Car video reviews:
Fancy Parking Row Generated by “Best Man Cave” Ends With Millionaire Builder in Jail
As parking rows go, this was one of the fanciest and most publicized: a millionaire accountant built himself “Britain’s best man cave” on his property without the proper permits, and then began fighting with his neighbors when the council asked him to tear it down.

Fancy Parking Row Generated by “Best Man Cave” Ends With Millionaire Builder in Jail

Wildin's CarsWildin's CarsWildin's CarsGraham Wildin's MansionGraham Wildin's Mansion
The saga is nearing an end, but it’s definitely not the one the millionaire in question, Graham Wildin, had in mind. He’s been sent to jail over his refusal to tear down the man cave, and will be spending the next six weeks in custody, before he has to actually act on the tear-down order.

It all started in 2014, when Wildin (such an ironically fitting name, in retrospect) spoke to the media at large about his “man cave,” which he’d built next to his home in Gloucestershire, UK. He said he’d built it as a way for his family to get some together-time when the weather was bad. The weather is usually bad over in the UK, so Wildin made sure he integrated a little something for everybody in the man cave: a full playground for the kids, a bowling alley, a private movie theater, a squash court, a bar and a casino, a nightclub, and the cherry on top, a private garage for his 20-strong collection of vehicles.

This wasn’t just a man cave, it was a private complex designed for entertaining day and night, spanning over 10,000 square feet (929 square meters) and estimated at $260,000. As you can see in the video available at the bottom of the page, Wildin was thrilled with his work, and also apparently modest, claiming that this was no ego trip but something he’d done for his family.

As it so happened, the complex was also illegal. Wildin never applied for the construction permits with the council, but he was still shocked when the same council ordered him to tear it down. In 2018, he was given two years to do just that, but Wildin turned to seeking loopholes to avoid it: he tried to pass the complex as a business venture to avoid paying taxes, and when that failed, bought adjoining land in his family’s name, to block the council from sending demolition machinery in.

In March this year, as the deadline neared, Wildin made one last-ditch attempt, moving all his collectibles into the street. His hope was that neighbors would complain to the council about blocked traffic, which, in turn, would order him to put his cars back inside the complex, and thus cancel the tear-down order. A “slippery, crafty sod” is how the same fed-up neighbors described him to the press, complaining about how he was making their lives difficult just because he wanted to both have his cake and eat it.

“Sod” seemed the right descriptor for Wildin, who would often pass the neighbors in his Porsche, yelling at them through the open window that they needed to go back to driving school if they couldn’t pass his parked cars without damage to either vehicle. He’d even parked some of his cars, which included other Porsches, a Rolls-Royce, a Bentley, a Range Rover, and a bright yellow vintage Jensen Interceptor, near the driveways of other people, blocking their access to the main street.

In court, Wildin tried to argue that he was too poor to tear down the complex on his own: he’d been brought on the brink of bankruptcy because of the case. Despite evidence provided in court that he’d handed over everything to members of his family in the years since the dispute started, he claimed that he was dirt poor.

He might drive around in a Bentley or a Rolls, but they weren’t his, he said. His entire car collection was now the property of a family company. He didn’t even own the house to which the complex was attached, and would have to couch-surf with his kids when it was rented out to tourists. That said, in the past couple of years, Wildin sold off several pieces of property, including the home, two cottages and a property in Tenerife, but he failed to inform the court where the money had gone.

The judge ruled that Wildin had deliberately stalled acting on the council’s order, and that he had gambled in building the complex without permits because he could afford to. Wildin was sentenced to 6 weeks in jail; once he gets out, he has to pay £10,000 ($12,200 at the current exchange rate) to the council and render the complex unusable, or risk being sent back to jail. His jail stint is just a pause from getting to work to tear down the man cave, if you will.

If there’s a morale to the story, it’s something along the lines of, it’s all fun and games until you decide to follow your man-cave-related dreams with complete disregard of local regulations.


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories