Cars

5 Most Embarrassing Mods From the Early 2000s

It’s the early-2000s: Apple introduces the revolutionary iPod, boy bands own the airwaves, and the original The Fast and the Furious film brings underground import tuner culture to the mainstream.

For the most part, the cultural phenomenon spurred by the massive success of The Fast and the Furious was a good thing—the automotive aftermarket exploded with a dizzying array of performance parts, and car communities grew and became more inclusive. The import tuner craze also drew in a throng of young car enthusiasts to the fold.

These youthful enthusiasts were inspired to customize, modify, and upgrade their rides in all sorts of distinctive ways, with varying degrees of success. Lightweight wheels, tasteful aftermarket exhaust systems, and snazzy racing seats were just a few of the favorable mods of the time.

As for the less-than-favorable mods from the early 2000s?

Read on, curious reader, though you may be sorry you asked.

1. Scissor doors

Scissor doors on a Smart Roadster is just, well, stupid | Photo by Peustache

Scissor doors, also called Lambo doors or vertical doors, initially appeared on an Alfa Romeo concept car in 1968 but were later popularized by the Lamborghini Countach in 1974. Lambo doors are flashy and right at home on flamboyant Italian exotica, but these trick doors look downright dopey on a ratty late-80s Toyota Tercel or equivalent econobox.

2. Hideously busy body kits

A modified Nissan 350Z with a flamboyant body kit parked in a garage.
2003 Nissan 350Z replete with garish body kit | Charlie Larkman via Unsplash

You’re probably more likely to find toilet seat protectors at a dive bar than a well-executed and good-looking body kit for your car. And the 2000s were filled with slapdash body kits sprouting all manner of obscene gills, lips, spoilers, and scoops. Worst of all, these ungainly growths were nonfunctional approximately 100% of the time.

3. Altezza taillights

The first-gen Lexus IS series popularized Altezza taillights | Photo by OSX

Introduced by the Japanese-market Toyota Altezza (imported as the Lexus IS 300 in the U.S.) sports sedan, Altezza taillights, also known as clear lights or Euro lights, were initially novel and inspired other manufacturers to jump on the bandwagon. With time, misguided motorists tacked on cheap-looking clear taillights on their clapped-out cars, making what was once a fresh styling trend tragically out of date.

4. Obnoxiously loud aftermarket exhaust

A prime example of a so-called Fart Can exhaust | Cartman22100 via YouTube

No, that’s not a hive of furious bees buzzing inside a trumpet over-amplified through a stack of vertical rock concert-style speakers—it’s a ludicrously loud and terrible-sounding aftermarket exhaust on some poorly-tuned commuter car. Hilariously nicknamed Fart Can exhaust systems for obvious reasons, this shameful mod was the most offensive thing to come out of the 2000s alongside Bratz.

5. Spinners

A chromed Spinner wheel straight outta 2000 | Photo by IFCAR

Nothing quite says tacky early 2000s car fad like spinners. Once affixed to the center of a wheel, spinners used roller bearings to rotate independently from the wheel, causing the accessory to spin even when the car is at a stop. Spinners enjoyed some pop culture salience for a couple of years, but like The Pepsi Girl, gradually faded into obscurity sometime in the mid 2000s.