How to Build a Showcar

If you are wanting to build a show car, then have a quick read of this and then you can decide whether or not you wish to go ahead and have a turn and winning some trophies. This is just a run down on how to build a basic show car for those with a budget. If you have an endless budget and can go all out, then simply make every step extreme - use your imagination. Also, most steps are easy to DO IT YOURSELF but for those with little knowledge, get a Mechanic or good Friend to help you. The Internet is our search engine - use it.


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    Go buy yourself a car. Preferably one that does not already require a large amount of work. You don't want to spend all of your time & money on repairing the car. For example, find a modern vehicle that has been well looked after. Or if you want an Older car, see if you can find one off an elderly person as these cars are very likely to be well maintained and garaged so will not be rusty and smooth engines. Always get a mechanic to give the car a thorough check to highlight any problems that the vehicle have - and costs to repair (if you remove that part to do a mod, then don't worry about it). Its also a good idea to decide which MAKE & MODEL you want, before you go shopping (if you don't care about Makes/Models then just go hunting for the best).
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    Have a look through Car Magazines, Internet Searches and even Car Show Events, to see what other people have done. This is a good way to see what cars you prefer (2Dr, 4Dr, Coupe, Sedan, Hatch, Wagon, SUVs, Utes, Trucks, Vans, etc) and what mod's work best with which vehicles. Once you have done some research - think what you want to do and try make it different - make your own ideas - try not too copy. Some of these following modifications, can make your car a show car. These can be expensive but it depends on how extreme you go. Keep it simple and you can easily DO IT YOURSELF and do it for a small cost. But some work may need to be done by a Professional if you are know too knowledgeable in these fields.
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      • You can buy these pre-made or have one custom made. They can be made in Fibreglass or Plastic. Shop around Online, look thru Magazine adverts and visit some local businesses.
    • PAINT.
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      • Although airbrushing & graphics can be cool, it can be over done - which is the case now-a-days, too many people go overboard and it can ruin a nice car. Try avoid going over the top, a nice two-tone paint or a nice glossy one-colour can score big points. Also adding a "ghost flame" or such into the paint is good also. Or a glitter or pearl in the clearcoat mix looks mint too. Have a look around, see what you prefer.
    • BODY MODS.
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      • Mods such as:- rolling the guards, a/m front fenders, adding wings/spoilers (to front or back), a/m side mirrors, a/m head lights & tail lights, a/m bonnet (carbon fibre/fibreglass/vents). Just look for nice things that you can add to the body of the car. If you have a common make, there will be a lot out there. But some parts can be Universal Fit (eg can fit any vehicle) and need None or Minor mods to fit (check with the seller). You could also (preferred BEFORE you paint the car) is remove all the car badges, door handles, trimmings and door locks (this is called "shaving") - but best done professionally. You could also do- Flip Flop boot lid and/or Custom Bonnet Hinges (search the net for these if your unsure what these are).
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      • Re trimming seats/dash/pillars/floors/roof etc can score big points. Adding some colour like painting small plastic bits to suit the exterior colour can be good sometimes - or leave them unpainted or get them Chrome covered (some cars look even hotter like that). Look for other aftermarket parts like: pedals, shift knob, steering wheel, boot covers (gearshift and handbrake) and just anything else that is not factory. These items are usually very simple to install yourself - so go ahead but take your time. Adding lighting can be good, but try make it hidden so people only see the Glow, there is nothing worse than having a bright light in your face. Gauges are only cool, if they have a purpose eg Boost gauges for TURBO cars only. Make sure any gauges you fit, are actually working and custom gauge pods (holders) can look very staunch.
    • I.C.E.
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      • (In Car Entertainment)- TV Screens, Speakers, CD Player, DVD Player, PS3, Xbox, Custom Installs, Subs, Amps, Capacitors, Lights, etc etc. All of these items installed properly and customized, can get big points! Try keep it all one brand if possible and try not to get to mixed up. These items are best left for the Pros to install for you so you get the BEST sound quality and can enter 'dB Drags' and battle for loudest ICE!
    • ENGINE.
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      • The mods you can do will depend on what kind of car you have, and how fast you want it to go. Best to do some major research. See what can be done to your cars engine. Maybe go to some performance car workshops & see what they suggest. The main things that are done to show cars are: Major Turbo Setups / Superchargers, Custom Air Intake, Custom Exhaust System (and Extractors), and normal small items that help enhance power. But with power comes damage so make sure the cars engine can handle all the extreme mods - you may require:- rebuilt engine, forged pistons, larger fuel rail/injectors/pump etc the list goes on. PLEASE RESEARCH AND ASK PEOPLE. This can be tricky. But you don't have to be Turbo or Supercharged - a lot of Non-Turbo cars can have big power (N/A cars) simply by adding heaps of add-ons and doing big engine work. Adding some colour & polishing metal parts can also score big on engines & engine bays. Try make it look "bling" and people will love it. Even de looming (getting rid of wires) and shaving holes in the bay can be big points. Be sure you do it properly or get a Pro to do it - these jobs can be tricky.
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      • Massive wheels on a small car and vice versa can look ridiculous. Try the wheels on before buying, try a few sets and pick your favorite. Suspension & Brakes should be based on what engine mods you have done. You want to go fast, then you have to be able to stop & you want the car to handle good. Low does look good, but going too low can make your car illegal or impractical - check what's out there & see what he Pros say to do. Even airbag suspension or adjustable suspension can be done so look into that if you have the money. These can score big points and you can change the height of your car anytime.
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    If you want your car be street drivable, ensure that every Mod you do is legal in your State or Country. Before under going any Mods - check with your local Police Station or Vehicle Inspection agent. You don't want to spend BIG money on your car just so the Police can confiscate it and at worst, crush it! Also, please don't speed or race on Public roads! Take your pride n joy to the track!
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    Once the car is finished, take it to your local car show & start winning trophies! You may not win any, it depends on how extreme you go but at least you've got a PHAT RIDE! If you do not want to go to shows, at least you can show it off while cruising & picking up chicks!


  • Ensure the mod is legal!
  • Don't go racing on the streets. Leave it for the tracks. FOLLOW THE LAWS OF YOUR STATE/COUNTRY
  • Get the Pros to do it. If its too hard or technical, get it done professionally. The last thing you need is a bad job and it falling off or not working, etc.
  • Don't cut corners. There's nothing worse than rushing a job, missing a few details & little down the track it turns to crap.
  • Make sure you do research, research, research. Make sure that what you want to do, can be done to your car. And everything costs money. So always put extra aside as a problem may arise.


  • If doing the work yourself, be sure to follow the instructions and ensure you know how to use the tools you will be using. Don't do any work if you are not 100% sure you know what to do. Your safety is priority.
  • Illegal Mods can lead to your car being confiscated or impounded or major fines. In some countries, the can be forced off the road.

Things You'll Need

  • Car
  • Time & Money
  • A place to do the work (such as your own garage, a friends or families garage or a workshop).
  • Knowledge of mechanics and such - only if you do the work yourself.

Article Info

Categories: Cars