Top Custom Car Trends Of 2012

In case you missed it, 2012 experienced a seismic shift in custom car trends. Forget about Mustangs and Camaros, these days the hottest motors tend to be ones that were previously neglected. Just like wearing Christmas jumpers, the uncool has become the new cool.

Just look at hip hop singer and DJ Will.I.Am. His $700,000 custom-made car is a cross between the ever-trendy Dodge Challenger and the almost embarrassing DeLorean. But thanks to an increased interest in all things retro, that famous motor from Back to the Future has come of age and is now linked to one of the most influential artists in the modern music industry.

Among the car’s features are tinted windows, gullwing doors, chrome wheels and fog lights, while the body has a matt white finish.

While most car enthusiasts don’t have a spare $700k in their back pocket, they are benefiting from this trend. The Honda Civic is just one of the family cars to prove popular this year, thanks in part to the increasing cost of Mustangs.

A victim of their own success, the laws of supply and demand have pushed the cost of Mustangs ever higher while the cost of family cars is always coming down. Now, thanks to the popularity of customising these otherwise eco-friendly vehicles, retailers are catching on and have started stocking custom parts.

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In Southern California, upgraded Hondas are reported to be tearing up the track at the weekend while embarking on the daily work commute during the week. But if you plan to be doing any racing yourself, make sure you’re well insured.

The Geek-chic look was also in abundance at the Speciality Equipment Manufacturers Association Show in Las Vegas during 2012. Just like Will.I.Am’s customised DeLorean, the paint work on some of the vehicles on show suggested that the owners were more comfortable as fan-boys than boy-racers.

Stealing the spotlight was a collection of Kias decorated with paintwork inspired by the Justice League of America superheroes. They were designed as part of a charity collaboration between the car manufacturer and DC Comics and tapped into the current obsession with all things superhero.

A Kia Optima was customised with dual Bat-Logos on each side across a slick glossy and flat-black paint job. It wasn’t quite as robust as the Batmobile itself, but was certainly as eye-catching.

Also on display were a Kia Rio5 sporting a green and orange fish scale design inspired by Aquaman and an orange Kia Forte Koup with yellow flames and lightning bolts inspired by the Flash. A Forte hatchback and Kia Soul took their inspiration from Cyborg and the Green Lantern.

But while a family car rocking a comic book design may top the year’s trends, there’s always space for that old classic: the spoiler. Unless you plan an elaborate paint job, the plastic or fiberglass spoiler will likely be your motor’s most obvious outward sign of inward beauty.

Inside, the success of a custom car will still always hinge on speed. Your family motor is unlikely to be tearing up the track anytime soon, but a reprogrammed engine-controller chip is easy to install and can give you a boost of between 10 and 20 horsepower. Just make sure you don’t invalidate your warranty by doing so.

Catherine Halsey writes for a digital marketing agency on a range of subjects. This article was written on behalf of Admiral Insurance

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