Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but there are some automotive trends that may be completely inexcusable. What might start as a “good idea” can quickly turn into a terrible mistake, and is the stuff of nightmares.
Customizing your car is a great way to add your own personality to it and make it unique. When these fads end in a ride that makes people wince and run away in horror, there might be a problem. Here are terrible trends that if we’d stop before they happened if we only had a time machine.
Wrapping your car can be a great way to get a unique custom look without having to commit to an expensive paint job. However, there appears to be a fine line between “unique” and hideous.
There is no shortage of over-the-top custom car wraps with questionable graphics, like giving your car a chrome wrap and then being surprised that you’re constantly being blinded by every reflection. The best wraps are usually understated or have a well thought out theme/pattern. There are some great “art cars” out there that know how to do it right, but far too many that get it wrong.
A “Bro Truck” is, in essence, a fake off-roader. The genre is defined by big trucks with big lifts, polished wheels and an underside that will never see anything like mud or dust.
These trucks are all about form, not about function, and can be easily spotted in the wild by looking for impeccable detailing and four-gallons of tire shine on each wheel. In the world of Bro Trucks, bigger is better, and cartoonishly tall with little to no actual usability is best.
Lambo doors belong on Lamborghinis. Period. End of story. If you install Lambo doors on a Honda Civic, Cadillac Escalade or anything that isn’t a Lamborghini, it shouts “Look at ME!” Having your doors open vertically doesn’t add any functionality and is only a vanity customization.
The reason that Lambo doors on non-Lamborghinis look so strange is that you already know expect to see normal doors, and when you see them open up instead of out, it just looks wrong.
Does your car really need downforce on your way to work? A spoiler or wing on the back of your car, when done right, can be a cool modification, but the trend to install comically large wings seems rather pointless.
These oversized wings are likely styled after the wild aerodynamics of Time Attack race cars, but on your street car, it just looks like a bad idea. Most have unproven aerodynamic qualities and bolting 100+ pounds of metal to your trunk probably hurts performance more than it helps.
You’re not fooling anyone. Most people are savvy enough to realize that a Chrysler isn’t a Ferrari, but badge-envy seems to be an overpowering force that afflicts far too many people on the roads.
The most common instances of “Aspirational Badging” happens to BMWs and Mercedes-Benz’s and occurs when a person attempts to disguise their base model German luxury sedan with BMW “M” badges or Mercedes-Benz “AMG” badges. The M-Cars and AMG-Cars are definitely status symbols, but just putting a badge on a car that it doesn’t deserve makes the car look worse, not better.
The extreme camber, stretched tires and one-millimeter of ground clearance falls under the car modification trend called “Stance.” For most cars, a slightly lower ride-height and a nice set of wheels makes the car better, both visually and in the handling department, but when taken to the extreme, it generally ruins everything.
Atrocious ride quality, rapid tire wear, rapid suspension wear, inability to negotiate speed bumps or small stones, decreased braking effectiveness, weird handling… do I need to keep going? “Low and slow” can be cool, but when your car can’t function as a car, it’s pretty tragic.
It’s time to let black-on-black-on-black-on-black to die. It was cool back in the day when it appeared on high-end supercars and luxury cars. The matte black everything look was somehow edgy and made you and your car look tough.
Now, in 2019, the trend is tired and the fact that you can purchase a brand new Chrysler Minivan murdered out from the factory should tell you all you need to know about the fad. It’s run its course and manufacturers are trying to use it to make terribly-mundane cars seem more interesting than they really are.
Amazingly, this trend started with Buick back in the 1950s. Buick called them “Ventiports” and they were a semi-functional styling cue to make their big sedans stand out. They even had meaning, as three-vents per side indicated a six-cylinder engine and four-vents per side indicated a V8 engine.
Fast forward to 2003 and the Buick Park Avenue, a bland semi-luxury barge that resurrected the porthole vent trend. Somehow, this became a “thing” and people wanted to emulate the style. The aftermarket was only to happy to oblige and flooded the market with cheap, cheesy, ill-advised stick-on vents. I have yet to see a car on which they look good.
Fake Wood Paneling
The original “Woody” cars of the 1940s and 1950s are cool, no doubt about it. They’re the quintessential surf car and an interesting idea in the world of automotive design. What isn’t interesting is fake wood paneling on an everyday boring-mobile. It makes the car look cheap and tacky.
The only thing worse than installing a fake-wood paneling kit on a boring car is buying one directly from the manufacturer. Ford, GM, Chrysler, and AMC all offer cars with genuine vinyl wood-look.
Hood scoops are typically reserved for the coolest cars, the fastest cars and the ones making so much horsepower that additional vents and air channels are necessary to feed the beast that lives under the hood. Maybe your car isn’t the fastest version but you want it to look the part, a hood scoop can create the illusion of performance when there is none.
But like anything that is cheap, non-functional and held on with tape, it usually detracts from the look instead of adding to it. To make matters worse, car manufacturers regularly give their cars fake scoops and vents to create the perception of power.
Roll Call Logo Stickers
Roll call logo stickers are a custom touch that is meant to imitate the look of race cars. You can find the roll call logo stack on everything from Civics to minivans, no car, it would seem, is immune from the phenomenon.
But here’s the rub, on a race car, the logos displayed are typically teams’ or drivers’ sponsors. They’ve paid money or supplied parts to be on the side of the car. The vast majority of people who put roll call logo stickers on their cars have paid money to the company for the parts, then paid money to purchase the logos and then give the companies free marketing/advertising.
Patina on old cars and trucks can be cool and beautiful in the right circumstances. Patina tells a story, the life story of a particular vehicle and all that it has lived through. In some cases it adds value to the car or truck and has become a coveted look for people wanting that well-used and well-loved vibe.
Fake patina is like lying, it’s giving the car or truck a back story that it never had. When you wrap a car in fake patina, it looks… well, fake. Am I really supposed to believe that the plastic bumpers on your 3 year old car are rusting?
Fart Can Exhaust
A “fart-can” exhaust can be identified in the real-world two ways: First, the car is loud just for the sake of being loud and somehow manages to sound worse than in stock form. Second, the exhaust tip is large enough that other cars or the owner of the car shelter inside it when it rains.
Big exhaust tip, louder without sounding better, and fantasy horsepower increases are the hallmark of a good fart can exhaust.
Tinted Headlight/Taillight Covers
Your headlights have one job, to illuminate the road and objects as you drive at night. Why would you cover them up with a dark tint to make them less effective? It’s like installing square wheels, they look unique but are far less effective than the stock wheels that came with the car!
We get the idea behind these tinted covers, it gives the car or truck a blacked-out look, which can occasionally be cool. But why would you want your car to look cool and not function properly?
Bumper stickers live only in the United States and Canada. It’s a phenomenon that is limited to North America, and you can go weeks in Europe without ever seeing a car with a sticker on it. Why do we want everyone behind us to know what we think about our honor student/alma mater/political preference/environmentalism?
No bumper sticker has ever started a conversation, no bumper sticker has ever made anyone change their opinion on anything! Weirdly, you’d never wear a t-shirt that says the same thing as your bumper sticker, so why does anyone waste time, energy and money with these things?
Truck Fender Flares Without Upsized Tires
“I want a custom accessory for my pickup truck that is non-functional, makes people believe I drive off-road and looks awkward when I leave the stock wheels on.” – No One Ever.
We don’t know how this became a trend, but in recent years there appears to be more and more pickup trucks that have off-road fender flares without upsized wheels and tires. It’s awkward looking and gives the impression that the owner only had enough in the customizing budget for the flares.
Don’t do this to your car and don’t let your friends do this to their cars. See something, say something, friends don’t let friends donk their rides. This is the exact opposite of stanced as donks are lifted and then fitted with cartoonishly large wheels.
It’s not a good look and is guaranteed to completely ruin your driving experience with a spine-shattering ride and nebulous handling. How do these trends become a thing? Where was I when this all started happening, I could have done something about it!
Under Car Lights
Pavement is, for the most part, intensely uninteresting. No one ever thinks about it, except maybe construction workers and civil engineers, so who thought it would be neat to illuminate it in an obnoxious color by lights hanging from the bottom of a car? How does this add anything to the car? Why is pavement illumination important? Why is the most popular color nuclear waste green?
There are so many questions we have about this trend. Most underglow lighting is illegal in the United States if on while driving, so if showing off that beautiful piece of concrete you’re parked over is important to you, be careful.
Angry Jeep Face
Never once have we thought cars would be better if they appeared to be on the cusp of a rage-tantrum all the time. It’s important to note that modern car design has all skewed toward an aggressive looking front end, but the “angry face” phenomena seems to be most popular with Jeep Wranglers.
Why would you want to drive an angry car every day? And why would you want everyone on the road with you to think that you’re on the verge of “snapping?” It’s a mystery for the ages. Being happy is better than being mad.
Fake Engine Noise
Fake engines noise that’s projected in the cabin by the speakers is one trend in modern cars that really bothers us. It’s kind of like cheating and leaves a bad taste in your mouth. BMW is by far the worst offender, although other companies do it too.
Fake engine noise tells the owner that the company couldn’t be bothered to engineer a good sounding motor, and instead of investing time in tuning the actual exhaust, it was just easier to fake it. Unfortunately this is a sign of the times, but hopefully, we can banish this trend to the past.
Is this even street legal? The owner of this car decided the best thing to do was slant all their wheels. This can’t be good for the car. How often is this person buying new tires?
Aside from the pocketbook hurting thanks to this expensive mod, does anyone really think it looks good? Whatever mechanic did this must have done it for the money and not publicity. They probably even asked the driver to not tell people the name of their shop!
Small Wheels On A Big Car
We can’t believe this is becoming a trend. For the longest time car buyers believed that bigger was better, especially when it came to their tires. This person decided not to follow the trend, instead putting small tires on a big car.
Honestly, there is nothing about this abomination that looks “cool.” The fact that this is even becoming trendy makes us sad inside. If you are considering do this to your ride, we implore you to think twice.
This picture is not an optical illusion. Some sad person decided they wanted to turn their Corvette into a Smart Car. What do you think? Did it work? Would you be caught driving this on the freeway?
Our best guess is that the driver owned a Smart car, and decided to “upgrade” it. The final product, while less than desirable, is definitely something we could see starting a trend. At the end of the day, lets hope we’re wrong.
This trend is only acceptable if you are diehard fan of certain cartoons. We honestly get why a Hello Kitty obsessed person would turn their car’s interior into a living animation.
The problem is that as thing trend gets more and more popular, more auto owners will do it just to fit in. Suddenly you’ll have casual Scooby fans driving around ready to solve crimes in the Honda Civic Mystery Machine. Yeah, that’s going to be a pass from us.
As funny as it might be to drive around in your Liam Nissan, after a few hours, you won’t be laughing. Other people will be, just not with you. Can you handle that?
Like cartoon interiors, this trend is almost acceptable. When you see how extreme it can get, however, you know that it needs to end. If you’ve already spent the money doing this to your car, please go to your mechanic and ask for a refund.
A “New Car”
We already talked about adding fake car icons to “upgrade” your vehicle, but the next level is modding your body to make your commuter car a luxury wannabe. This might be worse than the Smart Corvette.
This person wanted a Bugatti, but obviously could never afford one, so they did the best they could with their Toyota. Maybe it’s a Honda or a Ford. All we really know is that this weird vehicle is not a Bugatti!
Your Car Is Too Shiny
Don’t be like this person. This car isn’t just ugly, it’s also a driving hazard. The best thing to do when you see this “bad boy” on the freeway is to get as far away as possible.
Why, you ask? The sun is going to reflect on the golden wrapping and blind you. This type of hazardous paint should honestly be illegal. Especially when it matches the tires. Did this person want to drive a real-life Hot Wheels model?
But Does It Fly?
No one thinks this is cool except the person driving it. We sincerely hope it’s advertising for a movie or television show or Pizza Planet. Nothing else is acceptable to us.
Is it supposed to be a spaceship? Maybe it’s a Transformer? We don’t know and we don’t want to know. The only good thing about this car is that when Mad Max finally happens this person is ready to be at the top of the food chain during the fight for gasoline.
Too Much Stereo
Unless you’re planning on holding the world’s first freeway concert series, please don’t do this to your car. How much bass do you really need? How much does everyone in a 20-mile radius of you need?
These are the questions that need to be answered when you consider turning the back of your car into the world’s dumbest stereo system. Also, and most importantly, you’ve now made it impossible to bring groceries home from the grocery store.
The Smart Tank
Okay, this is definitely cooler than the Smart Corvette, but it’s still pointless. Is anyone really ever going to be scared of a Smart Car, no matter how much stuff you put on it?
The worst part about this is now there really is no purpose to the car. It’s going drive too slow to be worth taking on the road. It’s just an expensive modification that no one asked for and that the owner will only ever drive a few times.
Dash Covers Look Really Stupid
Certain generations enjoy covering their dashboard with fuzzy fabric. You know what we’re talking about… Supposedly, these dash covers protect your dashboard from cracking due to sun damage. But have you ever actually even seen a cracked dashboard?
There’s also the argument that the dash cover will prevent dust from building up, but we all know that it’s still there. It’s just lurking in your fabric dash cover instead. Let’s go ahead and let these die…
Some drivers like to flaunt what they got, and others like to make it up. It’s more common than you might think for people to slap a fake badge on their car, claiming that they have a special edition of their car model.
You can easily pick these up at AutoZone or online, but why would you want to? What will you say when someone asks what your car has that makes it “type R”? That will be a pretty embarrassing (and totally avoidable) situation.
Exposed Fiberglass Speakers
We get it, your car has speakers. Ours does too. Exposed fiberglass speaker enclosures scream, “I just got my license and first car!” They most likely had one of their friends hook them up with their employee discount at Best Buy to get these ridiculous-looking speakers.
We’re not sure who the first person was to think this look is cool, but we should all probably stop listening to that person. It’s best to keep your weird taste in speakers confined to your home.
It’s Time To Break Up With The Mudflap Girls
How many of these have you seen throughout your lifetime? Whatever the number, it’s too many. Sure, at one point this was a scandalous and guilty pleasure item to have featured on your truck (it’s always a truck, right?) but we’ve moved on from our juvenile days and it’s time for others to do the same.
Do everyone on the road a favor and take off your sexy twin lady mud flaps, decals, and stickers. Maybe it will help you finally get a date.
Your Car Doesn’t Need The Support
Another accessories designed to “save your ride” that’s totally worthless and stupid-looking are car bras. Seriously? Like putting a vinyl cover on a small portion of your automobile is really going to save you in the long run.
It barely covers any of the body of the car and looks really lame. Who cares that it’s protecting the front end of your car from bugs and rocks if you never even see the front end of the car because it’s under a vinyl bra anyway? Next!
You Are Not Batman
Please repeat after us: “I am not Batman.” There, now look at your car again and realize the huge mistake you’ve made. That’s right, you turned your SUV into the Batmobile, and now every criminal in Gotham has put a bullseye on you.
The worst part about this car is that it’s a modified SUV. The middle portion of the body is just weird. What kind of car you use matters when you are planning on turning it into a famous movie icon!
Red Is Overrated
We get it, you drive a fast car. It doesn’t need to be painted red. Seriously, why does every fast car on the freeway seem to be painted red? If you drive a Ferrari, this message is not for you.
If you drive anything else, let the trend die. Try a different color, maybe start a new trend. You know police look for red cars when they’re filling their quotas. Don’t become just another statistic.
Remember our problem with the Batmobile? Consider this the reverse of that problem. There is a reason sedans don’t come with a flatbed option. It doesn’t look good. Car companies tried it once. ONCE.
Even worse is that someone would turn their Corvette in a pickup. If you’re going to take a sedan or sports car and do this, at least don’t do it to a classic muscle car. That’s just blasphemous on too many levels.
Six Wheels Are Not Better Than Four
We don’t really know what to write about this six-wheel disaster, but we’re going to try our best. All you need on a car are four wheels. Four is the perfect number of wheels. Let’s hope this is photoshopped.
Six wheels make your car look like a big metal insect, and that’s just scary. This car is not cool. We really hope those middle tires aren’t functional because that’s the only way this mod wouldn’t be disastrously expensive. How much would spend on this?
That’s Too Literal
If you drive a Jaguar and get a custom paint job of a jaguar face on your car, you might have a problem. We get it, this person drives a luxury car named after a cat!
The best case scenario is that whoever drives this is just a big fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars. That doesn’t make the car look any cooler, but at least it would explain a thing or two. Would you get behind the wheel of this feline?