Every mechanic loves when a customer comes in and requests the installation of their first modification. Whether beefing up performance or altering aesthetics, modding cars can quickly become a black hole of time and money—while making the mechanic very, very wealthy in the meantime.
Because modding cars costs so much money, many would-be tuners buy a cheap beater as their base model and then go from there. Suspension, ECU programs, body kits, and even interior enhancements can quickly rack up into the many thousands of dollars—which often begs the question: why didn't this person just buy a better car to begin with?
Modified cars prove once and for all that there's no accounting for taste. Keep scrolling for 18 beaters that probably end up costing more than $10,000.
18 Rally Car!
Finding a used Subaru Legacy is pretty easy, and examples in relatively good shape typically go for under $5,000. For anyone hoping to build a rally-inspired vehicle, there are few better options out there. But the slippery slope gets slippery quickly, and mods like those gold wheels, a suspension refresh, window tinting, and even mud flaps add up fast. Maybe the owner of this Legacy just can't even afford rally lights yet.
17 Room For The Fam
Stance Nation is responsible for ruining many, many cars—though the irony is that most of them are commuter cars or beaters that would never have been very much fun anyway. This little Honda now definitely can't hold an entire family, given its slammed ride height and those terribly cambered wheels.
16 Rocket Power
The idea that someone would modify their car like this just baffles the mind. Not only do the flames look like they were painted on by a kindergarten class, but the wheels look cheaper than cheap. Still, the bodywork required to transform the rear end with those fins could easily have crept up above $10,000.
This fourth-gen Mustang began its life as a sad car and somehow, only got sadder. All the bolted-on body additions make it look like a cheap toy that kids could have won from a cereal box competition in the 1990s. But that doesn't mean it's cheap to do all these mods to a car, especially if the owner hired a shop to do the actual work.
14 Ready To Go
The strangest part of the entire Stance Nation fad is the amount of skill, time, and money required to absolutely ruin these cars. This Honda Civic coupe could probably have run forever with little more than an oil change every decade or so. Now, though, it can barely drive anywhere and probably burns through a pair of front tires every 200 miles.
13 Viper Problems
The Dodge Viper hit the market as one of the most aggressive cars ever built. With a V10 engine and little in the way of creature comforts of driver's aids, it was raw, analog, and perfectly styled. But this Viper has been transformed into a beater, unfortunately, by a collection of body kit additions that look about as bad as bad can get.
12 But Why
Sometimes, modifications to a car become more than a passion and more than an obsession. In the case of this Subaru, the project has become almost a work of art. All those green-painted details, the missing front bumper, the intake, and the absurd fender flares just point out the ridiculousness of everyone else's mods. But then again, someone actually spent the money to do this!
11 Turbo Prop
The modding crowd loves to pick up Mercury Cougars as the base model for builds because they're such cheap cars. But this fighter-prop build has definitely cost more than $10,000 nonetheless, although someone could have worked on this project in their backyard while neglecting the rest of their life, too.
10 Don't Hate
While pickups get modified just as much, if not more, than commuter cars, no one really thinks of trucks when they think about modding. But this Dodge Ram just hammers the point home that there are some projects that should be axed from the start. The "DON'T HATE" sticker on the windshield even reveals that they know how bad the truck looks.
9 Just Do It
Some modding projects seem to scream “because" without anyone asking a question. This bugeye Subaru has been transformed into a pickup truck complete with a light bar, what looks like a top-mounted turbo, and obviously, a relocated intercooler. While the project may have required some out-of-the-box thinking, there's just no reason to do all this.
Here is yet another Subaru that's been modded so much that every aspect that once made it a great car is now gone. That terrible rear wing, those stanced wheels, the huge exhaust—even living life as a beater and being neglected for decades would have been a better fate for this poor car.
While the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen isn't typically thought of as a beater, especially now that celebrities drive them as luxury vehicles, any car that's been modified like this one counts in the category. From the body kit to the paint job, which is continued to the rims, this whole project is just one ghastly addition after another—and cost a ton, no doubt.
6 Chill Out
The original Volkswagen Golf was a revelation when it hit the market, and even today, there aren't many hot hatches that can match its appeal. This modified Golf, though, is just sad. Those tires are going to rub during any turn and while going over any bump, and the oil cooler below the front bumper is just silly.
5 Race Car!
Honda Civics might be the single most commonly modified car on the planet. The reasons behind this fact, however, are all the same reasons why no one should modify a Civic. These are cheap, reliable, simple, efficient commuter cars. All the rims, body kits, spoilers, and exhaust in the world won't change that—though they will be expensive.
4 JDM Or Not
This Honda Civic has received a very significant set of modifications, apparent not only from the ride height and wheels but also because of the radiator (could be an intercooler or oil cooler, as well) and the exhaust tip poking up out of the hood. Of course, it's still just a Honda Civic hatchback, even if it might be JDM-inspired.
3 According To Who?
Cars like this Honda Accord just make everyone that sees them wonder what was going through their owners' minds. Tinting the windows, adding some fancy wheels, and what looks like a fresh—albeit cheap—paint job all result in yet another bland Accord that most people wouldn't look twice at. And the mods don't add value on the used market, either.
2 Duck, Duck, Goose
Overlanding as a pastime has blown up recently, thanks largely to the many streaming channels and ease of parts ordering now available online. But some of these off-roading projects just go overboard. Does this Forester really need light bars on all sides, a wider track, custom wheels, and knobby tires? Nope. Do they look good? Sort of...
1 A Class In Cladding
This Honda CRX is almost unrecognizable hiding beneath all its body cladding. Where once it may have been a perfect piece of angular Japanese engineering, now everyone who drives behind it has to worry when a chunk of that plastic is going to pop off and cause a traffic incident. It ain't pretty, despite definitely costing a pretty penny.
Sources: 4 Wheeling In Western Australia, Jalopnik, and Wikipedia.