Everyone has their own taste and style and you need to find yours and then build your car to make you happy. Don't try and copy someone else because whats the point of building a custom car that isn't what you want.
Don't worry about what other people on forums say about your car. I have to sit through American Idol with my wife but Simon Cowell said something that I really liked the other night.
"There are a lot of people that are going to love that, genuinely there's going to be a lot of people that are going to hate it. That to me is actually quite a good place to be rather than being indifferent and boring."
- Simon Cowell 2010
I'm sure that first person who decided to paint their car "flat black" took a beating from people who were used to paint being glossy and shiny. For every person who thought it looked mean and menacing there was someone who though it looked like "primer".
No matter what style car you are going for there are some things that are constant throughout. These tips are also good even if you don't want to go after sponsors but are just trying to build your car.
Start with rims and drop. These two mods combined make the car in my opinion. A good looking set of rims in the correct fit with the perfect drop can set a car off. Save your money and resist doing the little mods before you do rims and drop.
I like to do an exhaust after rims and drop since it hits a little of both exterior and performance. I always like to go with a catback setup but stop short of replacing cats due to not liking check engine lights. Do your research and listen to clips of the exhaust online.
The next step after you have your rims and drop done for me is a body kit. When you look at things that make an immediate and noticeable impact it just makes sense. I am going to give you a valuable piece of information learned from years of experience, you get what you pay for and nothing ever fits perfectly.
There are two places you can spend your money when it comes to body kits, upfront or at the body shop.
There are a ton of places that sell full kits for under $500. The problem with these kits are they don’t even come close to fitting. Your body shop will have to spend hours or cutting, fiber-glassing and modifying to get it to fit without gaps. Spend the money up front and go with a quality name brand kit, it will save you a ton of money in installation and you body guy won’t hate you.
Check your body guy out like you would any other service. Get references from prior customers, look at their past work. Also don’t just look at the owners car or a shop car. Body shops will often take greater care and time on their personal car then they do on customer cars.
Take whatever time frame a body guy tells you and double it, but be ready if it takes 3 times as long. Body shops are notorious for under quoting time frames on custom work. An often overlooked place when painting a car is under the hood. Nothing looks worse that a nice candy red car with a green engine bay. Painting the engine bay to match you car is very expensive and normally requires removing your engine. If you have a choice and you are buying a car to modify and do a color change on, get a black car. This way when you paint the car all you have to do is mask off the engine bay and it still looks nice and clean.
If you don’t have the luxury of specifically getting a car to modify and you don’t have a black car there are still a few options. The first is to stay in the same color family as your car. If your car is green, paint it a different green. This still does not look perfect but at least it’s not a glaring difference.
The third option takes a little time and effort but it can be done. What you need to do is tape off everything that you can see and take out anything that is easily removed. Then have the engine bay sprayed black. If done properly this can be very effective.
Now that you have your car planned and built its time to take it to the shows and get some exposure. In Part 5 I am going to go over some car show tips and tricks.