Every time I see a car decked out with stick-on port holes and other tacky adornments, I do what I can to check the inevitable wave of nausea that comes with beholding such a sight. Worse yet, these flashy plastic bits are typically stuck to the most miserable shitheaps imaginable.
But I never really gave too much thought to how much those inelegant embellishments actually cost until one day, while looking at my brother's rusted out '88 Toyota Corolla SR5, it occurred to me how pauvres prétentieux rad it would look with a bunch of that stuff added on.
So I looked into buying some portholes and a fake hoodscoop and a bunch of other plastic bling and sticking them on as a joke. It turned out that the joke was on me. That shit is expensive!
I don't know where someone who can't afford to drive something better than a battered '97 Dodge Neon gets the money to buy that crap (I'm going based on the assumption that whoever drives such a car has no better option; there are always exceptions). But somehow, you can always find a Juggalo worthy '85 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera (or some other equally wretched pile), plagued with rust holes and mismatched body panels and, of course, sporting fake chrome spinner wheel covers and tribal flame decals.
But all of the things I wanted to use to decorate my little brother's car — a non-functional hood scoop, chrome tribal flames, chrome-covered plastic spinner wheel covers, diamond-encrusted letters to help him show off his Toyota and/or SR-5 pride — cost more than I was willing to spend.
When I cruised over to the neighborhood parts store to see what some of these hideous items cost, this is what I found:
- Non-functional hood scoops: Carbon fiber or chrome, these are a must-have for any aspiring Chav. They go for about $50-60. The fake rear brake scoops are a little less, but expect to pay more than $20 each for these.
- Portholes: There are various styles of these available, such as oval, square, and old-school-Buick. They cost $35-50 for both sides.
- Spinner wheel covers: These (fortunately) are getting more difficult to find. The plastic wheel covers go for about $40 each new, but you might be able to find a used ones on eBay for $50 (although eBay seems to think "spinner wheel covers" are those ones GM put on bottom shelf muscle cars).
- Naked lady decals: The chrome ones are about $2-8 each (although the fat chick ones tend to cost less), so plastering these all over your car will add up. Best just to just use one for each mud flap.
- Tribal flame decals: "Good" ones (that won't fall off in the wet) can cost more than $100, so save your pennies, my friends. This might hurt a little.
- Non-funtional shark fin radio antenna: Don't worry about why the hell someone would want to put an antenna that doesn't do anything on top of their car. Don't cost hardly nuthin', so why not?! They're about $10. Still, I'd pay extra to put a fake 16-foot CB whip on top of my car.
- LED accent lights: You should put as many of these as possible on your ride, preferably in clashing colors. Unfortunately, they cost $20 or so for a set of two, so again when you consider that you need at least eight, not cheap.
- Iron Cross fog lights: Yes, please take my $70. I must have them.
- Stick-on lettering: Short words are good. Long, fake diamond-encrusted tributes to your
lack of asense of style will cost you about $2 per letter. So expressing your car's supercalifragilisticexpialidociousness in glittery plastic will set you back nearly $70 when you include sales tax.
If I really let my imagination run wild and did up baby bro's car in a neo-mechanical-baroque explosion of awesome exterior improvements, I would be about $600 poorer than I am today. The car cost $450, so uhhhh...
You can't imagine the pain I feel at not being able to go through with my low brow beautification scheme. His car positively screams for a set of portholes and a 12-inch-long exhaust tip at the very least. Perhaps I can just buy a flame stencil and some rattle cans of red, orange, and yellow paint. Those, thank heavens, are still within reach.
Photo credit: Benjamin Preston