We put the call out on the Hagerty Forums last week to tell us about the modifications and customizations you did on your car—only to regret it later. Customizing cars is a rite of passage and can be rewarding. There is nothing like being able to pick out your red coupe in a crowd because of the custom touches you have done.
However, it seems a more than a few of us—myself included—took it a bit too far at one point. Fortunately, we all learned from our mistakes (you did, right?) and are also comfortable sharing the experience so we can all chuckle a bit at our past selves. So read on to hear about the four modifications that Hagerty readers regret performing.
The lope of an open exhaust on a well-tuned engine is damn near an automotive siren song. It draws you to the parts counter to order those headers and side pipes. You slave under the car for an entire weekend and revel in the glorious sound—for about two days. A bulk order of ear plugs is simply a band-aid. Mufflers exist for a reason.
Even if you’re just trying to cover up the drone of that modified exhaust, but adding a highfalutin mix of big speakers and powerful amplifiers rarely ends well. Holes in door panels and interior sheet metal also open up holes in your wallet when you go to sell the car—or repair the damage from adding that goofy setup.
All right, only one commenter admitted to this one, but it’s worth highlighting. Using a reciprocating saw as a scalpel rarely ends well, and if the patient is a 1969 Camaro, you have an uphill battle to improve on the design. Adding glass to the roof might sound nice, but it only opens up more places for water to leak in—and is mighty difficult to undo. Honorary mention to adding a shaker-style hood to just about anything that isn’t a Trans Am, Mustang, or Mopar. Ouch.
While classic car shifters can be mighty sloppy, adding a short shifter to even the sharpest functioning transmission can have adverse results. Increased shifting effort and hard-to-find gears are just two problems, but others can appear as the increased force on the shifting mechanism wears parts at an accelerated rate. Fortunately, this is the easiest to reverse (pun intended) of the modifications listed.