We all want to own a one-of-a-kind car. The problem is, customizing your ride is a surefire way to look like a knob. Just think about Xzibit’s Pimp My Ride. Not only did that show ruin the rapper-slash-actor’s career and reputation, it was only twelve-year-old boys that had just discovered girls that thought what they were doing was actually cool. That leaves us with the question all ‘boys turned men want’ answered: how can you make changes to your motor without looking like a douchebag?  

Well, despite popular belief, it is possible and, to prove this fact, we’ve pulled together a list of personalisation jobs you can get away with, maybe even securing a nod of approval from men and women somewhere along the line.

New Wheels

And please call them wheels, or rims, or just about anything except shoes; a term that will make you sound like Ludacris, which isn’t a good thing. Anyway, putting on some aftermarket wheels is such a subtle way to add some personalised style to your car that manufacturers have started doing this at the factory.

ECU Tuning

One of the easiest ways to get more out of your engine is to add an ECU computer system, which is because all cars are basically giant iPhones on wheels nowadays. The reason why we’re recommending it on this list, though, is because no one is going to know you’ve tampered with your car unless you tell them. There is no flame vinyl up the side or fire coming from the exhaust – just added power and throttle response. That’s it.

Paint Job

This is a delicate one because get it wrong and you’ll look like the biggest knob on the road. We’re talking about anything you would have found in Need For Speed, Fast & Furious Tokyo Drift, cartoon characters, flags, religious icons, fake sponsors or more than three colours. They’re all the worst. On the contrary, if you go along to Lucent Wraps and get your car done in matte black or get some detailed pinstriping done, well, you’ll turn heads in the best possible way. It’s amazing.

Upholstered Seats

Apart from when you leave the grocery store or your house, or when you’re looking at the background image on your phone, how often do you really see the outside of your car? Exactly. More than anything, you experience the inside. Our advice: get your seats reupholstered in some nice leather or a nice monochrome scheme. Your car is for you to enjoy, so pick something that pleases your eyes (unless that is a myriad of bright colours, in which case lay off it).

Shift Knob

There are only a couple of ways in which you can get the purchase of a new shift knob wrong: if it looks like a bedroom toy or if it’s really plastic-looking. Other than that, getting a new shift knob is basically like wearing some snazzy cufflinks. They’ll lift your motor in a way you’ve never appreciated before without being too showy or out of place.

Ryan Sprance is the Founder and Chief Strategist of Kaihatsu Media, a Digital Marketing agency focused on developing brand awareness and sales growth through social media, optimizing digital marketing spend and developing Influencer Marketing programs. He is also the Creator & Editor-In-Chief of TheStylishMan.com, a men's lifestyle media company focused on Fashion, Fitness, Grooming, Gadgets and Guy Stuff and a Contributing Editor at Julius, a data driven Influencer Marketing platform.