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by John Cadogan

Auto accessories are generally quite conservative. You’ve got your seat covers, your floor mats, your driving lights. That is, before before you jump into the Twilight Zone, where you can witness some of the greatest automotive travesties of all time. It’s hard to believe, but people actually sat down and dreamed this stuff up. Often, they set up a $300 website and started foisting these products on an unsuspecting motoring public … shortly before retiring to the Bahamas on the profits.

Imagine being able to hold your head up and in public say: “I made my first million off the Executive Laptop Steering Wheel Mount.”

Above: An example of over-zealous automotive personalization

The other fact to consider here is that car company styling departments are a big deal. They collectively agonize over the smallest details (piano black, or faux carbon-fibre inserts?). By the time it rolls off the production line a car has been styled within an inch of its life, and every detail is comprehensively assessed by focus groups before being signed off by some styling bigwig earning an annual salary that would make Aristotle Onasis sit back and whistle, albeit via ouija board.

However, no matter how much thought goes into the styling process, back at Car Company Central, the final arbiters on style, features and practicality are the car owners themselves. It’s hard to go terribly wrong with the seat covers and mats. But sometimes a great deal of ill-conceived effort goes into making average cars much, much worse – sometimes at considerable expense.

This compendium of crappy car customizations is among the worst.

1. Fake bullet holes

Above: Do you a) unleash your inner gangsta with these stylish faux 50-calibre bullet holes, or b) save the money and put it towards that lobotomy your parents always wanted you to have?

2. Bumper Dumper

Above: Auto accessory number one … at least when it comes to number twos, the Bumper Dumper was originally conceived as an off-road accessory, which slips neatly into the receiver of a Hayman-Reese style towbar. (Note beautifully crafted toilet roll holder on stage right. Underslung plastic bag is optional.) Could develop a real following in Australia if capital city motorway gridlock gets any worse

3. BumperNutz

Above: Funny – but only after the first dozen beers. And a guaranteed first date ‘fail’

4. CarThong


Above: Who hasn’t wanted one? Admit it. I mean, does this G-string make my Impreza look fat? Secretly, however, the CarThong is a fantastic anti-theft device. No self-respecting carjacker would be seen in public wearing one of these babies

5. Carstach

Above: Conceived as a moustache for your car, but really makes you look like you failed to stop after hitting Chewbacca’s dwarf cousin on a pedestrian crossing

6. Fries Holder

Above: A-fricken-mazing! Seamlessly transforms a conventional cup holder into a McDonald’s fries holder. In use, you simply nurse the scalding hot coffee you also just bought in your lap. What could go wrong? Stay tuned for the Heart Foundation ‘tick of approval’ special edition

7. Neon-illuminated Hubcap ‘Spinners’

Above: Takes all the culture, good taste and general air of refinement boasted by conventional spinners, and adds just a splash of ‘bordello’

8. Gull Wing Door Conversion

Above: When mediocre cars go bad. How to damage irrepairably the resale value of a boring but otherwise serviceable and reliable car – at great expense. This Accord is not even half a micron closer to being an SLS as a result

See the world’s worst steering wheel accessory here. A real tech ‘fail’.