The Top 7 Ways to Make Your Beater Car Badass

January 31, 2009

So we've established that your car is, in fact, a beater. But do not despair - this can lead to good things. You may have already realized that it's actually quite liberating to have a beater: no concerns for scratches, dents, or weird sounds. So now what? Well, now it's time to restore some dignity to that beater by making it badass.

By Brad Iger

The following article does not represent the opinions of Spike TV or its affiliates.


7. Renove All the Useless Crap

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Is the back seat torn up beyond all repair and use? Is the passenger rearview mirror dangling like a wind chime? How about all that pitted and rusted trim – what’s it doing for ya? Looking ghetto, that’s what. And why do you have a flat spare tire in the trunk? If it doesn’t serve a purpose, get rid of it. You’ll end up reducing weight in the process, which leads to better performance and improved fuel economy.

6. Replace the Rolling Stock

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Three words: Dog Dish Hubcaps. You can have the biggest POS on the planet but if you’ve got a set of steelies with some dog dishes on it, you’re suddenly driving the cop car from the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" video.

Wheels and tires are one of the easiest things to replace on a car, and not only do they make a massive difference in the visual appeal of the car and provide you with better handling, in this particular case they’re also pretty cheap.

5. More Power!

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Adding more ponies to your bottom line doesn’t have to equate to big-cash items like turbos and custom camshafts. Most beaters are tired hulks simply from neglect – in this case, on the drivetrain side of things. Incredibly cheap and easily-replaced parts like fuel filters, air filters, and an oil change really DO make a world of difference. If it’s got EFI, try putting a bottle of fuel injector cleaner in as well. Having a vehicle that actually responds on some level when you bury the hammer can vastly improve your driving experience.

4. Modernization

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Just because you drive a 20-year-old car doesn’t mean you can’t bring it kicking and screaming into the 21st century. You say it’s only got the stock tape deck? Slap in one of these and rock out to your mp3 player instead.

If you’ve somehow managed to procure an iPhone, you can use that as a hands-free device too: the person on the other end will be heard out of your stereo speakers and the microphone on the iPhone will pick up your voice. Not a bad way to save like a gajillion dollars.

3. Paint It (flat) Black

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It’s been clinically proven that flat black paint is badass. A sleek matte finish gives the car a purpose-built look that declares it a force to be reckoned with. And you say you’re on a budget? Well, get a friend with a paint gun, a few quarts of Rustoleum paint, some masking tape, and a newspaper – and you’re out the door for a faction of the price of a typical automotive paint job.

If you’re super cheap and don’t have access to a paint gun, you can always buy the rattle-can stuff, but don’t expect it to last too long on the front end of the car, as rocks will eventually take their toll.

2. When In Doubt, Add Some Bullhorns

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Okay, let’s just say for the moment that you’re super lazy and you don’t feel like doing any of the aforementioned tasks, as they require you to do manual labor and/or get your hands dirty. Maybe you’ve just about given up all hope.

Well, in that case, the simplest route towards awesomeness for you might just be to go the Boss Hog route and slap a set of bullhorns on the hood. It doesn’t matter if you drive a clapped-out '66 Impala or an ’87 Civic, you’ll still undoubtedly pick up a few cool points here. Unless your friends are vegans, or something. Nothing makes those people happy.

1. Just Get Creative

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Ultimately, badass is kind of a subjective term.  The important thing to remember with a beater is that, while it may seem like a piece of junk now, you really should look at it as a blank slate. Since you have no concern for its value, you can make it into whatever you want to.

Go crazy: bust out the Sawzall and turn your station wagon into a convertible. Mount bumper bars from an old cop car to your Tercel and start pushing around H2s in traffic. Paint flames on the hand-me-down Buick Regal you got from Grandma. The only true limitation is how far you want to take it.

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