Modding your car the way you want it is what takes up an enthusiast’s time – and budget. As one may have seen on various car-specific boards, the possible combinations for upgrading your car are endless, from simple carbon fiber trim to performance-enhancing mods that literally break the bank.
Few are blessed with an open budget when it comes to modding a car. The show car builds that one sees done on YouTube or TV are often the result of corporate sponsorship, to showcase a product or business. And not everyone has parents as understanding as Chris Rado. More realistically, a project car done by the real world modder is the result of several months, even years, of off and on work. And while the end result may not be as flashy as the showcase examples you see at SEMA or on social media, there is no replacement for the sense of pride and satisfaction in being able to complete a project according to your vision.
Many times though, over enthusiasm on the part of the owner results in a modding or upgrade path that is haphazard. What we’re talking about here is foregoing basic car maintenance and spending the money instead on upgrade parts. Example, buying a set high output HID lights when your battery already needs to be replaced. Or opting for a set of high temp brake pads when your caliper seals show signs of leakage. As a car nut, it’s inevitable, expected even, for you to put your personal stamp on the car you own. But there’s no sense in undertaking upgrades at the expense of a well-running car or worse, reducing the safety margins designed into the car. Imagine bragging about your new high output lights and then getting stranded in the parking lot because the battery can’t cope. Talk about egg on your face.
A basic part of car ownership is being aware of the cost of maintaining your ride. And it’s pretty obvious that different cars have different maintenance costs. A Civic will probably set you back a thousand bucks each year for basic maintenance (and that’s a comfortable amount), but be prepared to spend twice or thrice that for a BMW M3 a generation or two back. While that may seem like a lot, do bear in mind that with an M3, you are getting stock what it would take you thousands of dollars in upgrades to get from your Honda. And despite the fact that Honda does make pretty good cars, the Japanese company currently doesn’t have an answer to that icon of driving excellence.
Nowadays, the Internet allows you to roam and go through a much wider display of project car possibilities and get ideas for your own ride. Don’t forget though that your project car still needs basic maintenance as much as the dorky commuter ride sitting next to you at the lights.