Look what you’ve done. You’ve only gone and devalued your car, increased your insurance premium, added weight to the vehicle and made it more difficult to sell in the future apart from to Barbary apes of your own breed. What am I talking about? Well, none other than car modifications!
There are a few modifications that I don’t actually mind too much – and those tend to be things that go on under the hood. I have a bit of respect for you if you know how to sort out your valve timings, a stainless steel exhaust and a sports induction kit from HKS. What I won’t tolerate though is your ‘uprating‘ (read destroying) a perfectly good car but adding all manner of ridiculous plastic gubbins and fat exhausts.
Over in the UK, we have the type of people known as ‘chavs’. You may or may not have heard of them, but they are either those who get a bad rap for nothing, or the lower rungs of society who like nothing better than to get boozed up, steal cars and laugh about it while rolling each other in supermarket trolleys afterwards.
Anyway, you’ll tend to find that it’s the chav community who like to do up their wheels, but not necessarily so. Let’s look at a very recent example of car modification that really annoyed me. Knowing that the new style of Subaru Impreza has been released (they’ve gone from the usual saloon to a rather iffy looking hatchback), I thought this would be a good time to get a new set of rather speedy wheels. So duly off I went to the local used dealership to see what I can find.
I’ll grant you, in this case I was maybe asking a bit much – a car that wasn’t too old, not too many miles and it had to be UNMODIFIED. The reason that I specify that is that the Subaru Impreza is a powerful machine, well the WRX is anyway, and the STI variants. They are the models that you frequently see racing in the world rallying stages etc. I wanted one that was unmodified so I could have the pure Subaru experience – a car to be driven as intended.
Anyway, when I got to the dealership, I actually found a model I quite liked. I don’t normally go for anything too flashy, but this was in two colours. Nice. A bit like a car I made in Forza Motorsport 2 on the Xbox 360 actually. So, I took a look all the way around it. Non-standard alloys – okay, I could live with that. Fat exhaust – maybe I couldn’t live with that if the volume was too much. Ridiculous flared arches and rear spoiler (along with stickers and various other rubbish) – this I could not live with.
A genuinely good-looking car had been wrecked by someone deciding that not only could the car do with engine mods (so you would be looking at less than 15MPG) but also a whole new bodykit. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some good-looking modifications to cars – but these tend to be few and far between. What I think people fail to realise is that years of work has gone into building these machines – not just another 10 kilos of fibreglass.
The next time you’re looking at tinted windows, think about whether they are really going to benefit you. As for those larger alloys – well okay, you might sit on the road a little better, but bear in mind that the ride quality may suffer. Do you want the fat exhaust? Well please pick up the hospital bill for the poor dear who you give the next heart attack to…
On another note, I haven’t yet got my Subaru (or Scooby as some call them). I was put off recently by an experience when I was driving back home quite late. There was a total of three lanes and some idiot came screaming up the left lane (the slower one) and shot past and off into the night. He was driving a Subaru Impreza STI – all 300BHP and no common sense I think.