Morgan.

For more words from Darren, check out his articles on PetrolBlog here.

Plus get in touch with your own Real World Dream Barn.

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ABOUT AUTHOR
Darren Leslie
Having an Engineering-esque background, Darren is just as happy looking at technical stuff as telling the whole world that the latest and greatest from all manufacturers is to ‘blingy’ and laden with pointless gadgets. Conservative and practical are the watch words occasionally used. To enforce the point, he is currently forcing his family into using a low spec VW Sharan and has now developed a strange fascination for all things MPV-ish.

6 comments

  1. February 26, 2013
    Antony Ingram (@antonyingram)

    Love the Elgrand, want one myself. And the Dangan. To clarify though, kei-cars are for when you *don’t* have a parking space – you have to prove you have one to be allowed to buy anything bigger!

    Reply
    • February 27, 2013
      darrenvleslie

      The Elgrand is a bit left field and is very Japanese, but all the better for it.
      Regarding the Kei class, thanks for the clarification. Knew it had something to do with parking spaces….

      Reply
  2. February 26, 2013
    Simon Hingston

    Glad to see the Unimog making another appearance 🙂

    Reply
    • February 27, 2013
      darrenvleslie

      They are impressive, no doubt about it. Such a versatile machine.

      Reply
  3. February 26, 2013
    Mart Dawson

    Audi Quattro does it for me. Still a gorgeous looking car.

    Reply
  4. February 27, 2013
    Dogknob1

    Quite a few wants in this barn and nothing I’d kick out! Not sure how often the Elgrand would be used though? The Range Rover is a given in any barn I think & perhaps should be mandatory? Always liked the bone stock R32’s and even in that colour. Quattro,Bentley,UniMog yes please BRG for the Bentley. The Morgan is fantastic but not sure I like the gaudy colour schemes everyone’s putting on them! I’d like an Oxford Blue on steel wheels with a slim chrome hubcap thanks. Desperate for a go in a Kie car & the Mitzi Dagnamit looks spot on for city japes. Yellow tint to the lights on the SM is also another barn mandatory. Now I have a Vw T5 & it does do a bit of family work as well as lots of real work but mine have the 130bhp 2.5 5cylinder TD so I can drive along pretending I’m in a Quattro

    Reply

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