None of us like it when our cars are damaged, either inadvertently by ourselves and especially not when it’s done by a third party. My 986 was totally immaculate when I bought it, but within a month of on-street parking its extremities were covered in scratches. Happily, its recent spray-wrap by John Isolda at Scratch-&-peel has completely masked that, and now the house has been done up we’ve sacrificed a portion of garden big enough to accommodate two cars: the Boxster shares with Mrs T’s latest acquisition, a 1-series BMW. The new Beemer is in such good nick that it is equally deserving of its offstreet parking. However – and here’s the point – its predecessor, an Alfa Romeo 156 that was low-miles pristine on acquisition, became so badly beaten up during a decade’s tenure that any scuff or blemish went virtually unnoticed, certainly unremarked. This also prompted a casual attitude to navigating crowded streets or tight country lanes because it simply didn’t matter if contact was made with the scenery. On-road intimidation was fair game in the same way that it’s possible to intimidate with a Land Rover. Going back to my initial thought, it prompts the notion that manufacturers could market vehicles that are deliberately damaged from the outset, so you just don’t mind any further altercation. Or, like Citroën’s C4 Cactus, the vehicle is protected up to the hilt with rubbing panels: scratch me if you can. Unsightly? Not necessarily when it’s themed like the Cactus. Along the lines of the faux-corroded rat-look Beetles that flock to events like Bug Jam, my choice would be a distressed 24-Hours of Le Mans look, where the car is covered in oil, race rubber and stone chips.
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