Why Mod a Car?

June 11, 2006

From Wiktionary

mod (plural mods)

  1. An unconventionally modern style of fashionable dress originating in England in the 1960s, characterized by ankle-length black trenchcoats and sunglasses.
  2. A person who dresses in such a style.
  3. (slang) A modification to an object, typically for the purpose of individualizing and/or enhancing the performance of the object.

to mod

  1. (slang) To modify an object from its original condition, typically for the purposes of individualizing and/or enhancing the performance of the object.

Obviously, that slang meaning is what we’re after here. The definition is not a bad one, either.

Some people mod stuff, some people don’t. A few people mod cars, other people can’t imagine why.

Well, why not?

Why do you have the car you drive?

Perhaps circumstances were such that it was the one you could get, or you got a killer deal or an offer you couldn’t refuse.

Alternatively, you may have selected it from a variety of alternatives.

Assuming the latter, then odds are good that there were several other cars that met your basic criteria — they’d haul the requisite amount of groceries, kids, sample cases or tools, they’d fit in your garage, your fuel budget, your lifestyle.

Why that one?

Chances are you liked it better. It was a color you liked, or had a gadget on it you wanted, or was just “cooler” or “more you”.

If you were in that category (or can picture yourself in that category), then you begin to understand.

Unless you bought something really obscure for your geographical area (A Ferrari is obscure in Dead Horse, Wyoming. It’s not in Beverly Hills.), chances are good that you see quite a few cars on the road much like yours.

One reason to mod is to make yours just a little different. A statement of individuality.

Another reason is potential. If you’re a car manufacturer producing tens of thousands of a given model, then you aim for the middle of your demographic. You trim it and tune the performance for the least common denominator of your potential market.

But you’re not the least common denominator — you’re you.

Perhaps you like more “bling” to your ride (personally, I like a bit less). Maybe a lower stance is important to you, or great cornering, or a pillow-soft ride. Some folks may want a stereo with enough thumpin’ bass to flatten a cat; others may just want to control their iPod from the steering wheel.

Doubtless the vast majority of people are liable to do little or nothing other than drive their cars. Not a problem.

For some of us, though, a car is somewhat akin to a canvas — it’s a slate to write our own expression, to make it just that little bit faster, that little bit more unique, that little bit more “ours”.

I mean let’s face it — a car is a big expense, and for most of us, it’s a crap but unavoidable investment. Sure, if you bought a Ferrari Enzo for a cool million, and kept it hermetically sealed for the last couple of years, you can now sell it for an extra cool million, but that’s not most of us.

The reality for most of us is that a car starts depreciating about the time your pen lifts up from signing the ownership papers.

That being the case, you’re spending your money, you’re going to live with it (and live in it, for hours at a time), you might as well make it what you want it to be.

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