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Top 10 Weirdest Car Fads You Won’t Believe

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Over the past century, a lot of new ground has been broken when it comes to automotive transportation. With those innovations comes a history of bizarre inventions and fads. It’s baffling what people will do to their vehicles because it seems “progressive” or “stylish” at the time.

Here is our list of the 10 strangest trends that we’ve seen on cars. What fads have you seen that you can’t stand?


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Dog Sack

Back in 1935, an invention was advertised that offered a convenient way to transport your dog: a sack that hung on the side of the vehicle. Luckily, this shameful contraption never made it to production to become a household item, or else we’d have had a generation of cars with grotesque smears across their sides.

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rusted car weird dumb car trends fads modifications rust paint fake

Photo: Jeff Hottinger via flickr/cc

Purposeful Rust

Most people like to keep their car washed, waxed, and pristine. A few car owners, though, prefer the exact opposite: having their car look like it’s been rotting for decades. While it makes sense to see purposeful rusting on rat rod modifications, it doesn’t make any sense why some car owners intentionally destroy or spray fake rust on their perfectly good, normal vehicles.

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Woodies

A fashion trend that lasted far longer than it should have, wood-paneled vehicles should’ve been retired by the 1950s when steel became much more affordable. But, thanks to its equation with luxury and its popularity in SoCal surf culture, woodies made a resurgence and stuck around for far longer than anyone wanted.

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Family Bumper Stickers

Stick Figure Family Decals

This one might hit a little too close to home, as you probably know someone who advertises their family members on the back window of their SUV, but you have to admit–there’s no good reason you should publicly be displaying the ages, interests, and members of your family on your car. It doesn’t make you a “cool parent,” but rather, according to safety experts, actually puts your family at risk. Cut it out.

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Fake Engine Sounds

If you can’t afford a car with a big engine but still want to trick people (or, just yourself) into thinking that you do, what do you to? Live with it? Heck no! You equip your car with a device that imitates the noise that a much better engine would make. People crave having a growling engine that automakers even purposefully make their quiet, efficient motors sound a lot louder than they really need to be. All this does is just give your neighbors headaches.

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Turbonique Rocket Axle car fad history trend dangerous

The original Turbonique ad

Turbo-Axle

Fifty years ago, the Turbonique company sold a supercharger that, when strapped to your car’s rear axle, made it essentially rocket-powered. At first, it might sound like the most spectacular modification ever, but–sparing you all the technical details–the rocket engine was highly volatile and was notorious for exploding.

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dumb car fads modifications donks giant wheel tires

Photo: Chad Horwedel via flickr/cc

Donks

This modern trend is popular among some urban communities who embrace over-the-top car mods like–in this case–cars with gargantuan wheels. What makes this trend more bearable is that they’re often done humorously, with a level of creativity behind them. So they’re supposed to be outrageous. You just have to stomach seeing some classic American cars being butchered in the process.

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dumb car fads modifications flush hellaflush tilted squatting wheel rims

Photo: daniel lim via flickr/cc

Hellaflush

Unlike donks, this “I’m a serious teenage street racer” trend is worth getting irritated by. The term refers to how wheels can be positioned flush to the angle of the fenders by installing wide rims stretching the rubber tire. It’s enough to make anyone cringe who sees it on the road—particularly going over speed bumps.

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Cadillac Carpool Deville

Pools in Truck Beds*

How could I make my junky pickup truck even trashier? Let’s turn the empty truck bed into a pool! That way, we can drive around town and our friends can lounge in their underwear and drink dangerous amounts of beer. We can even run over pot holes and speed bumps to makes waves–even it if does splash water all over the road.

*Note: These thoughts have also occured to people with old convertibles.

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dumb car fads modifications coal wood burning fuel furnace

Photo: Stuart Smith’s WW II Photos via flickr/cc

Wood Gas Cars

While this trend began for practical reasons to conserve on gas during World War II, these cumbersome modifications are like tumors growing on perfectly fine vehicles. There have been many attempts at powering cars by alternative methods, but this one is easily the worst-looking, messing with the weight distribution of the vehicle and straining it. On top of that, it can be hard to see around and be a hazard on the road.

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  • You forgot those fake-convertible padded vinyl car tops. Nobody was fooled. They were impossible to clean properly, and within six months, they looked weathered and ratty.