Modifying your car is a deeply personal journey. It’s about taking a regular car that plenty of other people would be happy to own just as it came out of the box, and then molding it to suit your own tastes.
You might want to make it go faster and handle better, or in the case of this Subaru BRZ’s owner, you might want to create what you think is a rolling piece of art, and don’t mind that it’s going to handle a thousand times worse by the time you’ve finished.
This kind of extreme modification is massively polarizing. I bet at least as many of you think it looks fantastic as consider it a huge waste of a car that’s widely acclaimed as one of the best-driving sports cars of recent memory.
By the owner’s own admission this car is massively compromised on the street. The suspension is static, rather than on airbags, meaning it’s permanently fixed at just one inch from the ground, and the feeble half a turn of steering that can be applied in either direction before the gigantic wheels hit the bodywork must make it about as maneuverable as a semi trailer in town.
Aquilla, the Hawaii-based creator of this BRZ, says he grew inspiration from three different Japanese trends. One is shakotan, which is characterized by extremely low ride height and stretched tires, and the second is onikyan, or “demon camber”. The last is the bosozoku cars and bikes you might have seen sporting front splitters like an African tribeswoman’s lip plate and exhaust tailpipes that look like you crashed through a construction zone and exited with a load of scaffolding tubes trailing from your rear bumper.
Special adjustable strut-top plates and lower suspension arms help create the extreme camber, a look which is amplified by the massively wide wheels which measure 12 inches wide at the front and 13 inches across at the back. The owner claims the tires pretty much run on the sidewall, which must make wet conditions interesting, particularly since it has hockey pucks for springs. And no, that’s not a joke. To run so low without risking the suspension compressing on a bump and one of the wheels wrecking the fenders this car rides on pucks instead of coils.
I haven’t been up close to, let along ridden in this car, but have no qualms whatsoever in saying that it must be complete garbage to drive. But the way I see it, this kind of modification isn’t much different to what customizers were doing in the 1950s when they created lead-sleds by slamming cars on the deck, chopping roof pillars and mashing multiple grilles together to create a unique look. Aquilla is totally up front about the fact that he made the mods because he wanted to get noticed.
He also admits he gets hate every day for what he’s done to this BRZ, which seems a shame. It might not be our idea of a perfect BRZ, but we should at least respect the work that’s gone into it, and the fact that he’s obviously very happy with the result.
What do you think of this kind of extreme modding that actually makes cars drive worse in order to look “better”? And has anyone actually driven one of these cars and can tell us how they feel? Leave a comment and let us know.