The heading photo is from a few years ago – the back end of my pride-and-joy little car after I reversed it into a concrete bollard at a car park. The post was low enough not to be seen as one pulled out of the parking bays but tall enough to strike both bumper and rear hatch.
The subsequent repair work was costly enough to require me to use my insurance policy but was done to a good standard and the car is as useful now as before. While I considered myself plagued with bad luck then I recently saw something that changed my mind. A friend did the same thing to his car and has effectively written it off.
This may seem a little severe with bumper and boot lid damage but he unfortunately has an older car that is constructed on some sort of unibody principle. The entire rear end up to the window line is all one giant panel, and if you break it the price of replacing it – for cars that are well out of date – is prohibitive. He will end up with a secondhand car of the same era if he is lucky but it is likely to have as many flaws as the one he owns.
Is this gong to be the way of the future? What happened to the 70’s plans to make cars with replaceable panels that would cut down on repair costs? What happened to actual panel beaters actually beating panels? Have we regressed?
The idea of a hot rod sourced from someone who has already built it to a legal standard is getting more and more attractive. Blow getting a big-engine one – a roadster with a tiny Japanese 4-cylinder engine will be fine – as long as the body has separate panels and there are real live steel bumpers out the front and back on big stalks.
Or better still – an old pickup with a steel rear platform.