The French are known for being laissez–faire drivers. But Parisian drivers are easily the worst of all. It’s a losing combination of congestion, poorly-designed roads and the dismissive demeanour most Parisians have (if the stereotype is to be believed).
So if you own a rare German sports car, how do you protect it from the inevitable abuse Paris will subject it to? One motorist has come up with a clever, hilarious (and rather extreme) solution to protect their pride and joy. Arthur Kar, the founder of L’Art de L’automobile and one of Paris’ most famous car collectors/dealers, shared this photo of a BMW E31 8 Series that has a boat fender attached to the front bumper.
An air-filled bladder that’s typically attached to the sides of piers or boats to prevent them from getting damaged as they moor, this Beamer owner has employed it to prevent Parisian parkers from backing into their vintage sports car instead (or perhaps as a way to save themselves from damaging the car as they park).
Watch a timelapse of the terrible traffic snarl around Paris’ famous Arc de Triomphe below (check out the taxi colliding with a scooter at 0:40!)
It’s a brilliant solution, especially considering how tight some of Paris’ streets are. It’s a risky one though. The boat fender seems to be attached to something under the hood, and they’ve had to pop the bonnet to get it to hang there. Does that mean anyone can just lift the lid?
We’d also be worried about damaging the bonnet: due to the unique design of the E31’s bonnet (which features holes cut out for the car’s iconic pop-up headlights), any slight damage to the bonnet could prevent your lights from going up. An E31 bonnet alone costs tens of thousands to replace…
He’s not the only Parisian vintage car owner who’s come up with this idea, either. One of our readers shared this photo he took of a classic Fiat 500 he spotted in Paris a few years ago that also had boat fenders strung up on its bumper for perfect touch parking protection. Look how cute the little fenders are!
The little 500 is the perfect retro ride for Paris’ narrow streets, but the BMW E31 is perhaps a slightly bolder choice to tootle around Paname in.
Produced from 1990 to 1999, the E31 was the first generation of the BMW 8 Series. A sleek grand tourer powered by either a V8 or, more famously, BMW’s first production V12 engine, the B pillar-less coupé remains one of BMW’s most unique and distinct designs.
BMW only made just over 30,000 of the things, so well-maintained V12 examples are worth a pretty packet these days, with prices starting at around US$100,000.
According to the most recent stats from the French Ministry of Interior as collated by French Property, Paris has “by far” the worst accident rate out of any French city or department – “[with] an accident rate of 2.76 per 1000 inhabitants, there is nearly ten times the risk of being involved in a road accident in Paris as in Ardennes, the safest department in the country.” That also means Paris has roughly 10 times the accident rate of London.
Crucially, however, Paris has a remarkably low fatality rate, so while you’re more likely to be involved in an accident in Paris than you are in, say London or Berlin, you’re less likely to be in a fatal/injurious accident as you would be in Melbourne or Rome, according to OECD statistics.
Leaving the debate over their driving skills aside, something Parisians are undoubtedly very good at is drinking coffee. We talked to the experts about what makes Paris coffee and café culture so special. Ristrettos over Renaults, we suppose…