Wanting to improve what you have is a human trait — even if you just bought that new or old car.
I first noticed this way back in 1977, when I was 16 and drove my rebuilt 1965 Mustang on the road to my high school. I was pretty stoked with the black-on- black car that first entered my life during a visit to a Southern California junkyard.
But, when I pulled into the parking lot — and blew my first attempt at hopping the rear wheels off a speed bump — I saw my car couldn’t compete with the other cars rumbling around.
First off, I needed to make more noise, so I vowed to install an exhaust header system with bigger pipes.
Second, I just had the stock AM radio, while the cooler guys had top-of-the-line cassette tape decks.
Finally, my car’s rear end wasn’t jacked up.
I knew my car would never blow the doors off the hot-rodded Chevelles and Mopar monsters, but I needed to up my game. I did get the headers, some Cragar wheels and a tape deck, but I never got around to pushing up the rear end.
All this happened 35 years ago, but people still want to upgrade their cars — often just days after driving a new car off the dealer lot.
Colin Comer, who writes for Sports Car Market and American Car Collector — and is the author of “Million Dollar Muscle Cars,” “The Complete Book of Shelby Automobiles: Cobras, Mustangs and Super Snakes,” and “Shelby Cobra Fifty Years” — talks about how many muscle car owners in the 1960s and 1970s upgraded their cars — to the point where it’s kind of weird to find a muscle car that didn’t undergo changes back in the day.
Nowadays, upgrading is part of the deal for almost all car buyers. Even truck buyers are quick to install custom wheels, and the wheels and tires from the factory — often with less than 100 miles of wear — show up on eBay, like this OEM Chevy Silverado 17-inch wheel. It’s a good bet that the owner of those almost-new wheels and tires pulled them off to install something like this 20-inch Chrome Gunner 6 wheel.
Is it crazy to pull off perfectly good tires and wheels just so you can install custom wheels and cooler tires? Sure it is — if it makes you happy.
Upgrading happens with engines, suspensions, exhaust systems, paint jobs, lights, and interiors — just about anything that’s on a car.
So, how have you upgraded your car or truck — and why?