I've spent a lot of time playing east German bus driving game OMSI and wishing it had a little more personality beneath its evocative world and sound effects. My Summer Car [official site] looks like it might scratch that itch: a Finnish driving game set in 1995 about fixing up an old banger, chopping wood, and picking up your drunk neighbours for rides through the countryside. It's now on Steam Greenlight with a new trailer below.
I'm no great fan of comedy physics games in the main, but this looks like it's on the right side of janky. I'm even OK with its urine meter and ability to wizz, because when taken alongside the granular car fixing and beer drinking it feels like an expressive addition to the game. Everything seems to be about embodying a particular kind of character.
I also just can't get enough of games that give you fine control over complex physical objects, whether that's unscrewing bolts in Quadrilateral Cowboy or poking at your engine in the similar eastern European driving sim Jalopy. It makes the progression curve of repairing and improving your car beyond mere Ubisoftism and into something I think I'd find satisfying for its own sake.
The Greenlight page has more details on the game: cars have over 100 parts; there are boats as well as cars; you'll have to buy food and drink; and it's permadeath, should you have a particularly nasty crash. Or, I guess, starve.