Show Your Ride in Style: Our Guide to Turning Heads this Show Season
Now that the sun has emerged from behind the clouds, it’s time for our vehicles not just driven, but to be shown in style. Whatever your daily driver – be it a sports car like the MX-5 or a commercial vehicle like the Caddy or VW Transporter, there’s no shortage of opportunities to be turning heads.
Events are being held pretty much everywhere! Popular destinations include exhibition centres like the NEC, the grounds of a National Trust site or a freshly mown field in the Cotswolds. What’s more, all of the must-have modifications and accessories are readily available. Bodykits, custom interiors, LED lighting, window tints, high-end polish, Plasti Dip – pretty much every product on your wish list – can be purchased 24/7 with the click of a finger.
Being well-versed in the manufacture and fitment of leather interiors, our surgeons understand the value of personalisation and can often be spotted indulging in the occasional car show themselves. So without further ado, here are our surgeons’ top tips to stand out from the crowd this show season.
You slammed that (we don’t mean your driver’s door)
Thanks to the internet, good-quality lowering kits for virtually every make and model aren’t hard to come by. Therefore, it’s no surprise that lowered suspension setups have spread into all corners of the car scene, from modified to modern classic. Take one look at a custom car show such as Fitted UK, and very few rides will be sat at the same height at which they left the factory. However, lowering your ride is far more than just a precise mechanical process – it’s an art.
Buying the correct kit is only half of the work. Finding that perfect balance of stance and practicality requires a lot of skill, patience and real world thinking. Lowering suspension isn’t cheap, so while it’s important for the car or van to sit visibly lower, it’s crucial to bear in mind usability and road regulations. In the UK, headlight beams have to shine between 500 – 1200mm above the ground from a distance of 15ft. Fail to make the necessary adjustments and your pride and joy could be turning heads for all the wrong reasons!
“For those wishing to be bolder with their suspension setup, we recommend Air Lift. Not only does it allow your vehicle to squat once it’s stationary, but it also ensures that your headlights sit inline with the law. Air Lift is an attractive investment for those in love with the low life.”
Rock those Rims
A stylish set of rims can instantly set your ride apart. Whether they be rally-spec OZs, high-end Vossens or five spoke RAYS, a set of aftermarket wheels tucked underneath the arches is a sure way to get show-goers gasping. However, it’s important to remember that just like paint colours and interior options, wheel designs go through various trends.
The early 2000s gave us chrome, the late 2000s introduced darkened alloys and today if we’re after something bespoke, we can have our alloys diamond cut. Unlike painted or chromed alloys, diamond cut variants use painted inserts and metallic faces to form an bold contrast, sure to have most Petrolheads looking twice.
“If you’re looking to purchase a commercial vehicle that’s been kitted out with some new shoes, we’d highly recommend checking out our friends over at GTE Customs. With a vast range of premium aftermarket wheels, including various diamond cut designs, GTE offer a superb variety of customisation options for the Caddy and Transporter.”
BONUS: Someone’s a bit rusty
Despite the pearlescent paint perfection of the 2000s and today’s fascination with vinyl wrapping, cars don’t always have to be spotless to turn heads. Originating in Japan and arguably inspired by the rat-rod scene, rusting up your ride is a daring, but innovative way to get heads turning in your direction. Requiring very little money and mechanical know-how, this strategy is perfect for the modifying novice.
“While such methods are a fantastic way to make a bold statement, it’s worth noting that to rust any part of your car or commercial vehicle can significantly reduce its lifespan. Hence why we advise you to only rust bolt-on panels, as they can be removed post show.”
Still have doubts about this trend? Well, before you dismiss it, click below to see how rusting a second hand high miler helped Mighty Car Mods turn heads at one of Australia’s largest JDM meets.
Do it with flare
In the case of aero, everything’s swelled up, as rugged wide bodies and flared bolt-on over fenders gain prominence. Derived from the aerodynamics of DTM race cars, widebodies are a quirky but controversial aesthetic which are proving popular with hardcore tuners, supercar fanatics and even customisers of commercial vehicles.
Opinions on widebodies differ. Some say that widebodies alter a vehicle’s proportions beyond the point of practicality and that bolt-on kits appear unfinished. Yet, others favour the bolt-on aesthetics and regard a widebody to be a far more effective source of stance opposed to rolled arches. Opinions aside, wide bodies with a bolt-on aesthetic are a superb way to make a bold statement – exactly what’s needed to win the people’s vote this show season.
“If bolt-on aesthetics would suit your sports car this summer, be sure to check out the body styling expertise of Liberty Walk and GReddy. Wide bodies are expensive modifications that require a lot of paint and prep work, so investing in parts from trusted manufacturers is a must.”
The power of preservation
If you’re spending the big bucks on either your car or commercial vehicle, it needs to be properly protected. Like everything exposed to the elements, our paintwork encounters various forms of debris, dirt and grime, which can muck up our chances of success on show day.
The most common form of grime attacking paintwork is road film, i.e. a build-up of pollutants that are bonded to the bodywork via a combination of friction and static. When coupled with dust particles, damp and freezing temperatures, the lustrous shine of a car’s bodywork is soon dulled – hence why a pre-show detailing routine is mandatory!
In an environment where details make all the difference, opting for the correct products, equipment and accessories is essential. For a broad selection and premium quality, we recommend paying a visit to the The Chemical Guys.
“To combat the build-up of road film, you can’t beat the simplicity of a clay bar. Gently glide it over your paintwork with generous amounts of soapy water to leave your bodywork feeling like glass, all in just a matter of minutes. Once parked up at the show, crack open a bottle of synthetic detail spray and begin to wipe off the dust using a microfibre towel. Then once the bodywork is clean lock out all the dirt and grime with a spray-on Carnauba wax. We recommend a couple of coats for a supreme gloss finish.”
Seat back and relax
No matter if you drive a highly modified seven-seat Transporter or a stock BMW 3 Series, the heart of any automobile is its interior. If you ask us, custom leather is the best of both worlds! Not only does it enhance your everyday driving experience, but it also turns a fair few heads come show day.
Look at the highly-modified Audi A3 of Danny Vaux (@s15_vxy). It’s vibrant orange diamond stitching contrasts with our signature black Nappa to create a bold, but luxurious interior combination.
Being a regular at petrol-powered events across the UK, Vauxy knows a thing or two about showing cars. Since visiting our surgeons last April, his A3 has been turning heads across the modified car community.
As a bespoke automotive leather specialist, we pride ourselves in tailoring your interior to you. With a wide variety of premium leathers and faux-alternatives alongside numerous stitching patterns and colours, our surgeons are armed with the expertise and tools to ensure that your interior is the focal point of your car, whatever the make or model.
For an insight into how our high-quality leather solutions can add a touch of premium to your interior and to see more examples of our work, be sure to follow us on Instagram @theseatsurgeons.
To place an order, please contact Luke on 01904 492833 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
So now the secrets are out, it’s over to you! Discover the latest car shows in your area by clicking here.