How Have You Modified Your Car and To What Extent?
Photography by Josh Clason for Petrolicious
I can’t explain it—it just happens. And I bet it happens to a lot of you. I would say it’s almost a gift, but it happens to cost real money. I am speaking about the “slippery slope,” a fallacious argument that hypothesizes that a tiny first step leads to a chain of related events culminating into something much bigger. That is what happens when I buy a car, but instead of bigger, I start down the slippery slope of making it better.
Now, of course making a car better is a completely subjective idea. It could mean making the car perform better by performing modifications that will help it accelerate, turn, or brake better, because we’re not trying to make them slower and worse to drive, are we? It could be cosmetic, altering the appearance of the car mildly or wildly—aesthetically modded to your pleasure. It may involve converting the car into a home theater on wheels by adding amps, speakers, and screens, although why one would do this to the type of vehicles we love here at Petrolicious where the real pleasure is derived from driving, is beyond me. The point is that I, and many others, cannot drive a car without personalizing it in some way by modifying it.
It usually begins as that tiny first step I was talking about—something innocuous such as a shift knob, perhaps one that fits better in the hand, or weighted for nice positive-feeling shifts. That won’t cost terribly too much,would it? It makes the car feel like it’s mine…but then it snowballs (although some might say “progresses”) from there. If I’ve gone to the trouble of changing the shift knob, I should probably change the shift mechanism, so I could upgrade to a solid short shift kit with superior bushings for more positive shifting. And since that now feels so nice, I may as well do a few other things “while I’m in there,” and before you know it the car has an upgraded suspension, exhaust, and engine management system. Wait, didn’t I just want to change the shift knob originally?
Regardless of where it starts and how much it costs, the slippery slope of modifying cars is a passion for many that can be both rewarding and frustrating at the same time. I do it because I enjoy a project, of creating and improving things, and because I want my car to behave exactly as I want it to. It is a need to personalize, make it my own. How many of you have modified your car and once completed enjoy the personal satisfaction? That’s why we modify cars.
But where does the slippery slope end?
Click here to watch our video of Steve Strope’s Martini Mustang.
Click here to watch our video of Dave Scholz’s beautiful Datsun.