QOTD: Totally Embarrassing Mods?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
qotd totally embarrassing mods

The SEMA show kicks off today in Vegas, not that any of the general public will be allowed to wander inside the convention center halls. Bizarrely, given the amount of money spent in the aftermarket every year by real people, SEMA is a trade event and only those toiling in the automotive aftermarket industry are deemed worthy of a badge.

I digress. There’s a very good chance that most of us, especially in our younger years, spend our hard earned cash on very suspect and — in retrospect — totally embarrassing aftermarket gear for our rides.

Your author is not immune. Far from it, in fact. My first set of wheels was an ill-kept and rather poorly-running Ford Escort. Nevertheless, it represented the freedom to drive that your car-addled narrator so dearly craved. Canadian Tire in Gander hoovered up far too many of my meagre dollars, with many terrible items such as NASCAR windshield banners and aftermarket fog lights festooning the poor little hatchback.

Once that car quit, it was replaced with … another Ford Escort. No, I never learn. At least it was the Mazda-based iteration. That machine saw all manner of ill-advised items tossed at it, from big-buck audio systems worth several times the car’s value to body parts gleaned from an Escort GT. The engine, unsurprisingly, remained untouched. There wasn’t much call for aftermarket support on that asthmatic 1.9-liter.

I wised up after this brace of Escorts, shovelling money into a late-model Lincoln Mark VII like a stevedore stacks cargo onto a ship. At least these mods were of the speed variety, ranging from engine internals to stout rear-end gears.

What modification or accessory from one of your past cars falls squarely into the “I definitely shouldn’t have done that” category? It could be a well intentioned go-fast mod that didn’t work out, or maybe it’s something that doesn’t exactly pass the Cool Test thirty years later.

I’m not sure most of my stuff passed the Cool Test at all.

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  • THX1136 THX1136 on Oct 31, 2018

    I remember putting prismatic pinstriping on my 72 Charger alongside the pinstriping that was there already. I had seen a 73 with the same treatment and it looked really cool at night. Also bought some wide prismatic stuff from JC Whitney, drew up my version of what I thought the Charger logo should be, cut out the individual letters and stuck that on the back of the trunk lid left side. Unfortunately it wasn't the best quality stuff and quickly clouded up and became quite un-reflective. Perhaps not embarrassing, but in poor taste?

  • Willyam Willyam on Oct 31, 2018

    Ok, I never did it because my ride had a case of the slow, but every one of my friends with a Chevelle, F-body, G-body, Mustang, etc., put trailer lights on their solid axle. They installed air shocks (or worse, shackles, eek) and wired two orange or red or green or whatever lights to the axle tubes. These could be seen at night as extra lights way under the taillights, and you knew that a possible race opponent was cruising up ahead of you, and might fall over on you sideways. What was this about? By the early 90's, any V8 coupe I had remained firmly at stock height or below, so it didn't last very long as a trend, thankfully.

  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
  • Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.
  • Marvin Im a current owner of a 2012 Golf R 2 Door with 5 grand on the odometer . Fun car to drive ! It's my summer cruiser. 2006 GLI with 33,000 . The R can be money pit if service by the dealership. For both cars I deal with Foreign car specialist , non union shop but they know their stuff !!! From what I gather the newer R's 22,23' too many electronic controls on the screen, plus the 12 is the last of the of the trouble free ones and fun to drive no on screen electronics Maze !
  • VoGhost It's very odd to me to see so many commenters reflexively attack an American company like this. Maybe they will be able to find a job with BYD or Vinfast.