It’s time for the penultimate Real World Dream Barn of 2012 and this one is courtesy of a good friend of PetrolBlog, Peter Counsell. You can see from his list that he’s very much at home here, with the pair of Fiats worthy of a special mention. Follow Peter on twitter @CounsellPeter.
Each reader’s Real World Dream Barn is different and each is a reflection of the influences that are on us from an early age. Look through this and you’ll see the echoes of TV and film, parents and toy cars. I’m 45, so please rebase your timelines accordingly. As others have commented, you think this is going to be easy. Initially, I feared that I wouldn’t be able to fill the barn. Then it became too crowded and now I have a substitute bench which is populated with vehicles that, another time, another week, could easily be in the main barn. The key point though was for each of the vehicles to have something special about them. Something that, in the same way as one’s top ten album tracks, makes you shiver very slightly when you hear or see them. Some of these, as you’ll see, I have vague experience of. Most exist only in contemplation. I am sure that, in reality, they will be a disappointment, but this is my dream and so they will all be wonderful, in their own way.
Relax the £30k criteria and the barn does not change much. Which shows either great taste or a desperate lack of ambition.
That said, when I was young, all I really wanted was a Dino 246 and a tall brunette. Neither of those is available for less than £30,000 each, but the following are.
I’m going to be quite picky on this one, because it matters what it looks like, but not necessarily how it drives. I have therefore alienated over half of the readership. Mine would probably be a 3.2 Carrera from the mid ’80s, ideally in a dark metallic colour, with no tail spoiler, and probably left hand drive, in order to kid myself that I am sophisticated and have links with Continental Europe. It being the mid ’80s, the Carrera and I will take the hovercraft to get back to England. This one would suit me. Image © Octane
Some 20 years ago, I worked for a large accountancy firm that allowed you a company car once you had reached a certain grade. Not surprisingly this was very much something to aspire to. After all we were young and unencumbered by children. To start with, one was given whatever was in the pool. I got a Rover 216GTI, which was a surprisingly good balance between fast and, mmm, comfortable. Once this came to the end of the lease, the world opened up. Provided the world had four seats and a metal roof.
Just about this time the Fiat Coupé came out and was the closest thing to a sports car available on the scheme. All the press coverage was of the Coupé and how gorgeous it looked. In yellow. My wife and I lived two doors away from a Fiat garage, which had a yellow Coupé in the showroom. We said no. After all, it was very very yellow. Shortly after we got the new company car, (Audi A4 – awful, awful snatchy brakes but first experience of air conditioning), we saw a Coupé on the road in metallic green. “Oh”, we said, “that looks fantastic. And we thought it was only available in yellow”. What might have been. Mind you, our first child arrived later that year and would not have fitted in a Fiat Coupé. He’s 6’ 1″ now and probably still wouldn’t fit. Image © Fiat
My Dad had a Jensen 541R, before I was born, so perhaps the Jensen thing was in the blood. I enjoyed many a happy afternoon watching programmes like Jason King, and those sort of ‘cultural’ influences are very significant to a young boy. Also, I wrote to Jensen, aged eight, asking for a job as a car designer and enclosing some drawings. The lovely people at Kelvin Way were very kind and wrote back, thanking me for my letter and suggesting politely that I might contact them again when I was 16. That is the sort of act that engenders deep brand loyalty. Hence, and now that Jensen is no more, the only way in which I can repay that kindness now, is to put an Interceptor in my barn, please. Image © Wikipedia
For the avoidance of doubt, not the CSL. That is lovely but rather too obvious and, indeed, expensive. No, for me the 3.0 CS would be just fine, ideally not in two-tone and with the original wheels. A friend’s mum had one and I recall vividly getting a lift home from school in it. I mean look at it now – 3.0 CS for sale – just how elegant is that?Image © Wikipedia
I find myself in a slight conundrum here. I do like the MX-5 and in particular the first versions of the MK3. But we tested one a couple of years ago and it was slightly disappointing. But I can live with that in this Dream Barn, because it looks just right. Must be the roadster and not the soft top. Highland green or dark blue or it’s not in the barn. Image © Mazda
Whilst acknowledging that a Dream Barn needn’t be balanced or practical, I feel that mine should have something that can transport the family. I have a 2003 Audi A6 at the moment. It’s huge and relaxing. Something with a bit more power would be nice, plus quattro for the occasional moist car park. Also an acknowledgement that the C5 A6 Avant is the most attractive estate car ever. Beside it, every Mercedes, BMW and later Audi estates look over-styled and clumsy. Image © PetrolBlog
My mum had a Mini 1000. It had twin fuel tanks. Great idea, but to get the second tank to kick in you had to stop and rock the car. Which was generally inconvenient, particularly on dual carriageways. So we never let the first tank get anywhere near empty. Which rather negated the purpose of the second tank. In my Dream Barn, this Cooper will be late ’60s, in good but not immaculate condition and will be used. A lot. Image © MINI
The dream barn budget does not stretch to an E-Type. But…
When I was about seven, I can recall the family entering a competition in the TV Times to win an MGB GT. The timing of the competition coincided with us going on holiday to Cornwall. On our return I was absolutely sure that we would have won and, being seven, expected that the good people at TV Times would have delivered the car to us. We travelled back from Penzance, turned the corner to our house and there was no MGB GT. In any case we hired an MGB a couple of years ago and it was just a bit like hard work. So I’ll have a GT6 please, Probably a MK3 in some funky purple or orange, man. Image © Wikipedia
A very good friend has one that he acquired for, relatively speaking, peanuts. Indeed his revolving door policy on vehicles is worth an article on its own. Such a noise. Such a blooming liability. Same goes for the car. Image © Alfa Romeo
Had one and loved it. Followed it up with an Uno Turbo. Loved that too. But I will put the Uno in the Barn as I will need a vehicle for pottering around. Also deserves a place for having the nicest non-conventional switchgear. Not only was that brave design but it actually worked as well. Spec is important. 70S – bit sparse. 70SX – unnecessary stripes and nasty wheel trims. 70SL – electric windows and manual sunroof. Perfect. Image © Fiat
And there you have it, the penultimate Real World Dream Barn of 2012. Just one more to go before the vote for the greatest Dream Barn of all time. Then we start all over again in 2013…