Car Modifications Are Easiest with These Lucky 13 Models
Pretty much any car can be customized but not everyone is up to the challenge. Entry level gearheads need to start somewhere and one of the easiest jumping-on points is to get your greasy hands on an affordable car that’s easily customizable. Luckily for you, there’s a wide variety of options, so it’s easy to find a make and model to suit your style. And from there, anything that doesn’t quite work for you can be modified away. Here are your best options for smooth, simple car modifications:
1.) Acura Integra
Honestly, an Acura can set you back a bit when compared to the other customizable cars on this list; especially if you’re fortunate enough to find the coveted Honda Type R or really any 3rd generation Integras for that matter. However, the price tag is worth it for the ease of customization and reliable base.
2.) BMW M3
All of the Series 3 Bimmers offer a nearly perfect platform for flashy results thanks largely to a tight rear-wheel drive chassis. The M3 is obviously the most desirable of the Series 3 models due to its high performance but snagging any used Series 3 at a decent price is fairly easy and will do the trick nicely.
3.) Ford Mustang
While car modifications have been going on since the heyday of the Model T, there was something of a customization renaissance when Carrol Shelby designed the GT 350. But the surge in custom modifications spiked yet again in the ‘80s with the advent of the Fox Body, a style forever married to the muscle car. The Mustang beautifully straddles the line between hotrod and racer, offering appeal to gearheads throughout its evolution and showing that it’s easily adaptable to shifting trends in custom upgrades without sacrificing its distinct character.
4.) Honda Civic/Si
Even if you’re new to customization, you probably know someone who’s done some custom upgrades on a Honda Civic. They’re literally everywhere which, in this case, isn’t a bad thing. The Civic is one of the most affordable starting points for a prospective customizer, though it’s advisable to keep an eye out for the stylish Si model. Also, any of the models released before 2000 are a gift to tuners that want an easier engine to work on. However, be wary of low grade generic knock-off parts. The popularity of the Civic has flooded the market with subpar parts from companies trying to make a fast buck from rising interest in DIY car modifications.
5.) Lexus SC 300/400
I know what you’re thinking: “An easily customizable Lexus? Really?” Really. The SC 300 and 400 models aren’t quite like the other Lexus models, instead presenting a generous engine bay ideal for a V8 and a more polished design. You can get your hands on a used SC 300 or 400 for next to nothing so, while they may not be the most obvious options, you may find yourself tempted by the path less traveled.
6.) Mazda MX-5 Miata
For those of you who want to easily transform a sports car into a decent racer, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is as good a place to start as any. Seen as the “everyman’s roadster”, this car’s abundance is actually one of the reasons it’s so sought after among tuners; upgraded parts are plentiful. With a little know-how, it’s also a fairly basic process to remove the factory 4-cylinder engine and drop in a V8.
7.) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
If you’re not interested in customizing your car for the track, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution will have nothing for you. However, this model is a fan favorite in racing circles, coming equipped with turbocharged engines that can simply be amplified to even larger turbos for excellence on the track. The video games weren’t lying; it’s really that good.
8.) Nissan 240SX/300ZX
Nissan crafted a brilliant drifter with the 240SX and an equally brilliant racer with the 300ZX. The 240SX boasts a nearly invincible powertrain engine combined with a rear-wheel drive chassis for drifting agility but it’s also affordable and highly customizable thanks to a bounty of body kits. The 300ZX is somewhat less desirable since it’s plagued with issues ranging from claustrophobic engine bays to common but serious electrical problems. Yet, it also offers a unique opportunity to get some hands on experience working with an urban racer.
9.) Porsche 911
Okay, so maybe not every car on this list is your cheapest option but the potential for customization in the Porsche 911 was just too good to pass up. Look high and low and you’ll be hard-pressed to find any sports car of this caliber with such extensive custom upgrade support. If you’ve got the money and the knowledge, it just might be worth it.
10.) Scion FR-S/tC/xB
The Scions may be unassuming additions to this list but for all their setbacks they also offer their own unique benefits to those new to custom car modifications. First, the Scion FR-S which is a joint effort between Subaru and Toyota, boasts an impressive body design ripe for customized spoilers and turbo upgrades. The main selling points for the tC are its rock bottom price tag (even on the lot) and a market saturated with body mods and other custom options. But the most unlikely model to make an appearance on this list is the xB, which has the distinction of looking similar to Frankenstein’s head. So why the xB? Turboboosting the engine is relatively simple and, compared to other models, it features one of the most customizable interiors. But, yeah, it is shaped like a box.
11.) Subaru Impreza WRX/STI
If you’re main reason for getting into customization is turbo power, look no further than the Subaru Impreza. The WRX and STI were born for power upgrades but that’s not to say they don’t start strong on their own, proudly presenting a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. Obviously, racing mods are the most popular upgrades with the Impreza.
12.) Toyota Corolla
Between ’84 and ’87, the Toyota Corolla was built with rear-wheel drive making those the years to aim for if you want an affordable model with a fairly basic engine that’s not much of a challenge to rebuild.
13.) Volkswagen Golf/GTI
Volkswagen gearheads love the GTI thanks to a highly saturated market of customized upgrades and the fact that it’s a hatchback that actually looks cool. Beyond the aftermarket deluge, tuners often focus on upping the control factor of the GTI for optimum performance on the track.
Again, car modifications can be applied to any make and model depending on your level of expertise. But if you’re just starting out as a fledgling tuner, you may find it best to cut your teeth on one of these 13 options. Weigh your budget against your tastes and dive in.