I've been rather taken by the interest shown in my protest against grey, bland driving games. It isn't a new protest whatsoever - Eric4372 at the excellent Musings of a Sega Racing Fan is one such warrior against the grey, and the sadly now deceased UK: Resistance was banging on about it for years, but I do have to make one notable exception to save me from being caught out later down the line for being a fickle git.
That exception is Driven to Destruction (or Eve of Destruction as the US knows it) on the Playstation 2. It is a stock car racing game like nothing else on the market. It is without comparison in truely capturing the essence of stock car racing that I used to love watching so much as a child with my Dad. It has everything - shabby cars, dirty environments, roaring but incapable engines, sluggish handling, exquisite damage modelling and an inspired set of race formats that, frankly, puts any other racer to shame.
Despite some horrific frame rate drops, it has also supplied me with some of the greatest 2-player moments of my life - strangely enough playing well into the early hours with my Dad on the 'Detention' race where one player takes control of an indestructible bus and has to stop the other player finishing the race as a car.... superb doesn't come close to describing it.
And yes, it is quite grey & bland looking. But perfectly so - it simply couldn't survive being all bright and lucid - this game was born to be grim.
Ironically, I don't actually own the game anymore. I've bought the game on 3 separate occasions, seemingly unable to live without it, but I made the decision a few months ago to get shut of my PS2, but it still sits there upstairs gathering dust. Maybe one day...
EDIT 13th Sept 2012: I bought it again. Played it once. Its not as good as I remembered... :(