Car shopping these days can seem like a chore that's mostly about differentiating between driver's aids, audio systems, and options packages. Plus, most new cars look similar on both the inside and the outside, all swooping aero lines, and brushed aluminum trim.
But while most drivers don't seem concerned about how their cars actually drive, there are plenty of people on the roads who just love the mechanicals that allow them to mash the throttle or carve down tight canyon roads. For the real gearheads out there, the modern era of aftermarket availability made possible by the internet feels like dreams come to life.
But then there are the special few who can't stand how their cars drive nor how they look—and have the know-how, money, and time to make a change. Home mechanics might work in their garages at night or in the backyard all day to make their dreams come true, but the results don't always come out looking good.
Keep scrolling for 17 backyard attempts as modding cars that failed big-time.
17 Film Fanatic
The inspiration for many car mods comes from the need for speed—but not in the case of this failed Batmobile car. Homemade doesn't even begin to cover everything that's wrong with turning this car into something that doesn't even look close to the inspiration that served as its basis. The rivets aren't even the strangest detail!
16 Beluga Whale
This Corvette clearly wasn't enough for its owner, who went a different route than the inspiration for the Sting Ray and chose, instead, some kind of bulbous whale. The result is a car that is certainly unique—and will remain unique forever because absolutely no one else would ever want to have a car that looks so awful.
15 Super Supra
The Fast and Furious movies have inspired more than their fair share of backyard tuners and modders. But the results don't always turn out very great. The saddest part of this Supra is that it used to be a perfectly good car. It might, in reality, have been one of the coolest cars around, until the absurd body kit and rear-swinging butterfly doors ruined everything.
14 Happy Meal Toy
No one buys a Toyota Corolla because they want to drive aggressively around town or take dirt roads at high speeds. But the owner of this Corolla clearly thought that a few mods could help improve their car. As usual, though, the idea to start a modding project with a lackluster car as the basis just ended up looking terrible, almost like a McDonald's Happy Meal toy.
13 Downforce, Dude
There's nothing really wrong with a Mazda Miata, at least for people who are okay with convertibles (the hardtops just don't work well, as evidenced by the green Miata in the background of this pic). But Miatas are great little sports cars that prove the old adage about driving slow cars fast true. Adding a huge, cheap wing like this one, though, is only going to make that Miata slower.
12 Prius Repellant
Dieselgate has affected the entire market for diesel cars in the United States, but there are still some ridiculous maniacs out on the roads who go one step beyond the crimes that Volkswagen committed. The fad known as "rolling coal" is, without a doubt, the worst automotive trend out there, though it's usually reserved for pickup trucks, not Jettas like in this pic.
11 Transformer Subie
Subaru fanboys often get trapped into modding and tuning projects. So many of them, though, go the wrong route and end up driving cars that are essentially the opposite of the rally history that inspires Subaru's automotive design and engineering. This WRX is a perfect example, with all kinds of ridiculous bolt-ons ruining just about every element of the car.
10 King of the Road
Cadillac made the terrible decision to sell an upscale version of Chevrolet's own terrible decision, the Avalanche rebadged as the Escalade EXT. But the owner of this Escalade EXT made an even worse decision when they bolted on a terrible body kit including a custom hood, plus enormous deep-dish chrome wheels to finish off the ugly look.
9 Intercooled On The Outside
These days, everyone wants to bolt turbos and superchargers onto their engines, which is a testament to the availability of aftermarket parts online that have taken a big step up in quality in reliability. But not every car has the room for everything such a project requires, as evidenced by this absurd Fox Body Mustang's intercooler popping out of its jigsawed hood.
8 Bag It
Stance Nation has ruined plenty of great cars, though, for some reason, the style seems only to be spreading. Blame it on the prevalence of social media accounts, where it's more important for cars to look better than they drive, or maybe just on bad traffic. Either way, cars like this Lexus just get ruined by backyard tuners who love their stanced cars.
7 Honda-Powered Mini
There's absolutely nothing wrong with dropping a Honda VTEC engine into a classic Mini Cooper. In fact, some creative builders even convert their Minis to rear or all-wheel drive to support the extra power—and some even retain air conditioning! But this conversion went astray when the builder added that ugly bumper, those ugly fender flares, and forgot to keep room to close the hood.
6 The Art of Subtlety
The wildest part of many modded cars that end up looking ugly is just how much talent went into building them. This custom Camaro is a perfect example of impeccable build quality and finish combined with absolutely zero taste in terms of the overall vision. That squat elephant's nose of an intake just ruins everything.
5 Less Is More
The world of hot rods has become all about going bigger in terms of power and smaller in terms of body style. Even rat rods have become low-slung speed demons, with enormous engines, of course. But this hot rod mixes all kinds of strange influences, from the narrow nose and bicycle-style front wheels to the enormous engine and side pipes, then all the way to the rear, which looks more like a Meyers Manx.
4 An Actual Toy
Most backyard builders who worry more about how their car looks rather than how it drives should just stop, put their tools down, and go drive a fun car. With a few little bolt-on changes, even a Honda Civic hatchback can be a blast, but adding ridiculous body mods like this one is wrapped with is always a bad idea.
3 Time Is Money
Mechanics just love it when their customers come in with their first mod in mind. Every shop owner knows that modding projects turn into black holes for money—so they know the billable hours are going to rack up quickly. But backyard builders might not realize how long it's going to take to get their car looking the way they want—or how long it might take to undo mistakes, like this AMC Gremlin.
2 When A VW Loves A Chevy Very Much
Volkswagen and Audi had some of the best designs of the late-90s and early-2000s, with the Audi TT standing out as a car that would help usher in the new century. The Volkswagen Beetle was like a taller TT, though it still strongly resembled the original Bug. This home conversion of a Beetle into a pickup truck, though, looks like a Chevy SSR's rear end got into the builder's brain like a chigger.
1 Well, Not That Much Worse, Really
The Pontiac Aztek may go down in automotive history as the ugliest, most disappointing vehicle ever designed. With a hideously boxy exterior, a weak engine under the hood sending power through a slushbox automatic transmission, everything went from bad to worse for Pontiac. In fact, all the ugly mods on this Aztek don't even make it look that much worse.
Sources: Jalopnik, and Motor1.