Rabbit not fit for stew

Saga of an idiot and his mutilated car:

I drove many junkers back in the day but they always had one thing in common…they were at least safe. This is a nice looking Rabbit but the wheels are ugly and unsafe. I’m glad the officer pulled this rolling deathtrap over.

This “hellaflush” fad is getting out of hand. I don’t understand a lot of car fashion, like when you make it look like all 4 corners have a destroyed suspension, but I really don’t understand why the unsafe mods are so popular.

Awhile ago it was lowering by cutting the springs. Then it was clear tails with brake lights that you couldn’t see in the sunlight. Now this junk.

When are we going to get back to useless fins and weird fender holes? :wink:

How about spoilers, wings, very low profile tires, and strange headlight designs. I’d rather have tail fins.

Probably the single worst thing that ever happened to car customizing was FWD. It led directly to the roller-skate look, with wheels sticking well out of the fender wells. Yes, in olden times RWD had us doing the same thing in back a lot, but at least it wasn’t the steering end. And if you had the money/ability you could always narrow the rear end. Just think about trying to narrow the FWD front end! Mercy!

How about spoilers, wings, very low profile tires, and strange headlight designs.

None of those is an actual safety concern, however. If you want to make your car look stupid, as long as it doesn’t compromise safety I say go for it. The hellaflush look requires you to make your car inherently less safe.

And I don’t follow, @auto-owner , how FWD led to stupid customizations.

“How about spoilers, wings, very low profile tires, and strange headlight designs.”

Here ya’ go:


I really like that last photo!
Why go to the expense of buying an essentially useless (and potentially damaging) K & N air filter unless you mount it on the corner of your bumper where it can be snapped-off by the next person parking in front of you.


Fads like this come and go. Back in the late 1940s and early 1950s adding chromed accessories to a car was the thing to do. I remember big chome horns on either front fender of a 1949 Cord convertible. Later in the 1950s, one stripped the chrome off the car if one wanted to be cool. Back in the 1950s, the in thing to do was to lower the rear end of the car. A decade or two later, you were supposed to raise the rear end of the car. When I was growing up, it wasn’t stylish to be seen in a pickup truck then suddenly pickup trucks were in. In the late 1950s, you had to have a V-8-- we looked with disdain on a 6 cylinder car if the V-8 was an option. Then, the in car was a VW Beetle with only 4 cylinders. Minivans were in when Chrysler Corp began selling them in 1984. Now minivans are only driven by people like me who have no sense of style.

Still the one that sticks in my mind years ago driving in South Minneapolis, I came across a Caddy that had been painted in that fuzzy velvet stuff. Don’t remember the color anymore but think it was green. You know the stuff that you put on that dog model kit to simulate fur back in the 60’s. Like a flocked car. The guy had a big Panama hat on and looked pleased as punch at the results. I just covered my mouth and snickered.

I dunno though, maybe people snickered at my yellow and raked 1960 Morris Minor too with the WDGY radio sticker. 1962 GM mellow yellow but I didn’t screw the suspension up, just used larger diameter tires on the rear.

I’ve seen a few cars with this extremely exaggerated camber setup… and I don’t understand the desire to do it. It’s damaging to the car in so many ways I don’t know where to begin. And it’s dangerous on the road. Those wheels stand an excellent chance of coming off for any of a number of reasons (failure of the lugs, the ball joints, the tie rod ends, and who knows what else). When a wheel does come off, and the chances are excellent that one will, it could well hit another vehicle or cause the rabbit to hit another vehicle and cause a major accident.

I commend the cop for pulling the car off the road. It’s too bad about the loose nut behind the steering wheel.

Ok, this thread reminds me that I have a stupid question. Well another one … lol …

What is it about lowering the car closer to the road surface that makes it appealing? Is this something either you understand or you don’t? Like modern art paintings of soup cans? Either you understand, or you don’t, and nobody will be able to explain it to you?

The reason I thought of this, I was looking at the magazine Hot VW’s the other day, and one article is about a really nice restoration, 1967 turquoise blue Beetle that has been restored to perfect stock condition. No lowering, no super charged engine, no alloy wheels, pretty much the same as it would have been new, whitewall biased tires and half moon hubcaps and all. And I thought that was a really refreshing change. That would be a car I could really like and enjoy to drive. Unlike many of the restorations you see in those magazines.

It seems to me that if you lower the car, the only thing different is, you won’t be able to drive over the curb in front of your house to get the car into your driveway. You’ll be bottoming out on things all the time. Wouldn’t that make for a frustrating driving experience?

So there must be some advantage of lowering, in order to put up with the obvious disadvantages. I have a sense this is something I’ll never be able to understand.

The big thing in my area now is “chrome paint.” I’ve seen a dozen or so cars and trucks painted like this and there were only a couple that looked decent. So far…all of them have been painted in different colors. I liked the red truck and the blue car but that’s about it. The pea soup green almost turned my stomach. I’ve seen this paint on show cars but it’s now on the streets in my area.

George, lowering a car is a longtime customizing technique. Look at any custom car magazine from the '50s, and you’ll see nothing but lead sleds, all lowered as much as possible. A variety of methods were used, including de-arched leaf springs, coils springs either cut or torched, spindles with different geometry. All to get that “slammer” look. Nothing new. I’d say that %90 of it is done for looks.

However, there are a lot of people out there now “restifying” their cars. Combination of Restore/Modify. You can get new springs, control arms, and other suspension components that will dramatically improve the handling of a '60s muscle car. One of the end results is that it usually sits approximately 1.5" or so lower than stock. The lower center of gravity, along with thicker-than-stock anti-sway bars (If the car even HAD anti-sway bars, many of the 1st gen muscle cars didn’t have them.) make for less tipping in corners, and a more stable car. Combine that with the quicker ratio steering boxes now available, and you can really change and improve how these old beasts handle.

If 20" wheels are called ‘dubs’, what are 30" wheels called?..‘trips’?

Lowering cars to get the Cg lower has long been a common part of many custom jobs… and if done properly is perfectly safe. Greater camber angles come with the territory for most kids… who have neither the budget nor the knowledge to do it properly. Most simply cut a few coils out of the springs.

Recognize that I realize the advantage of greater camber angles in racing, but mechanics who wrench race cars do it safely. Many in the pro pits are really engineers rather than mechanics.

But that Rabbit, and some like that that I’ve seen, that create insane camber angles… I cannot imagine any way to do that safely. The potential problems, the absurd stresses placed on the parts, are too numerous to list. These things are just dangerous. In a showroom they might look “cool”, but they have no right endangering others on the streets.

If anyone here has driven one of these… I’m curious… what do these extreme tire tilts do to handling during braking? And on braking in corners? I mean the question seriously. I’m curious.

If you read the driver’s post, the fact that he “Left for the 150 mile drive at 2am so I wouldn’t cause traffic while driving at 45mph.” says it all. Even he knew the thing is a dangerous heap.

Excellent point, DrRocket.

Look at any custom car magazine from the '50s, and you'll see nothing but lead sleds, all lowered as much as possible.

Watch ANY episode of Gas Monkey Garage…every vehicle they customize get’s lowered. Doesn’t matter if it’s a Model A Ford or a 2010 F150.

I like modded cars as much as anybody but that Rabbit is a rolling death trap and the cops should stop and impound that thing. About half a dozen years ago some guy around with a Mitsubishi had excessively cambered wheels but nothing to the extent that Rabbit is.

Going by a shopping center one day I saw that car sitting on the edge of the parking lot with the left front wheel buckled under and scrape marks leading to the roadway. My assumption is that he was fortunate enough to have someone with a heavy duty pickup or whatever to drag him out of the way. Think of the stress being put on those ball joints when they’re near sideways and if he was doing 45 MPH in that POS he’s either very brave or very stupid and uncaring; likely the latter.

As to Gas Monkey, those guys are slopping together staged junk rust buckets. That '56 Nomad they allegedly did for Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a prime example. Looks good on TV or from 50 feet away but before the interior was installed (and after it was painted and done) there was nothing but rust showing on the inside during the test drive.
That car was videoed being handed to Jr. and then hauled off. If any current episodes of GM are seen that Nomad can be spotted at various places in the shop with the hood up all the time.
Maybe Jr. is using their shop for a parking garage… :slight_smile: