The CAR Top 10: crimes against taste

Published: 20 August 2013

‘This is the taste police! Put the furry dice down and step away from the fake testicles.’

1. Underfloor neons

Nothing says, ‘pull me, I’ve got £30 of super skunk in the glovebox’ more than a set of undercar lights on a rubbish hatchback tearing through town on a Saturday night. Probably with its blue sidelights on for good measure. Illegal to use while driving, and on taste grounds at any other time.

2. Sheepskin seat covers in a sports car

Okay, so leather seats are freezing in winter and can rip the scorched skin from your legs like a napalm spray tan in summer. But surely that’s better than looking like a Kiwi farmer dragging a couple of dead ewes back from that field by the creek in his wife’s SL because the ute’s in for repair?

3. Carstache

Moustaches look terrible whether they’re of the facial or pant variety, and they certainly don’t do your car any favours. Unlike other bad mods however, at least the Carstache doesn’t take itself seriously. Best get a brightly coloured one though – brown makes it look like you’ve got some serious road kill wedged in the grille.

4. Vinyl roofs

Like comb-overs, it’s difficult to work out why vinyl tops were ever acceptable. But they definitely were, and it seems Floridian pensioners still burn a candle for the extra class a plastic hat confers on a car. A recent trip to the Gulf Coast uncovered armies of relatively recent Cadillacs, and even a couple of Toyota Camrys, sporting vehicular toupees.

5. Matt black wraps

Wraps are a fun, affordable way to re-colour your car, and matt black paint was cool for about a second. But when you’ve spent £1500 making your pristine Roller look like an MoT failure hand-painted with a couple of rattle cans, you know it’s time to see a doctor.

6. Hi risers

Born from hip-hop culture in the southern US, this crime against unsprung weight requires monster-truck-like body lifts to accommodate rims that can be bigger than 30in. The cars are usually big body-on-frame Detroit whales, and known as Donk, Box or Bubble depending on the age and make. Not so much cool as silly.

7. Airbrushing

Big on the Continent, airbrushing manages the clever trick of leaving you deeply impressed with the level of craftsmanship involved, yet simultaneously totally nonplussed as to why anyone would want to inflict such horror on their car. Fine on old Harleys, hot-rods and custom trucks; not fine on a BMW 5-series. In Stockport.

8. Car bra

Another US import, these gimp masks protect against stonechips for the sort of drivers who buy a new three-piece suite and leave the covers on so it won’t get spoiled. Even weirder, despite the invention of transparent 3M film that will do the same job almost invisibly, bras are still popular, and have actually become a styling mod.

9. Truck nuts

Basically a plastic or metal scrotum that dangles freely in the breeze from the back of your car, these fake testes are so tasteless they’ve actually landed people in court in some US states. Aliases include trucksticles and bumper bollocks. Inexplicable.

10. Tow-hitch stripper pole

The Bumper Dumper tow-hitch toilet narrowly misses out on a place in the Top 10 simply because we came across this almost-in-car entertainment system from dance-pole experts Platinum Stages. Supports up to 14 stone, though spare a thought for the driver behind before testing that. And no, we don’t know what you’ll tell the insurance company when she falls off. 

By Chris Chilton

Contributing editor, ace driver, wit supplier, mischief maker