Who doesn’t like a modified car? From drift missiles to salt-flat speedsters, the world of custom cars is as diverse as its members, those willing to hack their cars up to fit a non-factory need. Earlier this week, we asked you what your favorite styles of car modification are. Today, we’re taking a look through your answers.
I personally really like de-badging. It’s not to try to make a particular model seem like something it’s not, but rather a lot of modern brand and model insignia is sometimes ‘heavy’ on one side but ‘light’ on the other. So removing it all gives some symmetry to what is going on. I also believe it just looks cleaner.
Sometimes, a clean badge-less look is best. It’s nothing too exciting, it’s just simple.
As I’ve gotten older, I’m finding myself gravitating to the admittedly “boring” OEM+ style. Basically a stock body with as many original optional parts as makes sense. I went wild with body kits on imports in the early 2000s. So now a clean S14a with all the OEM aero, R33 GTR wheels, a simple Nismo suspension and a few bolt-on mods to the SR20DET is really speaking my language. This used to just be called “mild” but I’ve been seeing the “OEM+” label taking hold the last few years.
Picking and choosing mods from an automaker’s catalog is a surefire way to make sure everything looks right together.
I’ll defend the Bosozuko. It’s the dumbest thing in the world, but I can’t look away from it...make it stop!
This one’s a little more tasteful
More cars should look like this, honestly. Don’t stop, keep making wildly out-there vehicles!
Purrari FTW. Basically anything that does not take itself too seriously. Particularly on a pretentious car... and if it pisses off said pretentious brand.
Personally, I think the Nyamborghini worked a little better with the car’s lines, but I can see the appeal of both.
Any performance mod that doesn’t modify the car’s physical appearance. Sleepers > *.
Back when I owned my Legacy GT, I called it a “Sleeper you could sleep in.” Amusingly, I don’t think I ever actually did, though I have slept in a slower but sleeker FR-S.
Fixing Factory Flaws
like mods that make a vehicle look more polished, more thought-out than what came from the factory.
For example, my dad’s ‘54 Chev pickup has been lowered 1" and the wheelbase was extended rearward by 2". This makes the truck sit a little lower and centres the rear wheels in the rear wheel well. It has the effect of making the truck look less top-heavy and less “tippy”.
Most vehicles can do with a wheel upgrade. So many new wheels look like they were designed by a sugared-up eight-year-old with access to a CNC machine.
If you’ve ever added a tail tidy to a motorcycle, this is you. Sometimes it’s cheaper, easier, or more legally sound to manufacture something that looks bad — leaving it up to owners to fix.
Fighter Plane Aesthetics
Aircraft/bomber style. Bare metal, rivets, brown leather, that kind of stuff.
Every year at Wicked Big Meet, there’s a Subaru Forester decked out in this style. Big shark mouth on the side and everything.
I am interested in doing a resto-rod, something like what ICON does
Classic car body that looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor, but lurking underneath is a modern engine and transmission, upgraded suspension and brakes
For when you love the aesthetics of classic cars, but have grown attached to such modern amenities as “power steering.”
Having graduated to driving age in the 80’s I’m still all about the Pro Street style. Giant hood scoops or better yet, a 6-71 Weiand blower through the hood. Drag tires with wheelie bars, maybe a four or six point cage. Basically the more impractical for day to day use, the better.
I’m imagining trying to street-park a pro street car. You can’t see your front bumper, thanks to the blower, and your rear space is taken up by a wheelie bar. Really puts the “street” part in question.
Trucks That Are Bad
I’m such a big fan of coal-rolling, bro-dozer lifts (the cheaper and more dangerous, the better), and the Carolina Squat that it’s hard for me to choose between them.
They’re really both just such good styles of car modification. I, a person who has yet to realize that other human beings exist, simply cannot pick which I prefer.
“You Built What?”
I legitimately enjoy cars mods that make people say, “that’s stupid, you’re destroying the “
Slammed pickup trucks. Every time a see a modern F150 or something with a 5" drop, I start drooling. I just know truck guys hate it too. Add in good street tires on smaller rims for added performance and handling.
Donks. Donks are amazing. It’s like safari cars turned up to 11. Want to make that Safari Corvette even cooler? Add 30" color-matched wheels to it.
Little wheels on cars like the WRX. I dig that rally car vibe you get with them on.
Fast SUVs. Especially if you slam them. My dream car is a Wrangler 392 slammed, on low profile street tires. I’d be afraid it would get keyed though.
I’m not into the anime wraps, but you do you.
For years, I wanted to build a track-prepped Wrangler. Slam it to the ground on coilovers, throw some lightweight 17s on it, and take it to Lime Rock. It would’ve been very bad, but very funny.
Tasteful functional upgrades mostly. Slotted discs and top shelf pads, B6 shocks and struts, a modest tune, control arm upgrades, really good tires on good stock rims if your car can be had with them, things of that nature. Those have been my main go-tos so far as I learn on a modern BMW DIY wrenching. Where I save in labor I go overboard in parts.
I made sure to get a the upgraded factory stereo which is more than enough, so I haven’t had to upgrade that but always a must to have a good audio system.
This is always how it starts. “Oh, I just want some lightly upgraded tires and wheels.” Suddenly it’s two years and $10,000 later, and your car is absolutely undrivable in polite company. And, y’know what? It’s great.
The cutest trend are the Japanese Kei truck gardens. I’m not sure if it has a formal name but it gives other drivers something pleasant to look at while stuck in traffic.
more at https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2018/06/japanese-mini-truck-gardens/
I had no idea these were a thing, and will now make it my life’s mission to build and daily one. Thank you for this renewed sense of purpose.
Just Tires for Me, Thanks
Im a huge fan of Michelin Pilot performance tires.. but I’ve grown tired of the mod thing. It was cool to do in my 20's and 30's.. but even then I quickly realized that most people modifying a vehicle have absolutely no plan or path to whatever it is they are trying to accomplish. So they basically see something they think looks cool.. and continue to add those things.. until they have changed the vehicle so much from stock that it no longer looks or operates as well as it did stock. They have also killed their resale value as nobody wants their Frankenstein-mobile.
That said even on a brand new car.. give me set of high-performance Michelins. Sell whatever cheap shit the factory put on.. and get yourself a set of Pilot AS4's if its a daily driver commuter car.. or Pilot Sport 4S if its a true sports car. Out of all the modifications I can think of.. give your vehicle more grip in the dry, wet and even snow.. is the best modification you can make to any car. After all.. your tires are the only that touch the road. Sticky tires can be the difference between you getting in an accident or not.
Pilot Sport 4S, my beloved. Those tires continually impress me. As for mods that are fun in the moment but kill resale value, I fully support and encourage them. It’s your car, do what you want with it. We’ve only got so many years on this earth, you want to spend them concerned about what the next guy might think of your shift knob?
When people are willing to hack apart an exclusive, million-dollar-plus car and make it their own, I can appreciate that. People get so wrapped up in losing value as they drive it and there are the people who will drive the piss out of theirs, but IMO this takes it a step further. Your car is likely permanently devalued. The scorn you get at meets for ruining a classic will be intense. You might even wonder why you decided to go down this route. But if it was meant to be a rolling showpiece anyway, why not own it?
If you’re going to have millions of dollars in disposable income, you may as well do something cool with it.