Second skin

Giles Smith has been on the road again

It’s a week since the new Lotus Europa S left me and I still bear the bruises. Specifically, I bear a bruise the size of a hubcap in the triceps area of my right arm – the legacy of my repeated attempts to get out of the car while retaining at least some degree of dignity.

It’s low, you see, the Europa S. Low and thin. You don’t so much climb into it as pull it on, the way you might pull on a pair of trousers or a sleeping bag. And once you’re in there, you are, technically, lying in the middle of the road, separated from the Tarmac by some leather upholstery, a sheet of metal and approximately two and a half centimetres of clear air.

The thing is to choose your location before exiting.

A crowded high street, for instance, may not be the best place to discover the full range of physical exertion involved. And if, at any point, both your palms are flat down on the pavement of that high street, with your legs still somewhere back in the car, as mine were in those tentative, trial stages, then you could end up wishing you had taken some private instruction first.

My advice: lean hard against the door-jamb. The catch will bruise your arm, but it will give you all the support you need. And take it one limb at a time. Another thing to master: a mock casual facial expression for use at the completion of the manoeuvre. It helps to mask the embarrassment and the pain.

And all because he wanted to drive “what is, in essence, a rocket-powered biscuit tin.”

That boy can write.