The muscle car era that dominated Detroit for the late-1960s and 1970s was a high point in this country's pioneering automotive designs. In many ways, the modern incarnation of muscle car madness has even gone one step beyond, though, with power figures in excess of 800 horses starting to seem perfectly reasonable.
But massive power in muscle cars back in the day was more like 400 or 500 horsepower—and even so, was mostly restricted to the toys of backyard mechanics who would modify their cars to their hearts' delight. The problem is that not everyone who went to work on their muscle car had a vision in mind that would end up looking good in real life.
Keep scrolling for 17 modded muscle cars that are downright ugly from tip to tail.
17 Old Meets New
This Mustang has been modified so extensively that it's hard to say whether it would even count as a Mustang anymore. Maybe it's just a truck with a Mustang shell on top, as Engine Swap Depot describes, but the reality is that it's a silly build that should really never have been started, much less seen through to the egregious end.
16 Lego Dragon Style
Plenty of gearheads would happily spend a few hours arguing whether the Corvette truly counts as a muscle car, but those gearheads would happily spend an entire lifetime discussing everything that's wrong with this custom monstrosity. The hood just looks like a Lego set that creates a dragon was dropped on top.
15 Underglow No-No
Underglow lights are a silly phenomenon that can probably be traced back to overenthusiastic fans of the first Fast and Furious movie. This Camaro, though, is everything bad about custom jobs, from the unnecessary butterfly doors to the green glow, the black wheels, and the faux venting all over everybody panel.
14 Green Flames
This modified Chevrolet Camaro looks absolutely ghastly with a few custom details that no one should ever have done. First off, obviously, those green flames are just the worst possible addition to the classic lines of the aggressive Camaro's design. But riding low over retro chrome wheels and a black grille don't help the look, either.
13 Totally Custom
Believe it or not, but there's a classic muscle car somewhere underneath this cartoonishly ugly exterior. From the curved exhaust pipes underneath the doors to the strangely wavy designs all over, this car looks like Cruella de Vil's idea of a muscle car. The fact that anyone would take the time and money to build something like this is just baffling.
12 Nice Try
This Camaro would almost be great, especially given the performance modifications that are revealed under the hood and by the roll cage peeking out behind the seats, but the combination of a smooth gray paint job and orange rims just makes it terrible. Again, the vision almost comes close to perfection and is ruined by little details.
11 Supercharge It
This GTO looks like someone watched a few too many Fast and Furious movies during their childhood, then went ahead and watched all the Mad Max films, too. The width of the rear drag tires is pretty impressive, but the ridiculous blower popping out of the hood just ruins any idea of driving this car in a fun manner.
10 Mustang In The Desert
The Ford Mustang used to be one of the most beloved cars in the history of Detroit, much less among the pantheon of muscle cars. But now that Ford has completely ruined any sense of propriety by turning the Mustang into an electrified SUV, there's even more reason to keep classic models looking classic, as opposed to this unfortunate resto-mod.
9 No Reasons Given
Everything about this Mustang is just downright wrong. All the body cladding, the carbon fiber, the wheels, the chopped top, and the hood tie-downs are bad enough, but the bike mounted to the windshield and hood just goes one step beyond silly. Why not just strap the bike sideways to the roll bar?
8 Not A Batmobile
Something about the modern Mustang just seems to invite tuners and modders to try their hands at building their cars up excessively. Perhaps it's the fact that the current iteration is probably the best since the first generation, but when builders go as far as this example, they just ruin everything that made the car a great resurrection in the marketplace.
7 As Bad As It Gets
This Fox Body Mustang is, simply put, as bad as it gets in the world of modding cars. The owner must have a great sense of humor to add an absurd intercooler or radiator popping out of a jigsawed hood, not to mention the ridiculous spray paint designs on the side of the car. Plus, there's the front lip spoiler at the bottom to round out the entire awful look.
6 Just A Few Little Add-Ons
Where most muscle car modders go above and beyond the call of duty and ruin their cars with excessive bolt-on additions, this Mustang just looks silly with a few orange details sprinkled here and there. Sure, orange mirror surrounds to match an orange convertible top might have been okay, but the orange square on the hood just makes the whole thing silly.
5 Another Ruined 'Vette
The second generation of the Corvette will probably remain the most desirable of the long-tenured model, even as much as the recent transition to the eighth-generation and a mid-engined layout. But as cool as a modded second-gen can be, this one goes way over the top and ruins the whole look with gnarly chrome wheels that are way too big for even those aggressive fender flares.
4 The Answer To A Question No One Asked
At no point did anyone ever look at a Chevrolet Camaro and think that it could use a duallie setup at the rear axle—until the builder of this ridiculous car, that is. As much as the Camaro design of the late-2000s helped to revive Chevy and Detroit as a whole, this one just proves that there are people out there with way too much time on their hands.
3 Futuristic Glow
This Camaro looks like it rolled straight out of a boardwalk airbrush artist's painting, which probably included a few reflections of the full moon and at least a unicorn or two. Or maybe it just drove straight from Rainbow Road in Mario Kart—either way, it's got a paint job, spoiler, and wheels that transform it into something awful to look at.
2 What Even Is This
The Ford Taunus was a rest-of-world model that never made it to these shores. There were a few coupes under the name that could be thought of as muscle cars, though this one has clearly been highly customized to the point that it resembles something like a strange, robotic whale that's red and angular for no reason at all. It would be unrecognizable, though A Bourbon Affair describes it as a 1974 Taunus 2000 GXL Custom.
1 Please Stop
This 1964 Buick Riviera looks fairly unrecognizable and definitely muscled-up after a serious workover—but that doesn't mean it's good-looking. In fact, all the details combine to create a car that just looks ugly, mostly because of the banana yellow paint tone that was clearly a mistake from the very get-go.
Sources: Engine Swap Depot, Wikipedia, and A Bourbon Affair.