Legal Mods 101: Appearance

Find out how to beautify your car, be totally road legal and even possibly add value to it

Singapore – 
Talk about modifying a car and the (unfortunate) image in popular culture might be something like this:

But cars are often extensions of their owners’ personalities. After all we’ve found out that choosing a car is a highly personal process, one that requires experts with a certain sensitivity to what buyers really want.

And if you want to change things around a little, you don’t really need to delve into a black market world of shady characters on the fringe of society and be ready to give up your car in illegal street races – as much as Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift would have you believe. When it comes to modifications choices, as Yoda says, there is another, and one that’s decidedly ‘light side’ in its approach.

Mythical purists might snigger at the idea of buying dress-up parts from the same place you originally purchased your vehicle, but one’s mileage obviously varies (literally and figuratively) with the authorised dealer of choice.

In the case of Toyota, and its AD Borneo Motors, you can go quite far to making a car look much different than the regular examples. Toyota has its performance and tuning department, Toyota Racing Development (TRD), which makes official add-ons and mods for the brand’s vehicles.

Since they’re official bits, they obviously have met all the extant Land Transport Authority guidelines  regarding cosmetic mods – you can drive up beside the LTA’s bike-mounted officers with a confident smile any time.

TRD’s line of add-ons also encompass a huge variety of categories, anything from a new grille to wheels and even smaller customisations, like radiator caps.

You could start with a set of forged-alloy wheels which are stronger and lighter than regular ones – shown above are a TRD set for the Toyota Camry costing $3,535.  Sounds steep? Well this price includes installation with a new set of tyres, trade-in of the old wheels, plus the peace of mind that comes with an officially-sanctioned product.

The other side of the colour spectrum is bad-ass matte gunmetal, shown here is an 18-inch wheel set for the Toyota Corolla Altis priced at $2,550 also with installation, new tyres and trade-in.

For a subtle boost to a car’s image, a new grille is a good choice like the carbon-look front grille also for the Corolla Altis ($332.10) but if you want something loud and proud you could switch out the entire front end with the TRD Sports Kit ($3,424.00, shown below in white) which has a carbonfibre front lip spoiler, aerodynamic design and new LED daytime running light clusters. Not only does the price include installation, it’s even sprayed to colour-match the car’s current paint work.

This is just a small example of the wide choices available if you want your car to look different from the crowd, and there are also more benefits. Put all kinds of weird mods on the car and it actually lessens the car’s re-sale value – Tokyo Drift implications once again.

But using official, approved parts does the opposite, since one can be sure the parts are genuine, guaranteed to work with the car and installed by an AD, all of which might even boost the re-sale value of a car. A bunch of mods which won’t lose you money at the end of the day? That’s stranger than any fictional drifting underworld, but one that’s true.

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