A station wagon may not necessarily be a modder’s (someone who loves modifying a car) dream vehicle. It’s more of a family vehicle, given the size, layout and the perceived lack of speed or power. However, station wagons have actually been given a younger image, particularly with the popularity of sporty station wagons and “estates” (which is the British name for the American name “station wagon”), such as the Subaru Outback, which is actually a sport utility wagon.
With some creativity, tools and patience, you will be able to “pimp” your station wagon for a better ride, or at least better looks.
Here are some tips.
Change your rims. The easiest way to customize any car is to change its rims. Station wagons usually come in boring 13” or 14” steel rims, which probably come with hubcaps. Why not give it a boost in terms of performance and looks with new magnesium-alloy wheels? Choose a bigger and wider set of rims, such as a 17” rim with a wider stance. For retro looks, you can even choose a chrome one. Note that you will have to purchase tires that will fit these rims.
Lower your ride. Get lowering springs installed, to reduce your ride height. This gives you several benefits. A lower ride will translate to more stable cornering. A lower stance will also make your station wagon look better. Watch out for street bumps and potholes, though. A low ride is not meant for rough roads.
Increase your ride height. Some modders will increase the height of their ride and install bigger wheels. This will make your station wagon look like a crossover SUV. Some would actually change their drivetrain such that the station wagon becomes a four-wheel-drive. This is especially useful if you are frequently passing through rough roads or dirt roads.
Install faux wood paneling. This can look old school, but if your intent is to make your station wagon look fresh from the 1970’s, you can install faux wood paneling outside the doors. This can also serve another purpose, which is to protect the sheet metal and paint from scratches.
Change your carpeting upholstery. Nothing will give you better comfort than installing leather upholstery. If your station wagon came with fabric seats, you can have it fitted with leather seat covers. Or, if you have the money, why not replace the seats with leather ones? If you’re more of the sporty type, have the front seats converted into bucket racing seats. Seats by Recaro are often used in racecars and sports cars. They are body-hugging, so you don’t experience much roll during cornering.
Add a beefed-up sound system. A station wagon has huge cargo space, so why not take advantage of this? Install bigger speakers and a subwoofer. You can then play tunes with a strong bass. Don’t be surprised if people do a double take when they hear and see your station wagon pumping out loud tunes on the street. If you like, you can even install a DVD player and small LCD screens on the dashboard and the front headrests. Nothing can quiet down a bunch of bored kids on a road trip than a cartoon or movie.