Image credit: Sam Wooley/GMG

We all know the telltale signs of a car that’s perhaps seen better days. Some of us choose to let our rides ease into a genteel state of beaterdom, wearing the scars of time proudly in surface rust and sun-cracked plastics. Others half-try to hide that with tacky AutoZone-grade add-ons. This gift guide is for the latter.

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I, being a woman of impeccable taste, originally suggested an all-Truck Nuts gift guide, but was sadly shot down by my editors. Instead, we’ve come up with a few less tasteful modifications you can use to truly proclaim to the world that you have an offensive beater and you care perhaps too much.

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Wood Beaded Comfort Seat Cushion

Sometimes, we don’t have the exact seats we wanted in our cars. Whether your gift recipient is annoyed that Pamela Anderson shot down whale penis leather as an interior option, or your dog decided that your friend’s bordello-red Chevrolet Celebrity seats were his new favorite chew toy, the answer usually involves a seat cover.

Why not get one that leaves unsettling bead-marks all down your butt? For years, the seat cover of choice for the hopelessly tacky has been made of wooden beads.

The spacing of the beads is allegedly there for ventilation, but if you truly wanted something that wouldn’t sear your buttocks on long desert drives, you’d go with a nice light cloth cover instead. No, this spacing just makes it look like you’re of the Egg-Crate People of Planet Zorgon, and the bizarre markings on your back and thighs are your true form accidentally peeking out for all to see.

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Go on and continue your important research on the peoples of Earth, Zorgonites. Just please don’t invade or throw us into the sun.

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Little Trees Black Ice Air Freshener (Pack of 24)

Your friend’s car has a bit of a smell to it, doesn’t it? Look, we don’t care why it smells like durian fruit and dead squirrel, but we really don’t want to add to the smell by puking in it. You can’t ride around with the windows open when the weather gets nasty, either. Something must be done.

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Some car enthusiasts take offense when you forward on common-sense advice that would make their car livable to those of us with a functioning sense of smell and/or gag reflex. That’s okay!

In that case, I recommend going full-offensive and getting them a multi-pack of stinky little air freshener trees. Friend, if you won’t remedy the situation by ripping out the interior and setting it on fire, you know what? You deserve to add to the stank.

This 24-pack of “black ice” air freshener trees really drives home the fact that their ride stinks beyond all belief. Black ice is “a masculine fragrance with a fusion of sandalwood, bergamot and lemon with an air of mystery,” according to the description on Amazon. We’re not going to try this in our cars because these trees reek to high heaven, but for your sake, we hope the “air of mystery” can cover up the scent of rotting mystery meat.

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Coexist Bumper Sticker

Look, we’re not going to knock the sentiment behind the “Coexist” bumper sticker. We should all learn to live with each other despite our differences in peace and harmony.

However, statements stuck on a car really only serve to reinforce existing attitudes—and tick off everyone else who may disagree. It’s about as effective as releasing an overly simplified bad tweet into the ether. You’re not going to change anyone’s mind with your car.

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As bumper shapes have evolved, but bumper stickers’ sad little rectangles have not, the bumper sticker is now more visually offensive than ever. That being said, they’re still a solid way to cover up rust holes and Camry dents, just in case your buddy’s ride is that much of a turdpile.

And of course, if you know That Guy, it’ll fit right in next to the fading KUTX, Human Rights Campaign, Clinton/Kaine and “Keep Austin Weird” stickers.

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Flat Black Plasti-Dip

Wanna party like it’s 2008, bro? Back to the era when flat black still looked sort of mean as opposed to cheap and dumb? Well, then get your buddy a can of flat black Plasti-Dip to cover up all of his project car’s warts and woes.

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He’ll fit right in among all the questionably modded Civics at the meet. It’s the look that screams “Ask Me How I Cut My Springs!” and “Of Course I Bought This Poorly Welded Crap Off eBay!”

Don’t spring for any nicer colors or metallic sprays that suggest actual care about current automotive trends. Nah, stick to flat black. It’s done. Toast. Played out. Kaput. There’s nothing genuinely tackier than flat black on a car in 2016.

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Stick-On Vents

Some cars come with side vents as a design flourish, or even for extra cooling. For everyone else with a warped sense of taste, there’s always the stick-on vent.

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Stick-on vents offer no performance advantage. If anything, the extra weight is a hindrance. However, the perpetually tacky have latched onto these fake vents, and thus, they make the perfect gift.

Instead of the real bling and class of the integrated add-ons of a true custom car, these stick-on vents allow a tasteless driver to half-bake it by throwing on a couple shiny misaligned baubles ordered off the Internet.

We chose a chrome pair of vents for maximum fake-bling factor. At only $4 a pair, you can order enough to cover your friend’s entire miserable ride. Think of all the fake performance they’ll gain then!


Good luck with your annual holiday-time Commercialism-O-Rama! I’ll be hiding in a corner somewhere until all the Santas go away.