Throughout the years the automobile has been the subject of countless tacky and tasteless trends. Arguably some are better than others, but in the end the majority of these are downright reprehensible. The 1960’s for example saw the advent of vinyl tops, the 1970’s brought us louvers that covered our rear windows and the 1980’s saw the creation of cars that actually talked to us via a funky digital microchips. Most of these trends were created by the automotive manufacturers themselves, but then in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s the aftermarket industry seemed to kick into high gear, and with that came some of the most heinous pieces of add-on trash the world has ever seen. Below is a quick list of five items that are thankfully starting to disappear into the annals of automotive history.
I remember seeing a set of spinners for the first time on an old Lincoln Navigator. I had pulled up to a light and actually did a double take as the big black truck next to me seemed to be rolling forward even though its body was still stationary. At first these were kinda’ cool, but then people realized that they had actually doubled the amount of rotating mass on their front wheels, thus warping their brake rotors. Combine this with the fact that they couldn’t get past 40 mph without the steering wheel vibrating out of their hands and they finally woke up. Thankfully the Spinner trend is all but dead, but if you hurry I’m sure you can still find a complete set for about $60 on ebay.
• Fart Pipes
Oh how the mighty have fallen. The fart pipe burst onto the scene in the late 1990’s. Import tuner guys were convinced that by putting a 4-inch sewer pipe opening on the back of their exhaust that they would gain at least 30 hp. The fart pipes name was given to it because it actually emits a sound that is very similar to what happens after a fly has eaten too much tex-mex. They’re actually quite pitiful really and while they do help the car breathe a little better, for the most part they’re all show and no go, as a fart pipe alone won’t do jack. Thankfully these coffee cans of doom are starting to fizzle out as people realize that you really need to modify the engine, not the exhaust to get real results.
• Big Wings
If you’re like me then you can’t help but laugh when you see a 3-foot wing on the back of a front wheel drive car. The fact of the matter is that most of the rear wings that you see on imports are not installed and or calibrated correctly, so for the most part they’re completely useless on your average street car. People however seem to love them and all through the last decade they’ve had no reservations about drilling holes in a perfectly good deck-lid to mount these suckers. They spend $700 on a wing, install it and proceed to lower the cars value by $3000.00. Yep, definitely money well spent.
• Body Kits
Where do we even start with these things. Like the rear wing before it, the idea behind a body kit was to enhance down force to help out with the cars aerodynamics as the car increased in speed. For the most part these kits are cheaply made, do not fit correctly and at the end of the day do more harm than good.
• Sticker kits
AWWWWWWW YEEEEEEEEEEAH!!!! Apex, NOS, DUB, Flowmaster, VTec, NISMO – all of which are stickers that I have seen plastered to the quarter panels of countless cars. Here’s a quick tip for those who utilize these as performance modifications – THEY DON’T MAKE YOUR CAR GO FASTER! So please… in the future, leave them off.