My 1976 911S is not a concourse car. Nothing makes that more evident than when I wash it. Every scratch, dent and imperfection is like a beacon, especially when I spot one I haven't seen before. And there's a twinge of guilt that accompanies it. What could I or should I have done to prevent it?

I acquired my Porsche, whom I lovingly nicknamed Smokey, when he was more than 30 years old. Who's to say how many people owned him and what stories he could tell from the '70s,'80s and '90s?

By the time he came my way, Smokey already had several bumps and bruises. Yet I still cringe when I spot a new blemish that wasn't there the last time I wiped a sponge across the somewhat-glossy black paint.

Thank God for the black Fuch wheels. They hide the dirt and brake dust pretty well. Yet they're also scraped and scratched in spots (not my fault, I swear). But, somehow, they fit the car's demeanor.

Smokey isn't perfect, and he has the scars to prove it. Plus, I think the 911S would look a little strange if his wheels were in excellent condition while his body needed some work.

It may be hard to believe, but Smokey's paint job is holding up better than the one on my brand-new daily driver (which is also black). That car already has a few dents and scratches. The steel is lighter and bends with much less impact. Smokey is made of a stiffer constitution. He is more apt to survive unscathed when a driver in an adjacent parking spot accidentally hits the passenger door with his own.

Still, nearly every time I take out the 911S, somebody asks, "How old is your Porsche?" or compliments, "Nice car." They don't notice the paint chipping off in a tiny spot on the hood or the slightly-uneven paint job.

To them, a Porsche doesn't need to be perfect to be beautiful. I agree 100 percent. Smokey certainly has his flaws, but don't we all?

We go through life carrying many expectations on our shoulders. Often, that involves looking a certain way. We're either too fat or too thin. Too short or too tall. We're often striving to be something we'll never achieve to fit an ideal few people obtain. There comes a time when we must accept who we are and what we've become.

There may be a time when I can take Smokey to a body shop and make him all shiny again. It's on my list, along with a few other things he needs to run a bit more efficiently. But until then, I'm OK with the way he looks. In fact, I love him just the way he is.