Phaeton makeover – 10 years younger, for cars?

According to Wikipedia, a Phaeton ‘is the early nineteenth-century term for a sporty open carriage drawn by a single horse or a pair of horses, typically with four extravagantly large wheels, very lightly sprung, with a minimal body, that was fast and dangerous.’

I recognise the description of the wheels but that’s it.  My 6 year old VW Phaeton is not sporty, doesn’t even have a sunroof, has a hefty body, is variably sprung, is drawn by 230 odd diesel ‘horses’, is slightly lumbering and rather than being dangerous, is surely one of the safest and most comfortable cars on the road.

For VW, it was a financial disaster as despite being pitted against the Merc S Class and the 7 series BMW, never sold in the volumes expected or needed.

For me, it was relatively cheap to buy and has been my long distance vehicle of choice for the 5 years I have owned it.

However, 5 years and 55,000 miles of motorway driving through all weathers (and the Phaeton is, surprisingly, 4 wheel drive) had taken their toll.  The paintwork began to look drab, the front grill had a stone chip which looked like a bullet hole and the ‘extravagantly large wheels’ were looking tatty.  But, inside and when driving, the car looked and felt as good as new.  So, I decided an exterior makeover was needed and booked it in at the VW authorised repairer, Crawley Down Group(CDG).


The grill was replaced and the bodywork valeted and treated with Lifeshine which, quite simply, does what it says on the tin. Meanwhile, the wheels were removed and sand blasted to be repainted, but when the tyres were taken off, the technician found a small 2cm hairline crack in one of the wheels…a consequence, no doubt, of the horrific, pot-holed state of British roads in recent times.  Worryingly, this probably wouldn’t have been found if I had decided to leave the wheels as they were.  The problem wheel was dispatched by courier to a specialist welding shop to fix and within a few days, the Phaeton was back to looking as good as new.


So, I spent a little on the car rather than replace it and personally I feel good that this was the right choice for a car which feels like it has 200,000 more miles left in it.  In fact, I am sure if I had decided to sell it on and buy a newer car, the makeover investment would have been repaid in resell value.  Looking after the cosmetic appearance of a car is just as important as the mechanical side – and in this case highlighted a potential future safety concern.

Want to find out more on how we can help your car look a few years younger? Read all about our bodyshop and SMART repairs here: 

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