Inspired both by Petrol Blog‘s “dream barn” series and a conversation Joel and I had at dinner the other night, I decided to write up my own “dream barn” scenario. Basically, if I had the space and the money to do so, I’d probably own five or six completely ludicrous cars simply because I like them.
Of course the first car in the barn door will be my longterm project car, the infamous 1959 VW Type 1, last seen looking like this:
Only because this is the Dream Barn, it’s finally fixed up. The rust repairs are done, the paintwork is gleaming, and the interior is installed and smelling nice, like horsehair, jute, rubber matting, and sweetgrass potpourri, which I’ve always liked to stuff in the ashtray.
Next on the list would be a debased and defaced vintage Jaguar. I really fancy a 1970s-era X-type with a Chevy 350 in it. There are two on Craigslist right now, and by god, if I were doing anything other than grocery-store clerking right now, I would absolutely buy the ’74, because I like the color best (it’s a beautiful wine red, as you’ll see below. The ’78 is white, which I just don’t like as much, and if you are pretend-buying a ridiculous car, you might as well buy the one in the color you like!)
I figure this would pass as a sensible car. 4-doors. Chevy reliability. And since the value of a Jag plummets when you’ve installed a non-stock powerplant, this is a car you could drive around without stressing that you’re somehow going to depreciate it further via use. See also Roadkill:
Now moving further into fantasyland, I’d love to have a fairly clapped-out, but mechanically sound-enough late-1970s Porsche 911. Preferably one with a bit of rust and a few parking lot dings, so that I would have no reservations about hooning it. There are three reasons why I’d like to have an older Porsche. #1, they’re just fucking beautiful. #2, as a VW-savvy nerd, I should be able to adapt my knowledge to maintaining it. #3, the engine noise. God above, that exhaust note:
Now the odd-bird selection, which obviously would be a Citroën 2CV. As I’ve mentioned recently, it’s a car that has long fascinated me, and since I’m obviously just daydreaming here, we’ll assume I was able to find one.
I know only the very sad will find this interesting, but I honestly enjoyed watching this video of a bit of a 2CV’s suspension doing its job. Four-wheel independent suspension on an economy car was pretty revolutionary.
And speaking of revolutionary, there’s always the Citroën DS, which is frankly, a lot more stylish than the 2CV. Seriously, isn’t that a swoopy, style-y, pretty little thing? Those indicator lights up in the C-Pillars! I love those little chrome cones they’re mounted in. It’s just so clever.
Now a car I know of that exists locally, and which I admire from sort-of-afar nearly daily is a particularly nice example of a 1948 Ford coupe.
Sure, it’s got some weird dents in the roof, but it doesn’t appear to ever have been over and it certainly looks super-complete.
My Dad had one of these way back in the day, and I have just always liked that body shape. I have no idea how I’d set it up, but I’d imagine it would be a mild resto-rod project. No crazy lowered suspension, no radical big horsepower, no insane, flip-flop paint jobs. Just a nice, functional, basically-driveable, old-fashioned car. Essentially, the Ford version of my Volkswagen, only 10 years older. This engine that likely came in this car originally made about 100 horsepower in a car that weighed around two tons. It was just enough oomph to get it up to about 80mph, which I expect, was plenty exciting, if 80 in the old VW is anything to judge by. One of the things I love about primitive old cars is that you don’t need a lot of speed to get a lot of excitement. If you simply drive it in ordinary conditions, with respect to its engineering limitations, there’s just the inherent challenge in coping with the road to keep you entertained.
I kinda like that sound, you know?
So, as I said, if I had the space, money, and time, I’d have about half a dozen completely impractical and ridiculous cars in varying states of decay or restoration, and people would probably say, “That woman is really an odd bird.”