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Sajeev
Community Manager

Community Question: Modifications that lose luster over time?

Let's start off by saying that "losing luster" has more to do with what other people think of a modification, and not why the owner did it. Some ideas are great in the moment but attitudes change over time, especially in our world of one upmanship at the car show: what have you seen that you felt did not stand the test of time? 

 

Here are a few of modifications that might not impress people anymore, even if they are cool

 

  1. Tune Port Injected (TPI) 350s in Street Rods
  2. Modular 4.6L swaps in any Ford (especially Mustangs)
  3. Just about every touch screen/computer added to cars in the 2000s.
  4. Adding game consoles (Sony Playstation 1 and 2s) in the dash. 
49 REPLIES 49
hyperv6
Instructor

80's paint graphics.  Not many held up well over time. 

 

The florescent lights under the car

 

The day glow wipers. 


The Lambo doors will get old fast once the fad is over. 

 

There are a number of trends that have limited lives and often they are easy to see. I resisted many after being tempted. Today I am glad I did. 

 

Yet I see cars that have interiors that look like someone threw up Crayola's all over it and wonder if the owner is really regretting the move. 

 

Pro Street was all the rage but today you see few. I like these but so many were poorly constructed they killed the resale unless it was well documented. 

 

Often if I made a change it was always where I could undo it if I changed my mind later. This has left me with few regrets. Also along the way I made a ton of wise choices. Not sure if I am just that good at making choices or just lucky..... I will take either. 

 

Yet today if I do something I try to look into the future and decide is this something ten years from now I will not regret. 

 

FYI my neighbor has a 47 Jeepster Panel. It is done up as a lowered surf wagon with boards and all on the top. Yes there is surf in Cleveland before a storm. LOL. Anyways he has a TPI 350 Chevy in it. To be honest it fits well, runs well and still looks good under the hood.  That was one engine that in the right application still can fit the bill. 

 

He did not do it for looks, he did it for ease of install and reliable. No issues like with many Carbs. Hit the key and drive it anywhere. 

NITRO450EXP
Instructor

Color shifting paint came and went, specially that purple color.
Guitar74
Technician

Monochromatic paint schemes. I remember seeing cars with the ugly NTSA bumpers painted the body color in Hot Rod and Popular Hotrodding. 

JimR
Instructor

Well even at my advanced age half of my car soul is import. So that really broadens the pallet. But you guys seem to have hit the major ones.
* I second the under-body lighting.
* Another vote for color-shifting paint
* Bolt-on park-bench rear spoilers
* Undersized and reversed low-pro wheels and tires...unless you’re in East L.A.
* “Fart can” mufflers, though they still seem to show-up now and then...like herpes.
* Limo-tint on windows
*Those aftermarket sunroofs


For domestic muscle...
*A vote for long shackled leaf springs and orange under-body paint of the 70’s.
* Side exit exhaust
* Deleting bumpers

JohnGalt
Pit Crew

There was a guy in my home town in Indiana that had a '58 Chevy with 4x4 wood blocks rammed between the axels and frame to jack up the rear. I think side-exit exhaust was mainly a function of economy!! Poor people have poor ways. 🙂
JimR
Instructor

”...was mainly a function of economy!! Poor people have poor ways.”

 

It’s not deemed polite anymore, but it used to be called “ghetto modding”. 

Jim86
Pit Crew

I'm hoping the the "donk" look goes away. I just can't understand why people think an 87 Caprice looks good with 24 inch rims and rubber band tires. Do these people even understand suspension geometry?

 

Another fad that's pretty much gone (at least in my neck of the woods) is the gray or tan canvas type material used in interiors. Never made sense to me to have a beautiful custom or street rod and then put an interior in it that looked like it came out of a stripped out 84 Chevy pickup truck.

Guitar74
Technician

I always liked the look of the TPI intake. Even though it is kind of a cork in stock form, that "tunnel ram" look just screams HOT ROD.
Guitar74
Technician

I second the dayglo wipers. My friend's little sister had a '66 Galaxie (don't ask me where they found an unmolested '66 in 1990 in ILLINOIS with zero rust but they did), with pink dayglo wipers on a beautiful stock '66 with flawless sky blue paint. Just looked like a screen door on a submarine.
eighthtry
Intermediate Driver

I bought a 90 SHO.  What a car.  326,000 miles.  There were two tuners that knew what they were doing.  I was going to make this thing fast.

 

Sure enough, I made it fast.  HP up by 50%.  What I went through to get there was crazy.  $$$$$'s, plus some.  Inconvenience, plus some.  Out of state travel to get stuff done, plus some.  I took it out to Texas Motor Speedway with 300,000 miles on it.  Ran it 2 hours in 30 minute sessions between 4,000 and 8,000 rpm.  Had to put 110 octane in it to cool it down.  Destroyed my upgraded brakes.  Had a blast but, looking back, what it took to get there was not worth it. 

 

I sold it to the guy that did a bunch of the heavy duty engine modifications. I asked him why he bought it.  Turns out that I was the only one that had done ALL the available modifications, both west coast and Atlanta.  He took it racing and loved beating unsuspecting BMW's.  After a year of flogging he busted the transmission, which was the big weak point in the whole set up with no options to replace.

 

So what did I do?  I bought a 2005 CTS V.  Then a 2010 CTS V.  Put 200,000 miles on each.  Then I bought a 2018 Z07.  The difference between these and the SHO?  They are bone stock.  They all go real fast out of the box.  AND, I made zero modifications, nor will I make any modifications to any late model car that I drive, either down here or in Heaven.  It is as is, from the factory.

 

Now my two old cars?  Well, that's a different story.

Guitar74
Technician

I never quite understand doing many mods to late model stuff. Most of the "cold air kits" I see actually draw hot air from the engine bay. Maybe I am just old school, but the point of drawing in air from outside was to get a dense charge for better volumetric efficiency. 

Sajeev
Community Manager

Yeah I call them hot air kits to remind the owners of them how wrong they are for installing them.  Not that it matters, as they wanted them because they wanted to do something, and the extra induction sound is giving them exactly what that want.  Sad, really. 

Guitar74
Technician

Agreed. I wish I had jumped on the marketing bandwagon and developed my own snake oil kit. Oh well, there's always selling "cordless screwdrivers" from the back of Popular Mechanics. "And if you act quickly I will not only sell you a second one, but also a Phillips bit as well"

hyperv6
Instructor

Anyone remember the fake Cell Phone antennas back in the 80’s? 

Then the dangerous trend of wheels sticking out from under the car with negative offset. 

Spinning hub caps? 

One we still have are what we call Lund Guys. Trucks with every stick on and bolt on item Lund sold. 

CB radios! 

Car Bra’s. Many put them on and could not remove them as they were left on so long they damaged the paint. People thought they were cool but did not understand they were short term use only. 

DaveG
New Driver

Man, I had forgotten all about those spinning hubcaps.

 

Here's one from way back:  A vinyl top

Guitar74
Technician

I think vinyl tops look great on certain cars like my wife's pimp mobile of a '79 Tbird. I may change the whole "pimp mobile" thing. It just doesn't seem right referring to my wife and using the word pimp in the same sentence. Now I just feel dirty.

RH-41
Pit Crew

Good one! Now I've had my belly laugh for the day.
lscott
New Driver

I don't think a factory option is really the same as a modification. And the absence of vinyl tops is more likely the result of CAFE standards than any style trend.

sharkguy48
Intermediate Driver

Car bras or masks can be very practical. I cruise the canyons in southern California. Lots of stones ready to "pit" the front end and side mirrors. I prefer the bras (masks) over 3M plastic wrap applications. The plastics last about 5 years, yellow over time, have a distinct "line" that shows badly, they are expensive, real big stones will still damage the car's surface (the padded backing on well made bras prevent this.) The bras (masks) downfall is when they experience rain; moisture gets under the material causing paint damage. The key is removing the bra and getting the surfaces and the bra dry. This has worked for me for 15 years on a concours winning car.
JLow510
New Driver

1. dual rally wipers

2. fake dual exhaust tips

3. body colored wheels (?) - i guess depends on your style, but that was an 80s euro look.

TinCanSailor
Pit Crew

I had a LeBra on my 88 Mustang GT - and I agree with your assessment! 

 

A friend had a "Car Phoney" complete with the fake antenna.  It was so real that I once picked up the handset to make a call.

 

I hope that some day in the near future, the 'donk' dies. I have an 85 Monte Carlo, and I see a lot of G-bodies in my area that are riding on 24 or 26 inch rims and they look like jacked up trucks.  To each their own, but those are horrendous looking IMHO.

OnScout
Pit Crew

J. C. Whitney after-market, “wolf whistle” horn...

Studenorton
Advanced Driver

For shame, sir!  Have you no soul?

I have one on my '66 El Camino,  right where my late uncle installed it,  and would not be without it.  It turns heads -- and all the right sort of heads IYGWIM -- every time I take it out.   Only thing better is the cable-controlled exhaust cutout into the lakes pipes...

flowney
Pit Crew

Another way to approach this question is to take note of those things done in earlier times. Frenched headlights and rounded hood corners will always appeal on a '49 Merc. Why is that so and can that reasoning be applied to contemporary vehicles? Once you know what will endure and why, it will be easier to spot the other stuff if you really want to do that.

Corkola
Pit Crew

The delrin/aluminum bushings I installed on the front suspension of my 240Z.   Nothing like feeling every bump in the road delivered right to your hands on the wheel.   I went back to factory rubber.

Sajeev
Community Manager

Oh yeah, man, I really hate Delrin bushings (and metal ones even worse). 

JimR
Instructor

^Oh totally agree.
On one of my cars a popular replacement for failure prone rubber engine mounts were two hockey pucks with a bolt stuck thru them. Great example of a “ghetto mod”.

Sajeev
Community Manager

Nah, the problem here is that many well-heeled car nuts that live in very NOT ghetto locations put plastic/metal bushing everywhere.  And in my part of the country, it doesn't matter how great your neighborhood is, you're rarely gonna go anywhere and experience smooth roads all the time.  

JimR
Instructor

I think the mods referred to as “ghetto’d” echoed the rationale behind buying new jeans with holes in the knees or shorts 5 times too big. It was a style statement as much as anything. But they were still just as silly. 

Sajeev
Community Manager

Yeah, that's a real good point.  Perhaps it's not a location, more of a state of mind? 

MarkIII
New Driver

Can we get over the black wheels? Back in the day we used to take off our hubcaps and run with black wheels because chrome ones were too expensive. Now we are paying big bucks for the same effect. Knock it off, chrome is king in my book. Ditto with the trim and emblems.

Guitar74
Technician

My stepson paid extra for blacked out wheels on his Ecoboost stang. Now for him, a guy too lazy to clean his wheels often, there is a certain advantage. But for me at least, I like the look of grey aluminum if painted, or polished. The black just looks cheap to me.

dough
Intermediate Driver

"Heartbeat" anything.

"Lightning" pinstriping on tinted windows.  

Tweed interiors.

Curb feelers.

Aftermarket pop-up sunroofs.

And one of my biggest pet peeves, "Pep Boys" pencil tip exhaust tips.  Nothing says "I have no sense of style or money" like those babies.

win59
Detailer

Cosmetic lowering.

Looks really cool - like it would improve lap times. However car can no longer be driven, as driveways are all too steep, cross streets must be taken at a 45 degree angle at 2 MPH to avoid scraping off the exhaust system and/or causing bodywork damage, a pull-tab or frost heave may require dental repair, and somewhere around 55 MPH on the freeway a cyclic porpoising effect can cause collateral brain damage.

While looking good, though.

drhino
Advanced Driver

Anything that is not “period correct” for the vehicle. 

richard2
Pit Crew

Maybe it's just where we live, but those aftermarket HUGE spoilers that look like an aircraft wing mounted on 12in struts. Whenever I get talking to one of those types, I always ask them if they are going to add "speed holes" at some point. 🙂

Bokeoyaji
Intermediate Driver

Super high camber to the point of the wheels almost being horizontally flat on the ground.

 

I don't see the fascination of it at all, other than to make the car look funny/silly.  They really don't serve any practical purpose, other than to make people laugh.

SilentBoy741
Detailer

First for me would be the after-market scissor doors conversions.  The idea sounds good on paper, but in practice it just makes the doors look flimsy and wobbly when they open up.  A lot of money/effort to make your ride look more cheaply built.

 

Next would be, for whatever reason, I see a lot of cars with the badges being deliberately removed from the grille.  Nothing in its place, just a black plastic hole with a bowtie or VW silhouette and some screw holes.  Doesn't look good now, and never will.

under_neath
New Driver

Please enter a “thumbs down” for adding a continental kit to 50’s cars.
mrdale14424
New Driver

There are more "Connie Kits" on 50's & 60's cars today than there ever were in the day, just looks wrong!
Dakonaman
New Driver

I think curb feelers and sun visors have gone the way of the buggy whip.

Guitar74
Technician

It's not just where you live. Bad taste knows no geographical boundaries.

JimR
Instructor

“It’s not just where you live. Bad taste knows no geographical boundaries”


Well I hope everyone feels better now that you pointed that out. And just to prove it, most Pontiac Azteks were probably purchased by middle-class soccer moms. 

Zephyr
Advanced Driver

Cars painted flat black or flat gray. Unpainted carbon fiber hoods. 

JimR
Instructor

Disagree. Flat colors depends on the type of car. Likewise CF, but I do think it’s best in moderation and with a clear coat. 

Guitar74
Technician

It's been my experience with the flat black and grey rides that most of the time it is hiding sub par body work.

jonZ
Instructor

Great topic. As a side bar..I have been out of touch lately due to the foul weather here on the gulf coast. Finally got electricity and a new computer last week and trying to get back in the swing of things. I really like the modified versions but it seems to me like we loose the feel and looks for the classics. On the topic of loosing luster.....Hood pins, Stick on window tint, stick on chrome trim, adjustable air bag suspensions, and BOOM BOXES! 

hyperv6
Instructor

No one has listed Plasti dip. 

it drives me nuts to see people forever spraying dip on wheels grills and even entire cars. Often it is done to cover damage but even worse it is done over good parts and paint. 

I just saw where a guy peeled a white car to a nearly perfect red paint! Why?

 

Even back in the day when I was shorter on bucks I would never have done this to a vehicle. I would save to get it painted, new wheels or what ever  it needed to do it right. 

Patl
Intermediate Driver

Crazy absurd amounts of camber form “Stanced" customization car style culture.

Not sure this modification hasn’t even lost its luster yet. Maybe I'm just the wrong generation to understand it?