Modifying cars is an art. You're essentially saying to the engineers and designers of the car industry: "I can do this better". And sometimes, you're right. Last week I asked you imaginative bunch to find the best modified examples on eBay under $20k, and here are the awesome cars you found.
There's something to be said when the main picture in your car advertisement shows the car's 4 wheels a few feet off the ground. This Baja Bug is most likely the cheapest way, this side of Bill Caswell, to get a competitive vehicle in the Baja 1000 and actually stand a chance at finishing. Sure, there aren't many modern-day amenities, but if you roll it over, you can put it right-side-up and keep going - not exactly something your Camry can do.
(Suggested by GalaxyFE)
What happens when you take a car known for its owners putting faux race bits on it and put actual race bits on it? You get this supercharged monster that's all about function over form. Its roll cage, gutted interior, lightweight wheels, and functional canards and rear spoiler should be a dead giveaway that this isn't your grandmother's S2000.
(Suggested by damnthisburnershitsux)
This car looks damn sharp for such an extensive build. By the looks of things, the seller added a twin turbo kit, replaced the engine with an Rev-up variant (better cam timing and intake manifold design), got some seriously wide wheels and did some body mods, topping it off with a near perfect paint job. It also put down 450 horsepower at the rear wheels, and in a car this small and light, that's really saying something. The style may not be for everyone, but it's a definite contender with anything on the road, performance-wise.
Sometimes it's better to go mild than to go wild. Case in point: This Mazda RX-7. The body is left completely original, save for some aftermarket wheels. The drivetrain is also largely stock, with the addition of an 18-gallon fuel cell, a larger intercooler, and exhaust - all things that can go back to stock if the next owner wishes to be 100 percent original. This is a great example of pushing the envelope without erasing what made the car special in the first place. It's a little out of budget, but I'd be willing to bet that the seller would take a hard offer of $20k, cash for this great, low mileage example.
(Suggested by alecmets2011)
There are 3 things I would do if I had this awesome bus-turned-RV, in no particular order: Sleep in it, tow awesome cars, and recreate the jump scene from Speed. And since it's under budget, you could get a trailer to take this turbocharged Mazda Miata around the country, letting it loose on every hairpin bend the eye can see.
This '99 Mazda Miata racer follows the theme of less weight, more power by having a heavily modified and upgraded powertrain and a gutted interior. Not a bad combo at all.
(Suggested by Big Russ)
This is how you do right by an STi. You modify it with quality parts and don't drive it like your hair is on fire, even though the fact that this car has never been in the rain seems like a bit of a missed opportunity. This car, by the seller's description, is flawless, and on top of that, makes more than 400 horsepower at the wheels, which means it's making nearly 500 at the engine. That's Ferrari territory, for subcompact money.
(Suggested by Seth)
There is no replacement for displacement. That is, until you get a divorce - which is why this seller is parting with his prized show car. This isn't a numbers matching original, this is someone's pride and joy that they modified to enjoy whenever they wanted, and now it can be yours for a fraction of the price they paid. I'm not completely sold on the look, but it seems like a solid example of what the car can be if done right.
(Suggested by Paco Deth)
The Mercury Cougar was always the gentleman's pony car. It was a car that felt equally at home in a country club parking lot as it did on the dragstrip. However, this Mercury Cougar Eliminator clone, is far removed from that versatile ideal. This is a unrelenting muscle car, with a 427 cubic inch V8 (with a 454 rotating assembly) that drives just as well as it looks. It's a HOLY CRAP car for a not bad price.
(Suggested by Paco Deth)
Here's one of the most iconic cars of the 60s. Suicide doors, low stance, and more real estate than a New York City apartment. This example is a blank slate, ready to take any crazy modifications that the new owner wants to install, I'll let Dy-no-mite Jay explain:
I am going to break the mold here but I'll take this at $6200 (reserve not met) and dump the rest to modify it, paint it black and have one of the coolest rides EVER. I'll call it the Stinkin' Lincoln.
(Suggested by Dy-no-mite Jay)
Here's an MGA, styled after an AC Cobra, which is actually older than a real Cobra, with actual racing pedigree>. From the seller's not at all confident description, he says it has a "Chevy 302 ci V8. This actually could be an awesome buy for anyone who wants an insanely fast roadster, and it may actually appreciate in the coming years, due to the racing history over the years. There's one thing for certain, though. It absolutely oozes cool, and that's more than you can say for anything you can buy new for this kind of money.
(Suggested by Mini_Fanatic)
For more gems found on ebay, check these out:
Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes about buying and selling cool cars on the internet. He owns the world's cheapest Mercedes S-Class, a graffiti-bombed Lexus, and he's the only Jalopnik author that has never driven a Miata. He also has a real name that he didn't feel was journalist-y enough so he used a pen name and this was the best he could do.