With the sun shining and the temperature reaching 70 degrees, I decided to hop in my Miata and go run a few errands yesterday. “Running errands” is a great excuse to get out of the house – ahem, office – and get some fresh air. The only downside is other humans like fresh air, too. And many of them have crudely customized cars.
Case in point: I was sitting at an intersection, leaning my head back to get a base tan, when I heard a series of small, muffled explosions. Suddenly my car started vibrating. “Oh, my God,” I thought. “It’s the big one. I’m doing to die.” But wait…it wasn’t an earthquake, and there wasn’t an armed insurgency going on in the next town. All that commotion was coming from the unlikeliest of places: a tiny little Honda Civic parked next to me. It had darkened purple widows, a huge, unnecessary spoiler, gaudy chrome rims, and a live concert going on inside – the kind people get stabbed at.
The vibration from the car’s thundering bass caused my teeth to chatter. I wanted to laugh out loud, but there were some shady-looking characters inside, as evidenced by the vague outline of a sideways cap and the glint of several gold chains, so I kept my eyes straight ahead. As soon as the light turned green I took a left and the Honda hurried along towards whatever drive-by shooting it was late for.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with customizing cars. Kids did it in my day, too. It’s just that it was less intimidating back then. We didn’t listen to gangsta rap. We listened to John Denver. “Rocky Mountain High” was as rebellious as we got. (Get it? High?) We had the same purple window tint, but it came in rolls and never quite fit the window. We had chrome wheels, too, but our selection was limited to Cragar or American Racing rims. We didn’t have spoilers the size of picnic tables, because we realized a car with a top speed of 80mph didn’t have a big issue with down force. Hood scoops were big. Ten bucks and some double-face tape and you were the only kid in town with a blower on your Ford Country Squire Wagon.
There were the big ticket items, too, like fog lights and driving lights. Show up at a party with those babies and it was obvious you were there to rape and pillage, or at the very least smoke a cigarette. If you really wanted to splurge, there was the light-up hood ornament. J.C. Whitney had a selection of about 300, including the swan with the red plastic light-up wings and the guy with the red eyes thumbing his nose. Talk about class. Not much has changed overall. Kids still outfit their cars with whatever crap they find at Pep Boys and cruise around town without a shred of self-awareness. It’s all in good fun.
Photos courtesy of: www.failads.com, ghettoredhot, google images
Article courtesy of Chris Raymond