A modified car is an automobile that has been altered or modified in a variety of ways to increase power, handling or visual appeal. Typically, when referring to a modified car, the vehicle being discussed has been altered to give added horsepower and performance. Increasing horsepower often leads to increasing traction in the form of wider tires, better brake systems and free-flowing exhaust systems. Custom paint and body alterations are also identifiers of a modified car. There are many schools of thought on what makes up a modified car, with hot rod, low-rider, custom and tuner being some of the most notable accepted classes.
Many owners of automobiles choose to individualize their vehicles by adding custom parts and paint. Some of the easiest methods of creating a modified car are to install custom tires and wheels, alter the ride height and change the exhaust to a louder, free-flowing type system. While many owners choose to drive their vehicles with the new modifications, others continue making modifications to their vehicle and then enter competitions and shows. Whether it be racing, car shows or cruising, there are no required standards for a modified car. Every custom vehicle is a statement of its owner's likes and taste.
There are many car clubs devoted to showcasing members' modified cars. By entering car shows, owners are able to display their vehicles along with their hard work and receive trophies and praise from not only other members of the club, but from onlookers who attended the show to admire the cars. Other car clubs choose to display their members' cars and talent in other methods: drag racing and parking lot slalom racing. Both draw many participants as well as onlookers who enjoy the competition and display of customized automobiles.
Most modified car builders will subscribe to one of many looks that have stood the test of time. Low-riders and customs are two of the oldest schools, while hot rods and pro street cars emulate their owners' interests in drag racing. Occasionally, some builder will combine the best of two or more schools and create a whole new category such as the rat rod. The rat rod combines the old-school hot rod with a bare bones race car theme to arrive at a rustic, low-dollar-appearing hot rod. Some builders are spending a great deal of money on their modified car to give it the appearance that it was just found in a junk yard.