French want to ban ugly cars

Paris may well be the world's most beautiful city, but it has some of the ugliest traffic jams in the known universe and, in the Arc De Triomphe, the world's most intimidating intersection - a teeming mass of metal so insane that legend has it your car insurance is voided if you dare to drive into it.

But the image-conscious Parisians have come up with a way to lessen the chaos, and make their streets even prettier, by banning any car more than 17 years old (and any motorbike more than eight years old) from entering its city limits.

According to the controversial proposal by Socialist mayor Bertrand Delanoe, the "most polluting and noisiest" vehicles will be banished from entering the French capital's A86 ring road from September 2014. Sure, he says it's about noise and pollution, but we all know that cars that old are usually bent badly out of shape, and suffering severely in the stylistic stakes.

The next logical step will be banning people wearing clothes bought more than 12 months ago from walking the city’s streets.

Buses and trucks over 18 years old would also be blacklisted if Mr Delanoe's automotive-ageism policy flies, raising the ire of classic-car fans and environmentalists alike, many of whom believe that hanging on to your golden oldie is the greenest form of motoring.

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