The History of Customisation
Although mass production of cars began in the 1920s, it was not until after WW2 that the first customised cars began to emerge. The owners of early custom cars were those returning from the war with first-hand experience of high-powered aircraft who were able to use their skills and knowledge to change the appearance and performance of their cars. Around the same time, the number of car races was increasing, creating a demand for more customisation to improve the chance of winning in races.
Customised cars and other vehicles remain popular in today’s culture, frequently appearing in computer games, movies, TV shows and even music videos. Because it is difficult for car manufacturers to stay abreast of what most owners and drivers want from their cars (partly due to the long research and development times needed), car lovers have the opportunity to customise their existing vehicles in whatever way they want, using parts from specialist companies. Depending on budgets and the level of customisation required, it can often be cheaper to customise or upgrade an existing vehicle instead of purchasing a newer model. There are also plenty of options and motorcycle accessories for motorbike customisation.
Just Some of the Customisation Solutions Available
For those who are looking for external customisation or body styling for cars, body kits, body mouldings, fuel caps, body trim, chrome detailing, window tinting, spoilers and alloys are some of the solutions available. Internally, car mats or floor plates, interior lights and new stereos or other in-car entertainment equipment are some of the most popular accessories to customise a car. Other internal styling solutions can include moulded dash kits, seat kits, seat accessories and custom steering wheels. Carbon bodywork, race bodywork, graphics and number-plate holders are some of the motorcycle accessories available to customise motorbikes.
Drivers considering extensive modifications, such as adjusting the suspension or fitting a new performance exhaust system, usually need to report the modification to their insurance provider and in some cases the DVLA. Those considering minor customisations, such as alloys, tinted windows and spoilers, may also want to check with their insurers before going ahead with the customisation, as these modifications often increase the value of the vehicle. Motorbike owners should also take the time to check as to whether any customisations will affect their insurance policy.
It is difficult to assess how many customised cars there are in the UK today. Many consider that customisation is a high-investment ‘hobby’ for performance or off-road vehicles. However, even those who throw out the rubber car mats and replace them with a set of sporting car mats, or replace standard headlamp bulbs with xenon bulbs, are still in some way customising their vehicle to their own tastes or practical requirements. In some cases, they are also increasing the value of their vehicle.
Whether drivers consider that customising their vehicle is an important hobby or they just want to add a few individual accessories to their vehicle, it is good to know that customising is just as popular today as it has ever been.
Lopez regularly contributes to a range of car and motorcycle blogs. Lopez owns a car and a motorcycle, which allows her to enjoy car-body customisation and also means that she can try out some of the latest motorcycle accessories available.