QotW: What’s the worst trend in car culture these days?

Apologies for the late QotW, thanks to a big storm that knocked out power a JNC HQ. It was an annoyance, but not as big an annoyance as the many atrocities committed by car people. We, for one, cannot wait for the matte paint trend to go away. Back in 2009 we were saddened to see that Lexus USA painted their LFA press car matte black while introducing their brand new V10-powered engineering marvel in front of the world. Fourteen years later we’re still waiting for the fad to disappear. There are many crimes, both fashion and actual, committed in the name of cars.

What’s the worst trend in car culture these days?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s your saddest story of saying goodbye to a car?”.

It’s always hard to read stories of automotive heartbreak. As car people we cherish these machines in ways normal people don’t, and they look at us like we’re crazy when we shed tears over a hunk of metal.

Rest assured that we feel your pain. An innocuous night drive for no reason than to enjoy a new car, as Azfer did just before losing an Integra. A split-second miscalculation that causes the loss of a cherished ride, like ra21benj‘s Celica. Being forced to sell a good car because there’s no funds for repair, like streetspirit had to with his Trans-Am. Well, we can’t say we’ve experienced the pain of Volkswagen being Volkswagen, but we understand the sadness of losing a car as rare as Taylor C.‘s brown manual diesel wagon.

The, uh,  winner this week is returning champion JJ who had years of hopes and dreams for his Honda Odyssey. Sadly, they were cut short due to an accident:

The day I had to give up my 2013 Honda Odyssey EX-L, dubbed “Batvan” by my kids. It was named because of a Lego Batman key chain that had been used almost as long as we had the van.

The Odyssey was purchased brand new by my wife and I three days after the birth of our second child, when we realized that the new rear-facing car seats were much too large for the interior of the CR-V we had at the time. Almost from the beginning it was a valued member of the family. For 10 years it happily carried and transported everything we asked of it. It easily held all of the assorted newborn and toddler paraphernalia for long trips to grandparents and other family members, something the CR-V was never able to do. Later, it was the perfect vehicle for youth sports trips and during Covid provided a great space for changing into hockey and football equipment. It transported everything during its life; furniture from multiple Ikea runs, a snowblower, recycling and dump runs, moving boxes, camping equipment, there wasn’t anything that wouldn’t fit in the back of Batvan.

Later on, when my wife got a new vehicle (a Ford Escape, ugh), I used Batvan to do the 2 hour daily commute for my job. While never the most exciting drive, she always delivered me where I needed to go in comfort. Driving rain? Whatever. Blizzard? No big deal, got snow tires. Scorching heat? Never once came close to overheating, and lordy is that A/C nice. Fuel economy? 8.9L/100km, thanks. The day before I lost her, Batvan had made her way to 380,000 km and showed no signs of mechanical failure. In my mind she was going to be my million-kilometre car, one that would horrify my adult children, grandchildren and wife. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

This spring I was taking my youngest (the pathologically late one) to school, and pulled out of our driveway without shoulder checking. BANG! Got hit in the rear passenger side by a high schooler in his mom’s Buick SUV. $16,000 damage to Batvan, a slightly dented hood to the Buick. Driveable, but by the time insurance was done she was detemined to be a total write-off. The day I had to leave her at the auto wreckers, still driveable, still mechanically strong, was tough. I said my good-bye after I parked her in the designated area, and had to fight back tears as I handed her keys (Batman keychain removed) to the owner of the wreckers. The only feeling I can compare it to was how I felt the day my wife and I lost our first dog.

Thanks to the insurance money we’re now making payments on a Honda Pilot Black Edition. While it’s nice enough, I find that it just doesn’t compare to Batvan, may she rest in peace.

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

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38 Responses to QotW: What’s the worst trend in car culture these days?

  1. BlitzPig says:

    Safari type roof racks for no apparent reason other than they are “in” now.

    • Jim Daniels says:

      Completely agree.It is also frequently those worried about their mileage/energy source that have a roof top tent attached at all times.

  2. MWC says:

    Rat rods make me vomit. I’m all for creativity, it started with a more comical approach to the traditional hot rod….then it got to the point where it was a branch of the “art-car tree” where you see the VW Bug covered in plastic crystals found in a yard sale chandelier, and on the next page of this coffee table book, the rusty “rat rod” that makes children laugh…now i have no idea where this trend is – post apocalyptic war machines? who knows, but it probably has a spider web and a clown somewhere…

  3. JJ says:

    Thanks again for the selection!

    Buying a Jeep or truck, and then adding the lift kit, fender flares, winch, 27″ mudder tires and rims along with all the other “off-road” equipment to a vehicle that will never leave the pavement. What I find hilarious is that the vast majority of these “off-road” vehicles would be worse in a real off-road situation than a stock 50 year old Land Cruiser.

  4. Ollie Tabooger says:

    Our (collective) standards for what is considered a cool build have fallen so far, LED lights and stickers are a build now. If you’re big pimpin then you get a crackle tune on your hand-me-down TSI Audi A4.

    Don’t get me wrong, keeping cars stock and enjoying them is fine but the LED lights/stickers crowd isn’t the stock car enjoyer crowd. Rather, the venn diagram of these folks and the street takeover crowd is either a circle or has a 98% overlap.

    I genuinely feel that gatekeeping needs to come back because at least when people used to put big body kits and altezzas on cars, they were at least putting in work. Not just googling “anti-social social club” and “lonely drivers club” stickers, buying $30 in LEDs off Amazon then expecting a trophy or driving into a light pole with their traction control on.

    • Alan says:

      Good lord crackle tunes. I live right off the I5 and all day long I hear this dreadful, artificial, overblown crackling. Sounds nothing like a real, authentic overfueling event and 100% like a video game. Garbage.

  5. Evil Twin says:

    Horrible sounding exhaust systems. Not loud exhausts. Not exhausts that sounds good. Not loud exhausts that sound good. HORRIBLE SOUNDING EXHAUST. I know, I know… I sound like a boomer yelling “get off my lawn”. but that’s not it, trust me.

    I have an “engine to tips” Mugen exhaust on my AP2 Honda S2K. I have true-duals with flow-masters on my big-block 1970 Dodge pick-up. I have twin Yoshimura slip-ons on my 919 motorcycle. I love a good aftermarket exhaust. Key word GOOD!

    I am fortunate and lucky to have 9 to 5 that allows me to work on some holy-grail cars from holy-grail marks, from throughout time and from around the world… Exotics, Sports-Cars, Off-Road, Luxury, Muscle-cars, Trucks, Grand-touring, and even true JDM stuff… GT-Rs, real Cobras, F40s, Countachs, 959s, Fuelie Vettes, Supras, Testarossas, DB5s, Vipers, 300SLs, new GTs & oid GT40s… I could go on and on… you name it, I’ve probably worked on it. (Never an LFA though… oddly enough one of the best sounding cars!) And nothing kills me like a bad exhaust on a car… ANY CAR. Mazda or Maserati, Ford or Ferrari, Dodge or Datsun, Aston or Audi… it doesn’t matter… I love all cars! 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, or 16 cylinders… it’s all good. But just because an exhaust makes it sound LOUD or LOUDER doesn’t mean it makes it sound GOOD!

    I was young dumb and/or broke once… I can sympathize and empathize with anyone and everyone. But trust me… save your money, shop-wisely, do your research and get an exhaust that sounds good. Loud… quiet… doesn’t matter. If it sounds like S**T it probably IS!

    Think about it… you’re at a show, a cars & coffee, a cruise night, the track, or the local gas station… you SEE a car you like, you go check it out. You SEE a car you don’t, you just keep moving, no harm, no foul. But you don’t have to SEE the car to HEAR it. If you HEAR a GOOD exhaust… you wanna find it and see it. You HEAR a car with a BAD exhaust…. it’s just UGH! You can’t look away from sound! And just because people look, doesn’t mean they like it. It’s like they’re making everbody who loves cars LOOK bad by SOUNDING bad.

  6. Michael K. says:

    Hands down, it is the takeover idiots. I am filled with joy every time I see one of those videos where one of those clowns gets flung into the sky because they got too close to a “swinging” Mopar or VQ. I can only hope they land on their heads and Darwin themselves out of the species.

  7. streetspirit says:

    you know, i really like the modern day car scene, i genuinely think we’re at peak creativity and community with the internet bringing styles together from all over the world. there’s the Mica Dori benz here in europe(UK i believe) engraved like chicano dreams, kaido racers built stateside and obscure lotusses recieving track treatment in the land of the rising sun.

    but what i cant get next to in this summer of motoring love are guys like whistlindiesel destroying perfectly fine cars that would last an enthousiast a lifetime just for clout and shock value.

    in terms of mods though i’d say bad fender flare jobs.
    Don’t cut what you cannot weld.

  8. Christoph says:

    In my opinion it is way better than it was in the 2000s…

    The Pimp my ride and Fast and furious influence, the extreme stanced VIP look. All got a little bit mature and higher quality.

    Restomods and stuff like OEM+ are a lot nicer to look at…

    • Jonathan P. says:

      I do like the clean look of an OEM+ car, but I can’t help but appreciate the customization people did to their cars back in the early 2000’s. The aftermarket scene was nuts, as there were parts, body kits, and turbo kits for pretty much anything on the road at the time.
      Nowadays it seems you have race cars, then you have show cars, back then they were doing both at once.

  9. RX626 says:

    Carbon/Black splitters and canards with colorful accent colors painted on their edges.

    This fad has given many brands of cars a vulgar and childish look.
    To me, it’s more abominable than Rocket Bunny.

  10. Land Ark says:

    It’s time to end the black wheel trend. Its origins come from people rattle canning their poor condition wheels as a cheap alternative to actually making them look nice or people removing the hubcaps from their cars and just having steelies. Now the OEMs are putting black wheels on everything from Mirages to Flying Spurs.

    And as a bonus, the term “whip” to refer to one’s car is a misunderstanding of the original term WIP which stands for Work In Progress. If your car isn’t undergoing some sort of modification or rebuild, it’s not a “whip.”

    • steve n says:

      not to mention, black expensive, heavy, oversized aluminum wheels look like black cheap, heavy, undersized steelies….

    • Jim Daniels says:

      The origins of the black wheels come from the original 432Z to my knowledge.

      • steve n says:

        I think the origins come from Canadian winters, and from people that can’t bother to clean their wheels. Which makes me think….black wheels are probably a good idea as they never need cleaning. 🙂

  11. Ian G. says:

    Why has no one said it? Stanced Cars (Or overly exaggerated stance). These are supposed to achieve a cool look but it kills said look and the performance of the car. These poor cars’ handling just goes out the door and then of course their big wheels are tilted out the bottom and you have no contact patch (bye bye tread life), practicality and common sense. I am in my 40’s with a lowered car but the stanced cars are ridiculous, kills drivability (I’ve seen one not clear a small speed bump the size of a hampster) and struggle driving in the rain.
    Stop! For the love of all that is good. Stop! Also takeovers and snap, crackle pop exhausts are ridiculous. I know its not the old guy in me doing the talking.

  12. steve n says:

    Black windows, taillamps and license plate covers.

    Windows hinder seeing the other driver’s intentions – necessary for traversing the roads.

    Taillamps just cut visuals in dark, rainy and foggy following.

    License plate covers (especially vanity plates) are there just so owner can’t be identified for bad driving or intentional road rage, not to mention tolls.

    • Alan says:

      Tinted windows cut back on UV damage to old plastics, and good tint doesn’t really hinder visibility at all. Looks are subjective, but it works on some cars/types of builds IMO.

      I’m with ya 100% on the others.

      • steve n says:

        You are missing the point. The tint hinders visibility of the person behind the wheel to others not only driving, but pedestrians and bicycles as well. Those are the people that rely on seeing if someone is actually driving and paying attention rather than riding behind the wheel without paying attention. Others are at risk without getting the visual cues from those in the driver’s seat. It is a stressful situation.

  13. Harley Cluxton III says:

    two stepping contests
    backfiring exhausts
    stanced suspension
    stretched tires
    fake tow hooks

  14. Porter says:

    Giant exhaust tips on a truck is the worst.

  15. steve n says:

    If I can add yet another, it is the horrible excess in design elements on new cars. Highlights going every which way, lines over lines over lines with no rhyme or reason. And just damn ugliness in excessive forcible shapes and elements. I happened upon a BMW M3 wagon or estate for sale and I ask myself, what is going on here? especially that rear door to quarter and the horrible gap!!!!


    Comedy at it’s finest!

  16. Alan says:

    Geman Supras

    Cliquesh-ness (ie “dope build man! could you please share specs?” “lol no go away loser” – from some dude posting his build on IG because he’s totally not soliciting the approval of others to begin with)

    Loud exhausts on V6’s


  17. Alan says:

    Please unlock my comment from comment jail and delete this one, fellas <3

  18. Nathan Smith says:

    I’m sure to ruffle some feathers with this one… but fender flares. I’m not talking your tasteful molded to fit your specific car type flares. I’m talking the Ebay / Amazon specials that seem to dawn everything from sedans to pickup trucks now days. I’ve seen so many cars that I would have been interested in buying, but the previous owner screwed on some over fender flares, and hacked out the fenders to clear oversized, wrong offset wheels…

  19. Nigel says:

    Automatic cars that make manual sounding exhaust noises that sound like they are at the “Ring” all the time.

  20. Bryan Kitsune says:

    It’s not really a trend since it’s been happening for decades, but I think I’m going to go with “being obese.”

    Vehicles are huge, overweight monstrosities. I remember thinking my 2000 Celica GT-S was large when I first got it in 2007. I was coming from older – mainly 4th generation ’86-89 – Celicas.

    Of course, now the 7th gen ’00-05 Celicas are tiny compared to most anything available. Coupes are almost non-existant, even sedans are on the endangered species list.

    As for actual trends, I dunno. I think the stance thing is stupid. I don’t understand making your suspension look broken. Also ridiculously bright headlights that apparently still don’t light the road very well are a problem. I hate driving at night due to being constantly blinded by oncoming traffic.

    Combining these annoyances…I’m not sure how all these freaking huge trucks with super intense lights from the factory are somehow “safe” for pedestrians and other drivers, but we can’t have pop-up headlights anymore because of “safety”. But that’s another rant for another day (or to annoy my wife with yet again when I get home).

    • BlitzPig says:

      Absolutely. People are now calling the new gen GR86/BRZ light. Really? They weigh in at just over 2800lbs. There is nothing light about them.

  21. ra21benj says:

    Shop car builds, where the car has perfect paint/body, that latest Rays wheels, the latest body kit, the most expensive 3-way suspension, and latest fad hot-rod engine swap that turns car into a drag car. This shop car just ends up being featured in a car show and shown all over Youtube, then disappears to make way for next year’s shop build. This car is so far removed from what everyday people are able to build, it might as well be a Ferrari. These cars are a “business” expenses and end up looking like every other shop build, except with the latest version of the TE37 wheel or whatever “partner” sponsor part. I prefer seeing private built tuner cars with no hot-rod engine swap and whatever wheels/parts their owner wants to install that’s actually different, unique, and original.

  22. Jonathan P. says:

    Youtube car builds where they make it look like a stripped out resto project with custom turbo intake, custom exhaust, full forged internals, body kit, wrap, new wheels, tires, fresh interior with embroidered seats, steering wheel, dash, nitrous oxide wet system, anti-lag, and FCon V-pro with custom tune and dyno getting put together takes only 24 minutes instead of like 5 years or something.

  23. f31roger says:

    I agree with so many people on here!

    Coming up in the Honda Era and loved the car show scene at the time, gives me a more understanding perspective of common trends.

    When I started to get back into cars.. Stance was THEE thing to do. As before, we used to have “memes” of different levels of “Flush”.

    I couldn’t careless for sticker bombed trend because I felt it was too simple of an idea, but there were some cars out there that looked cool.

    With the overlanding trend, I’ve always liked 4×4 and seeing that half the Filipino community has gone overlanding (if you didn’t know, a lot of Toyota 4 runners, Trucks, Tacomas…etc are staples in my community), I feel I need to step away from it. I loved my Mitsubishi Outlander and Montero and wanted to someday build something like that (I still might), but I am one to kind of get away from mainstream stuff.

    As for social media builds… some those builds by regular folks is amazing. Prizza Mike’s 240sx rebuild from his Tbone was awesome. Kalvin Mali’s GTR restoration, while cool… sucks to see that he got a bad deal on it, but decides to rebuild it.

    I have gone away from the bigger names like Adam LZ, Tommy Fyeah, even Sammit. I do check their content at times, but not how I used to… these guys can afford the high end cars and parts and have all resources in the world.

    That is something I can’t relate to.

    But overall, trends change and so does the crowd.

    I think takeovers are dumb, but I have to say, people being stupid never gets old.

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