6 Vital Exterior Mods To Make Your Car Pop!

Unless you’re going for a sleeper look, having mad performance in the body of an AMC Gremlin isn’t impressive! Well, having performance in a Gremlin would be impressive, but that’s beside the point! If your car’s gonna walk the walk, it should talk the talk too! Turning heads before you even turn the key, garnering attention wherever you go, being the cleanest build out there, that’s what it’s about! It just takes a few steps to turn that little Gremlin into something others break their necks to stare at!


Having a beautiful exterior of a car can be split into two parts: the function, and the form. The function consists of your Wheels, Brakes, and Coilovers. These help your car drive better, by keeping you more connected to the road, as well as superior stopping power. The form consists of a Body Kit/Paint Job and a good, thorough Cleaning. The difference between a dirty car and a clean one is unmistakable, as is the difference between a stock car and one with a body kit. Sometimes a car doesn’t need a kit, however, in which case an attractive paint job will achieve the same goal.


Taking care of your car on the inside is well and good, but first impressions are made with the outside. Cram as much horsepower as you want under the hood, or the biggest sound system in the trunk if you’re into that. If your car looks like a Gremlin on the outside, others will see it as just a Gremlin.


(NOTE: I don’t hate the Gremlin. I think the idea is awesome, just poorly executed. No Gremlins were harmed in the making of this article!)



Picking Up The Right Wheels


While it sounds easy, using the right wheels is crucial! Taking the wheels off your Grandma’s Buick just because the bolt pattern is right doesn’t make it a show car! (Don’t try that at home, I’m sure Grandma won’t be too happy about her car being on blocks.) Thank goodness for our friends at FitmentIndustries, they have a gallery that shows what others have done to their cars! You can search down to your exact car, and see other people’s builds here: https://www.fitmentindustries.com/search-wheel-offset-gallery. They give wheel and tire specifications, what suspension they’re on, pretty much every exact detail you’d need to replicate their build!

However, ordering from their site isn’t always the cheapest place to get your wheels from. Sure, you get professionalism from them, but I personally wouldn’t pay the premium for it. For my cars, I’ve been trusting VividRacing to get my parts. From Enkeis to Volks, and every Rotiform in between, VividRacing will have just about every wheel you could want, at discount prices!


Setting your car on the perfect set of wheels can change the way people look at it. Some cars come with some gaudy rims stock (Grandma’s Buick), but set that same car on some RPF-1s, and you’ve got a decent car! Okay, that was a bit exaggerated, but my point still stands, wheels make a huge difference.



Performance and Looks, Go Brakes!


Even if you get your wheel game on point, having some grey stock calipers behind them and solid rotors doesn’t look very appealing. If you’re going to be stylizing your car, why not kill two birds with one upgrade, and get some nice brakes? One of the stand-out features of most supercars are the massive, bright red Brembo calipers behind their wheels, and the drilled/slotted rotors they’re on. If Lamborghini and Porsche trust their multi-million-dollar supercars to Brembo, I’d sure trust my cars to them!

Brembo doesn’t just offer aftermarket calipers, but entire big brake kits as well, including new rotors, calipers, and pads. Keep in mind that some calipers are made specifically for their big brake kits, so buy wisely! If you aren’t ready for bigger rotors, then just get the regular-sized calipers. That signature Brembo logo and bright red caliper will tell the story!


While getting a real set of Brembos is absolutely the best way to go, there is an alternative. It won’t make your brakes stand out, on the contrary, the goal would be to hide them. If you take your caliper off, and spray-paint it black, that can help take the focus off it and back on the wheel. There are also fake caliper covers out there, but that’s approaching ricer territory, like putting a GT badge on a V6 mustang, or Bentley logos on a Chrysler 300.



Get Low! Coilovers!


Even with the nicest rims and brakes in the world, if your car is a mile in the air, you won’t get the same presence as a lowered car. Not to mention it’ll still handle like a barge compared to the lowered car. Having that road-hugging appearance is what it’s all about! Whether you decide to go on bags, or a set of coilovers, your car will definitely look the part of an aggressive street machine! Some coilover kits include the necessary supporting mods, including tie rods, connecting arms, and other suspension items. For instance, this set from EnjukuRacing would fit a 2017 Civic Type R, and includes spanner wrenches and new upper mounts!


Getting your own set of Revel Coilovers is as easy as clicking the link, and ordering from EnjukuRacing. They even feature a price-matching feature on select items, if you find it cheaper elsewhereOn top of all that, they even have a payment plan through Affirm that lets you pay as low as $85 per month. With top-notch support teams, and possibly the greatest phone number known to man (888-SR20DET), they really bring their “A-game”!



Now For Form, Giving Your Car A Good Cleaning!


Take a good look at the picture on the left. Now, the one on the right. Notice the difference? One is properly taken care of and cleaned, while the other is caked in dust! Now, despite these both being $3.2 million dollar cars, if you were to roll up to a meet in the dirty one, you’d get some funny looks, and berated for not taking care of your car! Even if your build isn’t to everybody’s personal taste, if your car is clean, that invokes some respect. If you never wash your car and roll up super dirty, you can bet you won’t be getting any brownie points!


Taking good care of your car doesn’t only increase your presence, but it can drastically extend your car’s life! Dirt and grime will start to eat away at your paint job, as will sun fade. Keeping your car clean will prevent that grime from eating too much. The sun fade can be kept at bay with just a coat of wax!


My ’87 Porsche had decades worth of fade in the paint. It wasn’t quite as bad as that Ferrari on the left, but believe me, it was close! You couldn’t even see your own reflection, the paint was so far gone. All it took to get her gleaming again was a couple hours and some Produxa Premium Cleaner. I sprung for their whole car care package, and going through each step, the paint was getting better and better! By the end of the cleaning, she was so shiny that you could’ve used that paint to apply your makeup! To put it in perspective, I took this car to a local show, and had people driving McLarens and much newer Porsches asking about my cleaning routine! I’ve only got the cleaner to thank for giving my clapped-out Porsche that level of presence!



The Largest Impact, A Body Kit and Some Paint!


Some stock cars do look really good, don’t get me wrong. I love the look of the stock FD RX-7, the A80 Supra, the new Focus RS, and some other cars. Some cars need some love though, namely the 240SX, some BMWs, and the RX-8. Whether or not you like your car’s looks is your decision in the end, though. If you think you could do better, then body mods are your next option. Whether you go with a kit or just some individual parts to mix-and-match, you can almost completely customize your car! Some body mods actually do have performance gains, including some wings, canards/ground effects, and hood scoops. Others are completely cosmetic or offer very small benefits, such as side skirts. No matter what you’re looking for, odds are VividRacing has it for you, at some of the best prices anywhere!


Don’t let the lack of performance stop you, though! Make something nobody’s ever seen before! There’s nearly an infinite number of body combinations with how many different kits there are, so take advantage of that! If you aren’t decided, then ask some other people online what body kits they have, and take parts of each one that you like to make your own. Installing most body kits is fairly simple as well, with the biggest requirement being time. You’ll usually receive these parts with just a primer coat on them, so the next step would be to get your car painted.


I’ll level with you, I don’t have the skills to paint a car and have it look nice. I’m envious of those who have access to paint booths, and the steady hand it takes to evenly coat a car. However, I do know people that have both these, and have painted some of my items before (trailers, cars, even a golf cart). Whether or not you ended up getting a body kit, having a paint job is a crucial step in getting your car to stand out!


Giving Your Car Smooth Vibes With Lighting Kits


Whether your build is bagged or on coilovers, has Rotiforms or Volks, is classic muscle or a modern import, lighting is crucial to your car’s build. Lights are one of the most versatile mods that you can do to a car, ranging from footwell glow to full underbody lighting kits. From my experience in lighting up cars, I’ve found that Oracle Lighting has a fantastic selection of products to light almost any car.


Alongside their selection, Oracle has a fantastic blog section featuring articles such as How To Use LED Strip Lights On Your Car And Beyond, in which they go over many uses of their lighting products, both automotive and non-automotive! The perfect example of their lighting at work is their sponsored Formula Drift car, the twin-turbo 1,400HP Dodge Viper. This specific Viper made me fall in love with this generation, thanks to the menacing aura from those lights!


As a drift enthusiast, if I've owned the car, you can bet it's been sideways! Honda S2000, Chrysler Crossfire, 1987 Porsche (only once, *never again*), and my babies, my 1995 Notch-top SR 240SX and 1991 Red-top SR 240SX. I've had a ton of fun, and I'm looking forward to sharing my experiences, tips, and recommendations with you all!

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