The urge to customize a vehicle hits every car owner at some point in their lives. From a funny bumper sticker to performance upgrades to bodywork, something about the fact that automotive manufacturers have produced thousands of identical vehicles seems to drive car owners to the long and winding task of turning their personal possession into something unique.
And yet, the urge seems to hit drivers who own some of the world's rarest and most desirable sports cars as well, so perhaps the tendency should just be chalked to up a natural human desire simply for more. Today, in the age of the internet, the car modding and tuning world has turned into a massive industry, with plenty of aftermarket support available at the click of a button.
The exact direction that a customization project goes, however, depends on the whims of the owner. Exhaust upgrades, simple ECU tunes, and carbon fiber interior trim may sound attractive now, but once added on, they usually just lead to more and more additions—as well as richer and richer mechanics.
Perhaps the "more is better" philosophy is why so many custom builds go so terribly awry. From massive tailpipes that burn bumper paint, to turbochargers that blow up engine blocks, and extensive suspension mods that ruin steering geometry, the evidence of custom projects that went way too far is all around us. And sports cars aren't the only victims. Keep scrolling for 11 pickups that ride way too low, and 12 that should never have been lifted in the first place.
23 Asleep On The Job
Few drivers here in the United States realize that there are plenty of pickup trucks all over the world that weren't made in Detroit. Even with the popularity of Toyota's Tacomas and Tundras both domestically and abroad, an entire class of smaller pickups is rare to find on these shores. Mazda's older pickups—no longer even shipped across the Pacific—offer classic style and a fair amount of capability, though, and adding a flatbed and trailering rearview mirrors only adds to this truck's appeal. But lowering a work truck like this is completely against the point, as is the near-to-rubbing wheel and tire combo.
22 Gliding To The Shop
An entire industry exists for customizing pickup trucks until they are as unique as their owners. And an immaculate restoration like this one can take years, as well as plenty of funds, to get just right.
That clean paint job, the custom bodywork (including a door handle delete), and those wheels require plenty of know-how and tons of patience throughout the build process.
Dropping a truck like this so low over its drivetrain only creates a cartoonish look for the overall process, totally ruining what could otherwise be an impressive build.
21 Stance Works
Ford, Chevy, and Ram can't all be wrong when they all decide to advertise their pickups as the most rugged, most utilitarian work trucks on the market. Clearly, consumers must respond to ads that feature pickups towing massive loads, pulling stumps out of the ground, and charging over craggy dirt roads. But in reality, a large segment of pickup truck buyers will never even come close to pushing their trucks to the limit. The irony, of course, is that a massive pickup like this one is pushing its suspension limits further than a soccer mom picking up groceries.
20 Toy Truck Tow Truck
Anyone who commutes a long distance through heavy traffic every day comes to realize exactly how crucial tow trucks are for the daily functionality of a freeway. Daily driving has only increased over time, making tow trucks all the more important, but the basic technology has been around for forever, and vintage tow trucks are actually sought-after collectibles now. But modding a classic tow truck like this one with huge wheels sunk deep below the fenders ruins the old-time vibe, and this truck can probably only tow a toy.
Many drivers who feel the need to customize their cars find the urge to bolt on an enormous rear spoiler, thinking that it will improve their car's performance.
In reality, rear spoilers are typically more for show, and on any car other than a legit supercar are completely unnecessary and can actually slow a car down because of increased drag (not to mention while reducing rear visibility).
In reality, a rear diffuser—like the one on this Toyota—can create more downforce and better handling with less drag. Though in this case more downforce might lead to plenty of bottoming out.
18 Rust Bucket
Vintage pickup trucks have a strong draw for a certain crowd who just love the patina that old age lends to the bulbous design aesthetic of yesteryear.
And this Chevy is a radical example of patina, extensively rusted out even to the point where its bumper has lost all the chrome.
But at least all those Chevrolet decals, the hood ornament, and the headlights all still retain their chrome - it helps to compensate for an absurd ride height and such bright wheels and low profile tires.
17 Low Tow
Purple is a wonderful color that most manufacturers seem to have entirely forgotten about these days, but luckily it still remains wildly popular for classic car restorations. And this old GMC pickup has been extensively restored, with no blemishes visible on both it and its matching trailer. Of course, the matching ride height of the truck and trailer combo is completely ridiculous, as not only can the tow hitch not clear a speck of dirt, but the trailer's lightweight sheet metal looks ready to be dragged clean off.
16 The Boss Is Always Right
Excessively lowered pickup trucks definitely give off a specific vibe, and upon meeting the owner of one, plenty of drivers would hesitate to point out how ridiculous they can end up looking.
That may explain a false sense of bossiness that drivers of lowered pickup trucks tend to feel since maybe they've never heard a bad word about their prized possession.
But perhaps one tiny moment of skepticism could be all that's necessary to save this poor truck and restore it to its former glory.
15 Ram It
Dodge's Ram subsidiary (now marketed simply as RAM) has been creating some of the most rugged, durable, and instantly recognizable pickup trucks for decades. That unmistakable grille, combined with bulging hoods and massive engine options makes RAM one of the premier truck choices for buyers who truly intend to haul heavy loads with their pickups. It's almost sad to see a Dodge Ram lowered over massive wheels and low profile tires, a complete dereliction of the duties to which the truck originally aspired.
14 Early Raptor
With the massive power wars going on in Detroit right now, it's no surprise that pickup truck models have even come into the mix. From the Ford Raptor which led the charge to Hennessey's scary Goliath 6x6 aftermarket package, pickups are starting to get the kind of attention that has gone mostly to the Challenger, Camaro, and Mustang in the last few years. This pickup is an early F-100 that's been substantially modified, and the whole thing looks great except for the sad fact that it's almost sitting on the concrete.
There's something calming about doing a day's work outside, sweating while slowly finishing a job. With the results of so much effort readily visible, the evening seems all that more relaxing.
In a way, hard work is a meditation in itself, a reminder of the limited power of human hands - which is why humans invented pickup trucks, to help get more and more done every single day!
But this lowered pickup isn't about to get much of anything done with a ride height so abysmal it actually looks to be resting on the ground itself.
12 Because GI Joe!
When a truck looks more like a hot wheels toy than an actual work-ready pickup, it's usually a sign that someone has taken their modification project a little too far. This gigantic pickup has been raised at least 30 inches, and just like a low-rider on hydraulics, all the mechanicals underneath have been duly painted to match the rest of the build. Hopefully, the project included (matching red, of course) fold down ladders to help any potential passengers climb in.
11 Towing Capacity
The exact reasons for lifting a pickup truck beyond all reasonable heights remains a mystery. Perhaps the purpose is to show off, perhaps the driver actually thinks his truck is now more useful, but more likely, the urge comes from the same place as an Everest climber's draw to the mountain. Because it can be done, this truck ended up way too high above wheels and tires that now look tiny. The extensive drop on the tow hitch only serves to highlight how ridiculous this truck has been made.
10 Blacked Out
At least this Ford hasn't received a ridiculously flashy paint job to go along with its enormous lift.
This almost seems like a borderline reasonable lift job, until it becomes clear that this is an absolutely huge, dual-cab F-350 with the extended bed.
Though its proportions look semi-okay still, the fact is that this truck could have been a stupendously useful tool for its whole life, and now is relegated to being little more than a showpiece for its owner.
9 Rolling Coal
At the very least, the owner of this lifted pickup seems to realize how ridiculous his truck appears. Besides the sizable increase in ride height, he's added gigantic exhaust stacks, a neon green paint job complete with faux tears in the original black, and a cartoonishly large tow hook painted to match the rest of the hilarity. It's likely this truck will engage in rolling coal at every opportunity, with smoke billowing as a further advertisement to the sense of humor of its driver.
8 Monster Energy
In movies like Spartacus, Gladiator, and Mad Max: Fury Road, horse-drawn carts, rat rods, and monster trucks all wear spikes and swords attached to their wheels as a form of semi-offense, semi-defense from would-be attackers.
But truthfully, does the owner of this extensively modded pickup think that those green spikes are going to ever come to use?
Their ironic presence only serves to highlight how out of place this truck is on city streets, or indeed anywhere but in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
Some psychologists believe that the feeling of vertigo, induced by heights, isn't so much fear of heights, but fear of the knowledge that there exists within all of us an urge compelling us to jump. Freud called it the Thanatos impulse (not entirely unlike the Marvel character), and it seems like the owner of this pickup is fully embracing his compulsions with such a huge lift and that Hades-inspired paint job. A ladder definitely becomes necessary to climb up into this particular custom job.
6 Leaf Springs
Many automotive enthusiasts, from fans of classic cars to truck owners who haul the heaviest loads, swear that leaf springs are the best form of suspension.
But if that were truly the case, every vehicle from the cheapest commuter to the most expensive sports car would come equipped with leaf springs—spoiler alert, they don't and for good reason.
But this truck has fully embraced a set of leaf springs to complement its shocks and struts, a hilariously old-school addition to a build that required seriously modern engineering to pull off.
5 Tonka Toy
There's a certain shade of yellow that belongs only on Tonka toys and on the world's largest mining trucks. Clearly, the owner of this Ford felt like his massive (at least to everyone else on the road) extra-cab pickup just wasn't different enough from a Tonka toy to be taken seriously and tried to build himself up to the level of mining trucks. But the black-and-yellow paintwork only serves to highlight that this was a truck bought at a dealership lot, and it would never quite fit in with the behemoths working the tar sands in Canada.
4 Jokers Gonna Joke
The grim paint job on this lifted pickup seems to fit in partly between the Joker and a cheap Halloween decoration.
It sure seems like this whole build was intended to draw attention to a brand name trying to establish itself into the competitive world of lift builds.
The best detail is the squiggly bumper paired with a ladder-like tow hitch setup, a completely disparate pairing that boggles the mind as much as, or more than, the rest of the lift itself.
3 On Message
Doomer and prepper websites abound on the internet these days, as many people clearly find that the frightening event in the world around them seem to point towards the end of days. Another portion of the apocalypse-obsessed population just loves zombie culture in film and on TV shows like The Walking Dead, and enjoys the thought of a bit of rugged adventure interspersed within everyday life. But despite all the work, this truck would be a huge hassle if zombies did rise up to take over the world because it would need to stop at a gas station to fill up constantly.
2 Everything's Bigger In Texas
Even without a state-issued license plate on the front, most people would probably guess that this truck lives in Texas, the state whose unofficial motto is "Everything's Bigger In Texas." Of course, the anti-littering slogan "Don't Mess With Texas" also applies to the state—and though it was conceived to help reduce roadside garbage dumping, could also apply to the concept of spewing huge amounts of exhaust while wasting copious fuel driving a pickup truck with the aerodynamic profile of a sailboat.
1 Rally Bars
Many drivers may not realize that adding off-roading lights (often known as rally lights or rally bars) to their cars or trucks can actually be illegal.
But the thought process should be fairly simple: the bright lights can blind oncoming traffic if left on, much like failing to turn off the brights on a dark road at night.
What should be illegal, however, is a lift job this egregious, which combines with a crystal-clean, matching red paint job to reveal that the owner of this truck definitely didn't have the work done with the intention of ever going off-roading.