We couldn't launch the new PetrolBlog website without a brand new Real World Dream Barn. So step forward web designer Rachel Watson with her selection of ten cars, each one costing no more than £30,000. There's something for everyone here, from a classic Volkswagen right through to a very modern and very wonderful Toyota. Good work, Rachel.
After much deliberation I've picked ten cars for my dream barn although the majority probably fall more neatly into Dream Shed, but if the remaining money can be put towards petrol I can get on with the real fun of driving them all (and probably in a couple of cases sticking the bits that fall off back on again…). I could have sat and picked over the list for weeks but no doubt I'd still find fault with it! In the end I've put together a strange bunch of vehicles which even I can't picture parked comfortably next to each other, don't judge me too harshly!
MK1 Mazda MX5
The much debated MX-5 – I would say that the MK1 is starting to lose the ‘hairdresser’ image, more and more people are catching onto these for some low cost open-top rear-wheel drive fun. I’ve had one for the last five years and what it lacks in refinement it makes up for in fun, I potter about with the roof down in the sunshine and take it to track days for some hooliganism, and so far it hasn’t missed a beat. The one to have would be the rare and slightly nutty BBR turbo reaching 68mph in 6.8 seconds.
MK1 Volkswagen Scirocco
I think it’s my age, but there’s something about late ’70s/early ’80s coupes that I love and this one comes at the top of the list. It’s based on the same platform as the MK1 Golf and shares many components, but you just don’t see half as many of them about.
BMW E30 M3
Another ’80s coupe. We have a 325i so the extra BHP would be interesting. It's a quirky beast with a strange offset to the pedals and steering wheel (certainly in the RHD version). The dash and interior are very much of the age and features a brilliant inverted fuel consumption dial - although you aren't likely to enjoy what it's telling you! In my opinion they look best in dolphin grey and it would have to sit on some BBS split rims.
Mercedes W114 saloon
Contrary to the evidence of the rest of my choices, sometimes I enjoy a more sedate drive which is just as well as these are not renowned for speed. In the summer I find it thoroughly enjoyable to potter around country lanes on a sunny day in no particular hurry with the windows wound down. I love the boxy chrome trimmed looks and body coloured wheel hubs, it's big enough for four adults and it's got huge glass areas all round to enjoy your surroundings. I'd look for the six-cylinder engine and I'd hope for power steering or else I'd have to start going to the gym...
I love my MX-5 but I also hanker after something with a bit more go to tear around in on a track day, and the incredible reputation these have is a draw… Plus they look fantastic.
I haven’t even seen one in the flesh yet but I have a feeling I’d enjoy it! Base models start at £24,995 so it only just squeezes into the budget. There are so few modem cars that appeal to me at all, this has been the first one in a long time. Check out the PetrolBlog review of the Toyota GT86 here.
Fiat 124 Spider
I went to an Aston Martin auction once, and looked at cars worth six figures all day but the car I most remember was as we were walking through the car park – it was a gorgeous black Fiat 124 Spider with black leather seats and a wooden steering wheel. This car was never sold in the UK but has been imported in large numbers. Some of them suffer from nasty plastic bumpers (US regulations to blame) so that would have to be avoided or changed and right handers aren’t easy to find.
A proper one, not the one that isn't small any more. It's cheesy but these are a true icon of design and a revolution in car manufacture, plus I love small cars, so this has to feature. There are 39 years worth of these to choose from and a whole load of 'replicas' too, I don't have a specific age or trim in mind it would be a matter of the right car at the right price in this case!
Chesil offer Porsche 356 replicas ready built or in kit form. The kit is Beetle based which stays true to the heritage of the original as it shares many components. The Porsche 356 is a truly beautiful car but boasting a price tag up to the £60k mark it's out of the dream barn budget. The Chesil badge has been producing Speedsters for over twenty years and strive to make the experience of driving their replicas as close to the original as possible.
Volvo V70 circa 2000
Well, I need SOMETHING practical! Not not the turbo one either, 'just' the 2.5 non turbo version would be fine. I had a T-reg S70 as a hack during one of the worst winters we’ve had and it was brilliant, I’ve never felt safer in a car – solidly built with tremendous heaters, I could see the weather happening outside but the Volvo just wafted on through it oblivious. I also like the idea of having a car not to be precious about, something I don’t mind parking in a supermarket car park on a busy day. And it can tow my toy cars to track days.
You can follow Rachel on twitter @rachel_hw.
All images © Newspress.