Celebrities are not always known for their good taste. It does seem that as soon as some people earn their first million dollars, they head out to buy outrageous outfits, hire interior decorators who love kitsch, and they get themselves an expensive car, which they then modify to personalize it to their own peculiar style.
The worst culprits tend to be sports stars and rappers but these two groups are far from the only famous faces who have butchered otherwise great cars with terrible and tasteless customized paint job. Sometimes this involves painting their own face or name on the vehicle; sometimes it is more about modifying a car so that it better represents their own personal style.
Normally, painting your own face on your car would make reselling the vehicle almost impossible, but luckily for celebrities who hit hard times, there are always hard-core fans out there who will be willing to pay huge amounts of money for a car that was owned and modified by their hero.
Not all the celeb car modifications are tasteless, however. Some prefer to go for the subtle option, perhaps getting themselves a personalized vanity plate or simply getting a car repainted in their favorite color. Check out the list below to see some of the best—and worst—times that celebrities remade their cars in their own image.
When it comes to self-promotion, however, The Situation’s personalized vanity plates pale in comparison with the customized cars owned by rap star and all-round legend Snoop Dogg. Snoop has a vast collection of cars, not all of which have been personally modified, such as his classic Rolls-Royce Phantom, which has remained untouched and unsullied. The same cannot be said for Snoop’s 1968 Cadillac Coupe Deville and his Buick Riviera, which have both been custom painted to include Snoop’s name above the grille, while his 1967 Pontiac Parisienne convertible has been customized in the colors of Snoop’s beloved LA Lakers.
Taylor Swift may have started out as a sweet young country singer but she has since taken the pop charts by storm, becoming a musical and pop culture icon in the process. To the Swifties, as her legions of fans are known, their heroine can do no wrong and she has sold millions of records and performed at sell-out tours around the world. Swift owns a Toyota Sequoia SUV, an Audi R8, and a Porsche 911 Turbo, which are all unadorned and unmodified, but when it comes to her tour buses, there is no doubt who they belong to, with her name emblazoned in neon paint on the side in letters several feet tall.
Wrestlers, like rappers, are notorious for their larger-than-life personalities and their ostentatious and over-the-top style. Hulk Hogan may have been one of the earlier wrestling stars in the US but he still embraced the lavish lifestyle and has an impressive collection of cars including a Dodge Charger, a Rolls-Royce Phantom, and a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. Hogan also owns a 1994 Dodge Viper which has been customized with his iconic red and yellow colors, and his recognizable “Hulkster” nickname. The same color scheme and nickname feature on a customized chopper motorcycle, which was made for Hogan by well-known motorbike designer Arles Ness.
Before the King of Pop passed away in June 2009, he was forced to sell off a number of his belongings in order to pay off debts and this afforded his army of fans an opportunity to see the kind of unusual and, frankly, quite odd possessions which Michael Jackson had kept at his secretive Neverland ranch. Keeping with the Neverland theme, one of the many weird items which was put up for sale was a black golf cart, valued at around $6000, which had a painting of the "Thriller" singer dressed as Peter Pan on the hood, complete with Captain Hook’s ship in the background….
Dennis Rodman is one of basketball’s most outrageous characters so it is hardly surprising that when the former Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls players bought himself a Hummer H1, he would also get it customized. The Hummer H1 is a pretty outrageous vehicle, even without any modifications, thanks to its size but Rodman also added a custom paint job featuring several self-portraits, as well as a number of not-suitable-for-work images. The unusual 1996 Hummer was put up for sale in 2006, with an estimated value of $50,000, although whether the new owner kept the risqué paintwork or covered up the lewd images is unknown.
Nicole LaValle, better known to her fans as Snooki, made her name as one of the stars of the MTV show Jersey Shore, before getting her own spin-off show, Snooki & Jwoww. The larger-than-life characters who featured in Jersey Shore are not known for their good taste, so it is hardly surprising that Snooki would make some very personal modifications to her car, a Cadillac Escalade luxury SUV. As well as being tricked out with a pink trim inside and out, the car has leopard print mats in the footwells and was even signed by Snooki herself before she put the car up for sale on eBay.
Another celebrity who is a big fan of pink is rapper Nicki Minaj. Even her official website address is mypinkfriday.com! So when it comes to cars, there was only one color that the musical icon was going to choose: a bright bubble-gum pink. Not only did Minaj paint the bodywork and even the modified Forgiato wheels of her $400,000 Lamborghini Aventador in bright pink, but the "Anaconda" singer also owns a pink Bentley and a pink Range Rover. Everyone is entitled to do whatever they like with their own possessions but gearheads may shudder at the vandalism Minaj has afflicted to some otherwise gorgeous vehicles.
The Situation, otherwise known as Michael Sorrentino, is another Jersey Shore cast member who, like Snooki, has demonstrated some spectacular bad taste when it comes to his house, clothes, and cars. He has an unoriginal collection of all the cars you would expect a successful Jersey Shore cast member to own, from a Ferrari and a Lamborghini to a Bentley convertible and a Jeep. And The Situation is one celeb who loves his personalized vanity plates. His customized white Jeep has the license plate “Unique” while his black Bentley convertible has the ultimate vanity plate for someone as vain as Sorrentino: “Situation”.
Music producer and DJ Joel Zimmerman has received six Grammy nominations for his work and has recorded a number of hit singles, including three numbers ones on the US dance chart. Yet you probably don’t recognize his name, and it’s unlikely you would even recognize his face. He is better known as Deadmau5 and performs his gigs wearing a giant cartoon mouse head! Deadmau5 has even customized his cars with the iconic cartoon creations which are part of his image, including a 2015 Lamborghini Huracan and a Ferrari 458 Spider. Ferrari wasn’t impressed with his creativity, however, sending him a cease and desist order when he put the customized car up for sale.
Shaquille O’Neal is a name that needs no introduction; although to basketball fans, the retired player is known simply as Shaq. As one of the most successful basketball stars of all time, including becoming one of just three players to win the NBA MVP, All-Star game MVP, and Finals MVP awards in one year, Shaq is also an extremely wealthy man, and has spent a significant amount of that fortune on his collection of cars, many of which have personalised touches. Lots of his cars have the iconic Superman “S” on the front grille, which Shaq has adopted as his own, while he even has a customized tour bus complete with a Shaq-themed paint job.
From one larger than life sportsman to another we turn to mixed martial arts fighter and UFC champion, Conor McGregor. The Irishman also took on Floyd Mayweather Jr in a boxing match that was one of the most watched pay-per-view sporting events in history. McGregor has made the most of his financial success, amassing a collection of cars that would make Jay Leno jealous. Alongside a couple of Lamborghini supercars, a $200,000 McLaren 650S, and a BMW i8 hybrid roadster, he also owns three Rolls-Royce cars, including a Rolls-Royce Ghost which features a decal on the side panels of his face and his nickname, Notorious.
The light-welterweight boxer Amir Khan is another celebrity who has gone for the personalized license plate option. Khan, who was the unified light-welterweight world champion in 2011, owns a Range Rover Vogue, which has undergone some seriously expensive modifications to improve both its performance and its appearance. But when it comes to his personal customization, he has kept it subtle, opting for a license plate which spells “BOX IIIG” or BOXING, if you happen to just glance in its direction. Not as ostentatious as some celebrities, this understated modification sums up Khan’s personality.
Most rappers have reputations for lavishly expensive and over-the-top lifestyles, including plenty of bling jewelry, and Flo Rida is certainly no exception. The rap star, who scored a ten-week number one hit with his debut single "Low" in 2008 has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music industry, including will.i.am, David Guetta, Jennifer Lopez, and Timbaland. Of course, when it comes to the cars he drives, Flo Rida doesn’t turn down the bling either, taking a $1.7 million Bugatti Veyron supercar and covering it in a gold chrome wrap and adding modified gold Forgiato wheels.
Stone Cold Steve Austin is one of WWE’s biggest stars, a bad boy character who started featuring on the sports entertainment show in 1995. He has now retired, and works as a TV presenter, and has even made a few appearances in films—though not as many as his long-time rival, The Rock! Austin has a customized monster truck (what else would a wrestler drive?) which has been modified with decals of his wrestling name on the side and a skull on the hood. He once even drove the truck into the arena before a fight; like most WWE wrestlers, Stone Cold knew how to make an entrance!
Singer Chris Brown has enjoyed a successful music career and has even made a few acting appearances on TV and on the big screen, despite having more than his share of scandals and a few run-ins with the law. Brown obviously sees himself as something of a tough guy, which explains why he has had one of his cars customized to look like a fighter jet even though the end result just looks tacky and tasteless. Brown’s Lamborghini Gallardo has been painted to look like a World War II P-51 Mustang fighter, despite the fact that it is entirely the wrong shape and size.
Having first made his name as a teenage singer, Justin Bieber has continued to make music but is probably known just as much these days for his party lifestyle and his run-ins with the police. Having grown up in the limelight, he seems determined to keep the spotlight on his exploits—something which is reflected in the cars that he drives. Although, given that Bieber already has one DUI on his record, he might not be driving them for long! One of the most eye-catching cars in Bieber’s collection is a stylish Audi R8. Or at least, an Audi R8 that was stylish until the singer covered it in a leopard print wrap…
Tennis players aren’t usually well-known for their lavish spending or outrageous party lifestyles. Venus and Serena Williams may wear colorful outfits on the court and John McEnroe might have had a reputation as a troublemaker in his day but generally, tennis players tend to live quieter lives than most sports stars. However, there is always an exception to the rule and in tennis, that exception is Alexandr Dolgopolov, a Ukrainian player whose nickname is The Dog. Dolgopolov owns a powerful Nissan GT-R sports car which has an airbrushed design of a snarling hound on the side panels inspired by his nickname.
Hotel heiress and socialite Paris Hilton was one of the first reality TV stars who were famous simply for being famous. Hilton enjoyed spending her family’s money on everything from celebrity parties to designer outfits and houses for her dogs. She also had a passion for expensive cars, such as a $260,000 Rolls-Royce Ghost, a limited-edition Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, a bright red Ferrari California, and two Bentley GTs, one of which is a baby blue Cabriolet and, perhaps most eye-catching of all, a Barbie-inspired Continental in bright pink, with a diamond-encrusted dashboard, pink upholstery, and a Paris Hilton logo on the grille.
Austin Mahone, like Justin Bieber, is a recording artist whose career started when he was barely into his teens. He was first discovered online, where he had posted videos of himself singing songs by other artists, including Bieber. Although he hasn’t enjoyed quite the same level of success as his inspiration, Mahone has still been successful enough to splash the cash on a customized Range Rover. His vehicle is covered in a custom wrap in red and black which was apparently inspired by the Nike Air Jordan XX8 "Red Elephant" sneakers, with the same colors on the Range Rover’s customized wheels.
Singer and Oscar-winning actress Cher has enjoyed a long career in show business; in fact, she has been around a lot longer than she would probably be happy to admit! Cherilyn Sarkisian was born in 1946 and got her big break in 1965, as one half of the husband and wife singing duo Sonny and Cher. The couple went on to host their own TV show, although they then divorced in acrimonious circumstances in 1975. When the couple was still together at the height of their fame, they owned a pair of matching custom-made Mustangs, complete with vanity plates.
We have already seen one wrestler who drives a monster truck, Stone Cold Steve Austin, but it takes a very particular type of personality to drive around in a pink monster truck, as retired wrestler Madusa does. Madusa’s name is a shortened version of “Made in the USA”, and vehicles don’t come more 'Murican than a beefed-up monster truck. However, the truck driven by Madusa, whose real name is Debrah Miceli, is painted in various shades of pink and has her name emblazoned on the side. Miceli has now competed in monster truck events in her personalized vehicle, winning several freestyle competitions.
Sources: Cartoq, Dub Magazine, Capital FM, and Diehard Sport