When we think of car accessories, we often refer to functional tools and gadgets we buy to make life on the road either easier, or more entertaining. While devices like Bluetooth headsets remove the (dangerous and illegal) temptation of talking on your handset while driving, you can also get additions like installable drink warmers and on-board Wi-Fi (Netflix not included).
However odd (or fantastic) these may sound, there have been a slew of unconventional add-ons that have crept into our cars over the years. From the standpoint of an automotive journalist, we typically see these as a product of evolving – and disappearing – tastes, others are fashion statements, and the rest, well….probably shouldn’t be found in a car (at least not mine).
Of the products I’ve seen pop up over the years, some have shocked me, others intrigued – but at the end of the day some are just quite odd. With this in mind, here’s my personal countdown of the weirdest car accessories on wheels.
Popularized on film and TV by the likes of the Fast and the Furious franchise and Pimp My Ride, undercarriage lights have been pretty popular over the last twenty years. Whether it’s neon blue, green, or pink, accents or full-blown disco displays, undercarriage lighting brings personality on the road to a whole new level. Bonus points go to those who synchronize their lights with their playlist.
While they may seem inspired by your kids’ favourite cartoon, car lashes are certainly an attention grabber when driving down the road. With their plethora of different colours, sizes, and shapes; it’s easy to assume they are an escapee from the latest Disney movie, or the result of a losing bet. In my experience, lashes are best reserved for some car rally or the annual Concours d’LeMons kitsch car show, which celebrates such additions.
FAKE/FUZZY/GRAPHIC SEAT COVERS
Probably the most common oddity on this list, seat covers have evolved from a necessity for protecting seats from spills and pets; to one of Looney Tunes print or your child’s favourite Sunday morning TV character. If you need to go with one, I’d recommend sticking with a flat neutral colour and would definitely err on the side of caution when your teenager suggests something broaching on leopard print.
You’ve seen them, I’ve seen them: the little stick figure graphics on your back window or the Tweety bird strategically placed in your toddler’s direct gaze out the window. They are sticker graphics, and they most likely are here to stay. If you feel you must express yourself this way, at least choose something sort of cool. My favourite versions are the zombie and skeleton families which may just transform you into the coolest parents on the road (maybe).
SPINNER HUB CAPS
While I’m pretty sure spinner caps have fallen out of fashion for the general public, a few hardcore enthusiasts still believe in the power of that gleaming chrome hub cap spinning as you go. While there aren’t enough of them left on the road to make this a widespread trend, I’d be happy seeing this once popular add-on take its final bow.
Ah the custom paint job. While I’m not against a tastefully hued exotic shade, I do get nervous when drivers start getting too imaginative with their paint brushes. Flames have their place on classic muscle cars, but the second someone suggests painting a portrait of themselves on the hood I would recommend they reconsider!
What do you think? Feel I missed one or disagree with something on the list? Let me know in the comments section below!