Aaron Widmar
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7 Gnarly Ideas for Hardcore Car-Themed Tattoos

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Make a statement with bodacious bod tats of cars and trucks

car-themed tattoo road sign slippery when wet design on foot
Tattoos can come in many different shapes and sizes … and cars make great inspirations!
Photo: The News Wheel

Although some people love customizing their skin as much as they love customizing their vehicle, most of us look at tattoos as simple, meaningful mementos that pay homage to a treasured memory or experience. These subjects can range from military service to a cherished relationship to a memorable experience — and for some people, that experience involves a vehicle.

Whether it’s a specific car you love, a brand you’re dedicated to, or a lifestyle you follow, here are some car-themed tattoo ideas to wear your gearhead heart on your sleeve (or skin).

Love to Read? Here are 4 car-themed books you have to check out!

Specific vehicles

If you feel compelled to pay homage to a specific truck you own, a sports car you adore, or a motorcycle you ride, depict it in artistic detail. This can also include nods to classic cars that you might never have owned but still adore. A galloping silver mustang or pair of flapping Corvette flags look hardcore.


If you love your job and it involves driving vehicles or working with them, a tattoo is a great way to show your career. Some examples include a firetruck for a firefighter, an ambulance for an EMT, a mail truck for a postman, or a big rig for a truck driver.

Road signs

Exemplify your love of the open road and your wandering spirit with a tattoo of a road sign, like Route 66 or Highway 1. You can also make clever insinuations with direction signs like “Stop,” “One Way,” “Dead End,” “Do Not Enter,” or the classic “Slippery When Wet.”


If you are dedicated to a certain automotive brand, why not ink their logo onto your skin (or a creative variation of it)? Paint that Chevy bowtie on your collar to show your American spirit. Or wrap the Alfa Romeo snake around your bicep because it’s honestly the most wicked car badge ever designed.

Car parts

You’ve gotta love those tattoos that look like a person’s skin is ripped off to reveal something underneath. This could look awesome if you incorporate automotive parts like gears and pistons underneath like mechanical inner workings of your body. If you prefer something simpler, consider outlines of a speedometer, gear shift, or engine.


Take inspiration from the zany artwork of Big Daddy Roth and the rest of the wacky, freakish hot rod aesthetics. The advantage to this is if the tattoo artist doesn’t do a good job recreating Rat Fink, that’s OK! It’s supposed to look ugly and messed up.


Wave the checkered flag as you flex your arm or have racing stripes down your back. Better yet, have tire tread across your back because … why not?

Combine multiple elements to make entire vignettes, like a classic car driving down the highway into the sunset. Of course, you can accentuate these designs with all the flames, smoke, and skulls your skin can fit. Rock on!

Get Creative: Ideas for making a drive-in movie theater at home!