Charlie Johnson's Real World Dream Barn

General Bunk The Barn
Charlie Johnson of Retro & Classic Cars fame takes some time out to pen a Real World Dream Barn for PetrolBlog. It's a bit good.

Another Real World Dream Barn and I'm delighted to say that it's the turn of none other than Charlie Johnson of Retro & Classic Cars fame. If you're into old cars, I suggest you take a look at his site, but not before you've checked out the ten cars that will be fighting for space in his barn. It's a rather eclectic mix. Nice one, Charlie.

It’s taken me a long time to gather these thoughts. And thoughts, even when published, may leave a certain amount of uncertainly in one's mind once they're live on PetrolBlog. The Real World Dream Barn involves a lot of thought, or so it would seem to me. Followers of my twitter feed will know that I have a habit of going through a number of cars throughout a day. Why? Well, once I’m distracted by something else that appeals, the first car mentioned is shoved to the back.

So onto the list itself and I would like to say that these are ten cars that I would have in an instant should £300K make its way to me. Don’t be too surprised if I pop a few tweets MajorGav’s way once revealed to all though.

MGB GT Costello V8 - £2,616.31 (1972), £29,145.69 (2012, based on inflation!)

150bhp 200lb ft torque

MGB GT Costello V8

Every list needs a V8, that’s for sure. Ken Costello was renowned for his engineering projects during the 1970s and this is no exception. Costello got hold of the Rover 3.5 V8 (of Buick origin) and improved upon the performance and balance making the engine somewhat better than the final product by British Leyland. The characteristic of the V8 was punchier and built to a superior quality. The ultimate form of the MGB GT? You bet.

Jaguar XJS Lister Le Mans £100K ish (1990), £22,000 (2012)


Jaguar XJS Lister Le Mans

I’ve always been into Jaguars; I think it harps back to when I first watched The Italian Job as a kid. No, not the part where the E-type is pushed off the cliff. The part where there is three classics, including the Lamborghini Muira, two Jaguar E-types and the Aston Martin DB4 Volante are seen driving on the sweeping Italian roads. Anyway, back to the Lister. Celebrated for its win back in the 1980s, this was one of the most capable yet discrete supercars during its period. For that reason alone, it wins my heart.

Rover Mini Sprite £6,995 (launch), £1,700 (2012)


Rover Mini Sprite

I haven’t had my Mini that long, just over eight months to be precise. I’ve taken her everywhere, including Brooklands, the heart of racing. Sure, it doesn’t have many mod cons but it was never about that. She oozes character, plentiful hours of fun on a stretch on A and B roads and is a joy to work on when I’m not f-ing or blinding. You can keep your Mini Cooper Sport, or Cooper S. I’m happy with my flawed Rover gem.

Bristol 411 S5 £8,793 (launch), £23,000 (2012)

264bhp 335lb/ft torque

Bristol 411 S5

Bristol is a company stuck in its own ways, and much liked by the eccentric enthusiast. I for one, admire its madness for producing Chrysler V8 powered country munchers while other companies felt the need to adjust. With many Bristols it is how you get there, not when you get there making this one of most understated and prettiest ways to travel.

MG ZT 260 V8 £32,750 (launch), £8,000 (2012)

MG ZT 260 V8

This to me is the modern Rover SD1 3.5 Vitesse. Granted that is up for discussion, but let’s move back to the hound that is the MG ZT 260 V8. Fitted with the 4.6l V8 out of a Mustang, rear-wheel-drive and one of the best chassis on offer, making it a must. Best of all, for those not in the know it is just another ‘Rover’. You can even go sideways a lot...

Rolls Royce Silver Shadow Corniche £11,566 (launch), £19,995 (2012)

215bhp 325lb/ft torque

Rolls Royce Corniche

The Corniche and Mulliner Park Ward are very much old money and none the worse for it. While many lust for the luxury from the new Phantom and Maybach, the character and old gentleman manor has always been my preference. You see, driving around in this wearing tweed is merely the norm. The jaunts to the petrol station might cost an arm and a leg, but that goes out significance when you’re heading to the nearest hotel for champers and a seven course meal.

Ford Mustang Mach 1 351 $3,500 (estimated), $25,000 (2012)


1972 Ford Mustang Mach 1

It couldn’t be a list without a muscle car. Back in my teens I spent hours watching cheesy films from the '70s, '80s and '90s, one of which included the original Gone in 60 Seconds featuring a 1972 Ford Mustang Mach 1 known as ‘Eleanor’ driven by Insurance investigator Maindrian Pace. The film features an epic chase lasting over six minutes long, seeing him change the Mustang twice throughout Long Beach as he tries to get away from the Police. That sold me, I’ve wanted one since.

Ford Escort Mk1 Mexico £2,978 (launch), £15,000-£25,000 (2012)


Ford Escort MK1 Mexico

The Ford Escort Mexico: Doesn’t need a lot of explaining, or justifying. It won the London to Mexico World Cup Rally in 1970 and saw the birth of the Mk1 Mexico you see above. One of the most iconic Fords to surface this earth that is worth every penny.

Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera Sport Coupe £23,366 (launch), £18,995 (2012)

231bhp 209lb/ft

Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera Sport Coupé

German Engineering at its finest. With the signature whale tale, rear-wheel-drive and confidence of a 1980s stripper, it makes for a composed all rounder that could be used daily.

Caterham 7 R300 Superlight £25,000 (2009 price), £21,995 (2012)

175bhp 139lb/ft torque

Caterham R300 Superlight

Much like the Mini, the Caterham is the purest form of having fun. Having been in a friend's Caterham 7 Roadsport, I can say it’s all you need. Perfect for morning blasts, driving to trackdays and not too expensive. Who needs traction control?

If my sums are correct, that should leave some money for some fuel to take one out for a hoon for some tunnel running. Anyone else in?

MGB image courtesy of; Jaguar image courtesy of 4star Classics; Mini and Escort courtesy of Charlie; Bristol image courtesy of for sale ad; Mustang courtesy of Anetode; Porsche courtesy of for sale ad