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Top 10 Car Makes and Models for Custom Aftermarket Modifications and Upgrades

Jun 5, 2016


As some point in time, someone has probably successfully modified every make, model or year of car from 1970 on.  Cars have been modified for speed, style, rally, drag, drifting, racing, and even for sheer entertainment. 


The aftermarket community accounts for a huge portion of the automotive industry, expanding their availability of aftermarket parts and options year after year as new models are created.   Over the years front runners have evolved in the tuning world, preferred vehicles of modifying choice, based on their availability, affordability, and customizability.  


Here’s the top ten most aftermarket mod’ed cars on the street today:  



Volkswagen GTI


This sporty hatchback has been a tuner favorite for years.  The GTI helped launch a Volkswagen tuning subculture that’s as vibrant as any in the car world.   Its aftermarket parts and community and online following is one of the strongest of any make/model around.  



Honda Civic


One of the most popular tuner cars that has ever been built.  Affordable for young adults as both a new and used vehicle, the Honda Civic is easily one of the most customizable cars on the street of all time, with a legion of aftermarket companies that fully support it.   Pre-2000 models are preferred for their better-handling chassis and more tunable engines.



Scion tC


The new kid on the block in the tuner community, definitely giving Honda Civics a run for their money, being both affordable and geared toward the younger driver.  The aftermarket options for them are endless and modded tC’s have been popping up at car shows everywhere. 



Subaru WRX STI


An extreme tuner cult car, that only comes in two base colors (blue & yellow) the Subaru WRX ST is a car that is loved and envied, but usually only by other Subaru WRX STI owners.  Again, a real cult car and tight knit community, turbocharge and AWD have made this vehicle a rally circuit  favorite.  



Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 


Next to the Eclipse, the Lancer Evolution is one of the things that Mitsubishi did well over the years, bringing a turbocharged four-wheel drive four door vehicle to North America.  Its reputation as a world class rally car preceded it’s sale in the United States.  There are versions of the Lancer that have been purchased over the years but the with moderate tuning, it will have the ability to keep up with a Corvette.  Some compare it to the Subaru WRX STI and consider them to be big rivals in the tuner community.  



BMW 3 Series/M3


The darling of car magazines is also the darling of the garage. Modified Euro (meaning German) cars have gotten nearly as popular in the U.S. as staple Japanese models, largely thanks to the 3 Series.


Its compact rear-wheel drive chassis makes an excellent basis for performance mods, and there’s also plenty of room to improve its handsome-but-staid exterior.


Despite its luxury badge, finding a used 3 Series is also pretty easy. Any of the past generations will do.



Ford Mustang 


Most people prefer to “restore them” instead of tune them, but it still doesn’t stop ups.  People have been modifying mustangs since the ‘60s and showing off their "American Muscle” off everywhere they go.  However, many of them become pretty unrecognizable as “American” anything after thousands of dollars have been invested into them aftermarket. 



Nissan 240SX


AKA the Drift Machine.  Nissan’s discontinued entry-level sports car is best known today as a drift machine. It’s rear-wheel drive chassis and bulletproof powertrain make it perfect for going sideways.  Even if you’re not drifting, the 240SX can become the basis for an agile track car, and its classic good looks pair well with a variety of body kits and wheels. 



Toyota Supra


Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda wants his company to build more exciting cars, like it used to.  Over four generations, the Supra became as iconic as any model that ever wore a Toyota badge.


It may not be around anymore, but the Supra is still coveted for its styling and engines, which can be upgraded to produce massive amounts of power.  According to Super Street, models found between 1984 and 1987 offer the best chassis build options as back then Corollas were rear-wheel drive, and engine rebuilds are relatively straightforward, as this vehicle was naturally aspirated. 



Audi A4 (B8)


For those of you with bigger wallets and German blood, much like the M3, the Audi A4 is an extremely modified car with a strong following.  The right modifications to your A4 can lead to at least a 30% or more increase in power output.


The Audi A4 on it’s own is actually pretty well balanced, in terms of the performance of the engine, suspension and brakes.  Audi’s B8 is most preferably modified and is nothing of the kind from the factory.  It has plenty of torque in the low end and can spin up through the gears fast, especially with the Triptronic transmission in sport mode, making it a favorite of tuner communities everywhere.   Best part of the A4’s custom community is that many keep the exterior upgrades modest, and concentrate on the vehicle’s speed and power, creating one heck of a sleeper. 



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