Question of the Week: What terrible changes have you made to your car, only to regret it?

Back in 1968, growing up in Las Vegas, I blew the clutch on my 56 Chevy hardtop on Friday Night. Needed it for Saturday night, so I got after it out in front street of the folks house. I was under the car, grunting up the 4-speed , when a pair of legs walked by attached to a pair of pink hot pants. I raised up and let’s just say you could identify the trans spline on my forehead. I was 17, she 15…dated , married at 18, had 5 kids in between 3 divorces. I sure miss that 56 Chevy.


The one mod I regret seemed sensible at the time. 1978 Honda Accord. I added sway bars front and rear to flatten out cornering.
It did that. Unfortunately, the rest of the body had considerable twist-flex in it. In normal circumstances this was no issue. In an emergency/urgent crank of the steering wheel this set up a snap harmonic reaction and the car became crazily uncontrollable. Ultimately this led to its demise.
I wish I’d just let it lean in the corners like it was designed to do.

I’ve got electric cutouts on my 2009 Corvette and my 1969 Mustang convertible. Love them and I don’t have to listen to the exhaust note if I don’t want to. The Vette’s cutouts are behind the cats, so I run mostly with them cracked open. The cats muffle a lot of the engine sound. The Mustang’s are behind the collectors and the car essentially has open headers when they’re open. It was described by a car buddy of mine as sounding “rude”. I rarely open these. The worst mods, however, were the 2400 stall converter and the 3.73 TracLoc 9" Ford rear end my son and I installed, against my warnings, in his '69 Mustang Mach 1. The car was virtually unusable on the highway. Over 4K rpm at highway speeds. It finally wound up in my garage for years and I swapped in a set of 3.25 gears and a more rational converter and then I handed it back to him. He and his wife and two boys love the car now.

I opened the hood once.

Unbelievable that you would do that to a beautiful 58 Vette

My first car at age 16 (1966) was a mint 1963 Dodge Dart GT, black exterior, red interior, 225 slant 6 with 3 on the tree. First thing I did was install a floor shifter, then a 4-barrel int manifold. I pretty much lived at the garage that I worked for free to gain knowledge of mechanicing. The sons of the owner both raced Limited Sportsman and/or Moified Stock Cars. It didn’t take long for them to soup up my ride! We pulled out the motor, front end, rear end. We narrowed a one ton international pickup front end and made custom slide purches for the front suspension to work. Grabbed a plymouth station rear, wider then necessary but gave the car stability after radiusing the rear fenders. Next by this time I’ve built and am driving my own Modified. I took a spare engine I had built for backup for the race car and hooked to a Chevy 3spd and mounted in in th Dart. The result was a fun car I could pull wheelies with and whenever I took it out everyone wanted to race it. I prized my drivers license and would not compete and just kept them wondering. Like almost all my perviously owned vehicles I wish I still had them in there stock appearance or after I modified them. As I think back I never kept any ride stock and I’ve always had stick shift vehicles to this day.

I grew up in the 60s. I was the kid in the group that always had a car. My older brother was a 50s teenager and he was in a “Car Club” (gang) call the “Road Knights”. He’ was always wrenching, cutting, welding on his car(s) in the driveway and would often take me down to the club (gang) house. We had a local car shop (accessories) called “Hollywood Auto” in our uptown area; it was a long, long shop (not to wide) but had everything the wrench head, custom car guy would want, hoods, sidepipes, wheels, shift knobs, window tint (for those that remember; you sprayed the tint on back then, yep sray can tint), they also had every color you wanted in body spray paint, “rattle can”, metal flake, flat, gloss. Anyway I’m getting carried away and off subject; so when I picked up a car ($25 to $100.00) I’d immediately sand it down, primer it (rattle can), re-sand it; go down to HA, buy some pin strip (roll), stripe it, then take the “3 On-Da-Tree” off, cut the hole in the floor, put the “Hurst” HA shift kit in, get a cool “Shift Knob”, then once I saved up some cash would go back to HA and pick up a “Tear Drop” scoop, can of “Bondo”, and by Friday she’d be “MY RIDE”.

Well, I started just wanting to get it back into OEM shape, so I only got rid of the luggage rack and added a spoiler with the 3rd brake light. Everything else I added to it can come taken off and returned to stock looking appearance other then the sub frame connectors. The strut tower brace helps and the CAI can be a yes or now improvement if you ask me. All and all I held back on the really “once its done, its done upgrades” If and when I sell it , I know it’s as close to OEM as it can be. Interior is 100 % original and the non- oem upgrade are not visible unless you under the hood or under the car…

It was very good and very bad. The 389cid Pontiac engine with tri-power, a built Hydramatic trans and a Olds rear end. It went like a bat out of hell, however not so good on turning or stopping if either were needed in a hurry. Did I forget to mention it was stuffed into a '59 Rambler American? I did get 40k miles out of it before I sold it. Yes I did tell the buyer about the crack in the unit body structure caused by the body twisting when you really got on it. It was a REALLY quick stop lite racer. I’m still amazed I survived that car.

I did a mid-muffler delete on a 2017 Charger RT392. I read about it online, saw cool YouTube videos, and decided to jump in. About two months later, I was back at the muffler shop having them reinstalled. I was losing friends in the neighborhood from the cold starts at 5:30 am… actually, I was losing friends in the house too! :slight_smile:

Met someone recently with an ‘all original’ '68 Mustang California Special. When I looked inside the door panels were plywood!

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I had a 58 Impala Convertible in 1960 while still in high school. Working at a local parking lot for the summer at $1.00 an hour. On the way to work one day I pass by Eddies Auto Parts. There in the window is a set of full length, rippeled pipe, and triple end lake pipes.
The price $117.00, I worked all summer to come up with the money. Took all day on Saturday at my dads body shop to put them on. Didn’t have time to actually hook them up so I had radiator hose on the inlet end to look like they were hooked up. Gotta be Kool you know.
Going to the drive end that night with my steady girl. When I arrived at her house to pick her up, he first comment was “Why did you put vacuum cleaner hose on your car”:joy::joy::joy:6

At 20, of course you had to have a great stereo, cut the dash for the Din size instead of knobs, speakers in the rear deck and 3 amps on a plate in the trunk with a D9 Cat battery back there too.
On a trip into Reno the next year 1989, at dusk by the base out there with Pink Floyd blasting , we heard thump,thump thump?
There on the deck 100 feet off to the left was a Huey with the crew hanging off the side waving at us! Apparently they wanted to see what the car could do!, well not to disappoint i cracked it open to 130 until they flew off across the front.
32 years later I still have my 69 Z28, with the dash cutout and no stereo. But i was smart enough 20 years ago to put away an orginal dash to fix my dumb ass mistake. Still got thr battery in the trunk and a clear memory of that Huey just hanging there. Thanks to whoever those guys were .

Restored orig am/fm radio in my 72 Chevrolet. Malibu. There is a reason we now have stereo and HD sound, because the old radio sound was awful

When we killed the puny 7-1/4 rear axle in my 318 powered Volare Road Runner (don’t judge me!) we pulled the 340 engine, 727 trans, and 8-3/4 rear out of a rusty-beyond-saving Challenger and off we went. At first we only had a peg-leg 3.23 in it which we actually should have kept. A buddy of mine had a set of 4.56 sure grip gears in an old spare center section, so we put those in “just to see how it drove”. With the short little F-60-14’s all the way around the tach was up in the 4000 to 5000 rpm range on the highway. That lasted one whole day and the next night we put the car back up on jackstands and put the 3.23’s back in it. Fortunately changing out the center section on an 8-3/4 only takes about an hour with hand tools!)
If you want to talk about “terrible changes that we LOVED and laughed our a$$es off about…” look on YouTube for “Wheelie Van in the Driveway Part 1” and then “…Part 2”. We took a sawzall and cut the whole center /sliding side door out of a junker Dodge van that we picked up for free, put a bunch of weight behind the axle, and did wheelies like a Pro Stocker in the driveway for a couple of weeks. Even the neighbors thought that it was awesome! Never regretted it for a minute!!!