10 Customization Moves
Any car can use a little augmentationâ€”for style, power, performance.
Illustration by Stephen Rountree
1. CLEAR THE REAR
Clear taillights became popular because of their simplicity-customizers found the existing mix of red, white, and amber distracting. Sets from American Products Co. fit most small cars (prices vary); be sure to install tinted bulbs so the lights glow red or amber.
2. PUMP UP THE AUDIO
Big sound is vital on a custom car, and Jensen’s SRP2002 Plug-N-Play Sirius satellite radio receiver provides the biggest for the money. It plugs into your sound system with standard RCA plugs, and includes a magnetic antenna for the roof. Invest in public-address-grade amps and speakers and you can provide CD-quality sound for an entire tailgate.
3. ADD A HIGH-DEF VIDEO
Why stop at giant audio? Clarion’s VRX925VD is one of the best aftermarket audio and video systems you can buy. Along with Sirius radio, it plays CDs and MP3s through its 200-watt in-dash sound system. And you can watch DVDs on its
7-inch pop-up monitor.
4. SQUEEZE MORE HORSES INTO THE STABLE
Exhaust-driven turbochargers, belt-driven superchargers, and nitrogen oxide systems continue to be popular additions. Consider: The $6,000 Accessible Technologies P-1SC ProCharger increases a Corvette’s horsepower by 55 percent.
5. MORE POWER, PART 2
Here’s another way: high-flow air filters and low-restriction intake ducts. They make it easier for engines to breathe, maximizing horsepower. AEM’s Cold Air Intake, for example, adds 1
to 3 horsepower.
6. A FINAL WORD ABOUT POWER
A header and low-restriction muffler relieve exhaust back-pressure, improving power and fuel economy. Most parts are hidden, so a popular detail is a chrome exhaust tip, here from B&B Performance.
7. WORK THAT BODY
If you’re the type who likes Vin Diesel, consider a spoiler, air dam, duct, custom hood, or wing. We like the product selection from Wings West-it’s not limited to generic subcompacts.
Price: $600 and up.
8. WHEN IT COMES TO WHEELS, THINK BIGGER
Extra-large wheels, 20 inches or more, are a must. Wrap ’em in low-profile tires like Pirelli’s P-Zero Nero, the latest in high-performance street rubber. New aramid fibers give the Nero a comfortable ride with grip to spare.
Price: $1,500 and up.
9. STOPPING IS KEY TOO
With giant wheels, you’ll want bigger cross-drilled and slotted rotors, such as the Baer EradiSpeed+1 (shown, $688). The race-inspired Extreme+ brake system with six-piston calipers costs $3,795.
10. GO LOW OR AIM HIGH
If you own a car, you’ll want to lower it for that racecar appearance. If you have a truck, you’ll want to raise it to suggest it’s Rubicon-worthy. That means new springs.
Prices vary: Arospeed’s Generation II Full Coilover setup for most compact cars will set you back $699.