Trends change, but one thing’s for certain: Every generation’s got at least a few they’d rather forget about. It’s easy to poke fun at some of today’s automotive fads. The bike-less bike racks, the sticker-bombed body bits, the useless wheel and tire configurations—sometimes it’s just too easy. But that doesn’t mean my generation doesn’t have its own embarrassing past. Here are the 15 most ridiculous things we used to do to our cars.
1. Racing stripes: On everything. Everywhere. It didn’t matter that your Civic was a 92hp DX sedan, dual stripes in the vein of actual supercar livery was considered generally accepted practice.
2. Powered by Honda (or Acura): If the factory-issued emblems at each end weren’t enough to tip others off as to whose assembly line your Accord rolled off of, the “Powered by Honda” sticker positioned on the rear quarter window, back end, and even the dashboard would surely clue them in.
3. Painted rocker panels: Because color-matching things is nice, even if it meant doing so on your parents’ lawn with a bottle of Krylon.
4. Dryer duct cold-air intake: Before there were actual cold-air intakes made by real companies, there was the Home Depot. Its plumbing aisle featured some of the finest bumper-to-filter air ducts three dollars could buy.
5. Bumper grille: Two aisles over you’d find the wire lathe. Nothing makes for a finer front bumper insert than stucco and plaster supplies.
6. Massive company decal placed diagonally along door(s)/rear quarter: It didn’t matter that you’d never owned a GReddy product in your life. The 48-inch decal that spanned the side of your hatchback meant that you meant business.
7. Tiny yellow Neuspeed decal: Place one of these on your rear quarter window (even if you don’t have Neuspeed products) for instant credibility.
8. Vinyl taillight covers: Actual taillight conversions were still a few years away. Instead, $10 worth of vinyl would give others the illusion (at least from more than 50 feet away) that you indeed had Supra taillights.
9. Seatbelt pads: Let’s face it, using a seatbelt without one of these is just painful.
10. Oversize muffler tip: Forget about whatever exhaust tip your exhaust system was sold with. Cutting it off for a six-inch, rolled Sebring tip was never a bad idea.
11. Painted taillights: Because solid-red taillights were cool, even if it meant doing so on your parents’ lawn next to your side skirts with a bottle of hobby shop paint.
12. Multi-colored vacuum hose and wiring loom: In an age that predated tucked bays and hidden harnesses, things like fuel injector wiring and brake booster hoses were meant to be seen.
13. City lights: For when headlights, foglights, side markers, HIDs, and turn signals weren’t enough.
14. Colored interior lightbulbs: Bask in hues of red, green, or blue rays for less than two bucks.
15. Homemade clear corners: In the early 1990s, someone decided that any semblance of amber within a car’s turn signals and reflectors was taboo. A Dremel, some glue, and sometimes a set of replacement lights for the ones you just cracked were all it took to stand out…and ultimately blend back in again once everyone else had done it.