Aaron Widmar
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Top 10 Weirdest Car Fads You Won’t Believe

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Trendy car modifications that should never have happened

Over the past century, the automotive industry developed rapidly, due majorly to the influence of unorthodox thinkers and creative minds. A lot of new ground has been broken when it comes to automotive transportation over those years. With such cutting-edge innovation comes a trail 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.

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Purposeful rust

Most people prefer 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 rust on grotesque rat rod modifications, it doesn’t make any sense why some car owners intentionally destroy or spray fake rust on their perfectly good daily drivers.

California Automobile Museum - 1950 Dodge Woodie Coronet Station Wagon
Photo: The News Wheel


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 association with luxury and SoCal surf culture, woodies made a resurgence that stuck around for far longer than anyone wanted.

stick figure family window decals stickers
Photo: Ruth Hartnup via

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.

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2020 Kia Stinger engine
Pictured: Kia Stinger engine
Photo: Kia

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 should you do? Get over it? Heck no! You equip your car with a device that imitates the noise that a much better engine would make.

Some gearheads crave having a growling engine under the hood that’s purposefully louder than the quiet, efficient, factory-original motor is. But all this does is give your neighbors headaches.

Turbonique Rocket Axle car fad history trend dangerous
The original Turbonique ad


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, this might sound like the most spectacular modification ever, but — sparing you the technical explanation — the rocket engine was highly volatile and notorious for exploding.


This modern trend is popular among some enthusiast groups who embrace over-the-top car mods like — in this case — 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.

dumb car fads modifications flush hellaflush tilted squatting wheel rims
Photo: daniel lim via flickr/cc


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

pickup truck bed tub pool water modification
Photo: Wade Tregaskis via Flickr/cc

Pools in truck beds (or old convertibles)

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 alcohol. And remove the muffler so the exhaust rumbles make jacuzzi bubbles. We can even run over potholes and speed bumps to makes waves!

dog sack original advertisement car modification
The original ad for this baffling product

The dog sack

Back in 1935, an invention was advertised that offered a convenient way to transport your dog: a sack that hung on the outside of your car.

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.

Wood gas cars

A car that burns firewood for fuel instead of gasoline? Yep! While this trend began for practical reasons to conserve on gasoline during World War II, these cumbersome modifications are still surprisingly around today.

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 its physical integrity. They’re like tumors growing on perfectly fine vehicles. On top of that, it was hard to see around and was a hazard on the road.

What fads have you seen that you can’t stand? Share them in the comments!