The mission statement for Curbside Classic is simple, but effective. Every car has a story. Sometimes that tale relates to the origins of a particular model in its historical context. Other examples include our always fascinating COAL entries, where the ownership experience is chronicled and our connection to our beloved vehicles documented. The vehicles featured in this post tell a story solely based on their appearances, with one being slightly more ostentatious than the other.
When the 300 first appeared in 2005, it garnered a fair amount of praise for its distinctive styling. It was proof a traditional three-box style sedan could still turn heads, and the car gained a sort of celebrity-like status for a short period of time. Fast forward ten years and you can see the results of those (second?) owners and their efforts to customize their cars to varying degrees of success and tastefulness.
Exterior wise, this particular 300 has a professional looking two-tone paint job that showed no signs of wear when I stumbled upon the vehicle, so at least it has that going for it. Your personal tastes may vary of course, however my gut tells me that the paint scheme is sound while the actual colors involved are not. I think black and white would have been far more effective towards going for the modern gangster vibe the car already gives out in stock form. My gut also tells me that chrome b-pillar and c-pillar attachments are a no go, but in this particular application they don’t look too bad.
The interior is another story. Two cardinal sins are being committed here: that leopard print dash cover and the probably fake wood dash bits applied to literally every place they could possibly go. I was curious as to how much all that applique cost, and my findings took me to this Amazon listing where a similar looking kit would set you back a cool $220 dollars. The leopard print cover? Looks like it cost about $40 to purchase here, at carid.com. Fun fact: the motto of that website is “Define Your Vehicles True Identity.” Obviously the car does not get a say when an owner wants to modify its identity, and I can say with confidence the 300 shown above would have most likely vetoed the changes if it did.
Our second featured car is a first generation Chevrolet Cruze. Although the current generation is set for an all new replacement very soon, the Cruze retains an attractive exterior that in no way looks outdated. At this point, it looks like the Cruze ends General Motors streak of building mediocre entry level sedans.
As for the modifications, all of them are very tasteful. My favorite alteration is the simplest: that black Chevy bow tie with the silver border fits in nicely with the surrounding paint and the black mesh grille. Those headlights look good too, and a visit to carid.com yields an aftermarket light assembly by a company called Anzo that bear a striking similarity to the headlamps shown above and cost about $664 for both. A search for matching fog lights was not successful, but my hunch is that they are also non-OEM equipment.
As for the rear end, it looks like tail lights were replaced, as the factory ones have a white and amber line running along the bottom for the reverse and turn signal indicators. The exhaust tips and diffuser also look aftermarket as well. And another black bow tie for the trunk, in addition to a sweet decklid spoiler. Quite a good showing for nice, subtle modifications.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find exactly who makes these tail lamps, but similar ones go for around $500 dollars per pair. Not too bad. I also came across these:
Pretty cool, right? They compliment the Cruze quite well, and while those rapid fire blinks sure don’t seem legal, the sequential turn signals are nifty. One potential downside is their resemblance to the rear lamps on the current Nissan Sentra, but I could hardly fault a Cruze owner for installing a pair. They look good. And for $399 a set they won’t break the bank.
Two different cars, very different modifications. Likely two different personalities. Would any of you modify your car in similar ways to what you see above, do you prefer a bone stock appearance?