Race cars in Nascar and Formula 1 ride low to the ground to improve aerodynamics, trying to reduce the effects of wind resistance and increase downforce. The whole purpose of these speedsters and their low ride heights is to go as fast as possible while remaining as efficient as possible. As technology has improved, so has every racing team's ability to create improved designs for their competition racers.
Ever since the early days of the 20th century, automobile racing has been the proving grounds for experimentation in the industry. Given the massive publicity—and corresponding sales bumps—that racing success earns car manufacturers, throwing money at research and development has always been a good bet. Eventually, after features like spoilers, wings, and diffusers were perfected on the track, they trickled their way onto road-going vehicles, slowly becoming more affordable and more common.
But for many fans who wanted race car performance, go-fast bits became alluring to the point where they were willing to shell out gobs of their own cash to modify their cars. Wrenching on hot rods and muscle cars became a backyard passion, resulting in a wide range of various performance styles that would only grow over time. But plenty of backyard modders were really only in it for the looks—or for other reasons, like to prove how impressive their manipulation of mechanical components could be.
Because driving fast simply isn't for everybody, plenty of cars have adapted their modifications to meet other goals. Sometimes, though, exactly the point can become a little confusing. Keep scrolling for 20 vehicles riding so low that they shouldn't even be allowed on the roads.
20 Candy Drops
This lowrider is a blast from the past, straight out of old-school 1990s hip-hop videos. Those whitewalls on the gold wire-spoke rims look ready to bounce and bang around until the chrome falls off. The only strange part about this particular car is its paint job. It looks more reminiscent of a candy-oriented board game than anything else. Follow the path from red to purple to blue to orange and there's no telling how far you'll go. Other than not too far, that is; this custom vehicle gave up any hope of ever driving fast again once it rolled out of the garage looking like this.
19 Fast As Flubber
A certain style of old-school custom work requires that the cars be slammed down, chopped up, stretched, and painted all kinds of ludicrous colors. Chrome everything, wire-spoke wheels, whitewalls, and as few windows as possible are the details that complete the aesthetic; clearly, somebody somewhere loves this kind of a build. But in all seriousness, those bulging fenders paired with a rakish, aggressive stance just look like someone dropped a bucket of Flubber on the ground and it happened to get caught while revving up to bounce up at an odd angle and land squarely in someone's plate of spaghetti. Dark purple, maybe, but no one likes Flubber in their spaghetti.
18 Sleeping Ponies
Race cars may ride low when they're blasting around smooth tarmac tracks but that seems to have inspired some car owners to go well beyond the limits of reason. This unfortunate Ferrari 348 has been stanced, a trend that is growing in popularity despite having one serious inherent flaw. These cars get ruined! No one should be allowed to take a mid-engined sports car from one of the world's greatest companies and bag it so low, with wheels so egregious, that it can no longer even hope to get up to top speed—not to mention the fact that it probably can't even get into a garage without scraping its exhaust.
Any time a lowrider is so incredibly low that it needs to house its fuel cell in a place where it's blocking visibility, things have gotten well out of hand. This truck serves as an advertisement for the shop at which it was built but anyone who sees this and wants to go get the same ride height on their Nissan pickup truck needs to have their head examined. The Nissan Hardbody is a very odd choice for such an extreme lowrider—maybe its simple mechanicals meant that it provided an easier task. But then, the ease of the work doesn't exactly lend itself for strong advertising power.
16 Skid Plate Required
Porsche has spent more than the last five decades clinging to their rear-engine layout despite the fact that their mid-engined Boxster and Cayman models have, without a doubt, better driving characteristics. Still, it's hard to argue with the Porsche 911's performance and this one looks set up for some serious time at the Nürburgring. But even though they allow street-going cars on the 'Ring, the owner of this wicked widebody should probably trailer their car to the track unless they want to ruin some of the custom purple bodywork. They'd also better have a seriously beefy skid plate below the engine's oil pan to prevent the rear end from bottoming out while blasting out of a corner.
15 Camber Bowls
Part of Stance Nation's absurd aesthetic stems from the wild camber the cars receive—even more than would normally happen as a result of messing with suspension geometry so much during the extreme lowering process. Plenty of aftermarket companies sell camber plates for all sorts of cars—Civics, Camrys, and Porsches alike—but in order to hit these kinds of angles, custom camber setups must be more like bowls. Then again, with the right wheels and a careful cleaning, someone could probably slurp ramen broth right out of the hollow created, which probably collects rainfall like it's nobody's business and sends it right up into the brake rotors where it belongs.
14 Puke Green
This lowered Toyota Tacoma has a nice fit and finish, sitting lowered over huge chrome wheels, low-profile tires, with no door handles and plenty of shiny chrome. It's essentially the recipe that so many uninventive builds put together in the hopes of showing that they can do something countless others have already done. But this Taco has one nice detail: rather than lifting up the bed or mounting mechanicals where lumber should go, the owner just totally got rid of it. Is it practical? Not at all. But it is a little more realistic than acting like some power tools are safe bouncing around next to a bed-mounted fuel cell.
13 Save It For Later
This 1954 Chevrolet 210 has clearly received a ton of work to get it into proper lowriding shape. The car is currently for sale on WeBE Autos, where the listing extolls the car's features, including the chopped roof, low stance, and—perhaps most importantly in an all-black car—air conditioning. With an asking price of $39,995 for this custom 210, they clearly hope someone is willing to shell out a significant sum for a car that they can barely pull out of the driveway without risking shredding the underside. Hopefully, someone with deep pockets comes along and lifts this car up an inch or two so that it can survive to inspire future generations of gearheads.
12 I Don't Wanna Work
This Chevy pickup's lowering job suggests that its owner might have a pretty serious sense of humor. Not only are the wheels totally ensconced in the sidewalls and fenders, it also still has a roof rack on it! The black-and-white scheme works well but despite the prevalence of these trucks in every corner of the United States, it's a shame to see one that's been ruined so extremely. There's no way to even load up more than one 2x4 on that rack before getting worried that the car will end up grinding away down the road, sparks flying off every side.
11 The Ultimate Parking Machine
The E46-generation BMW M3 is a car that every enthusiast hopes they'll get to drive at least once in their life. Its S54 engine revs all the way up to 8,000 RPM, with US models putting out 330 horsepower and 7,900 on the tach. Throw in BMW's legendary neutral handling and amazing weight distribution the combination is a car that's refined yet ready to rumble. It does weigh about 500 pounds more than its E36 predecessor, though, which might explain why this example is riding so low to the ground. It's not about to carve any canyons any time soon; more likely are trips around the block at a few miles per hour.
10 Taco Time
The Toyota Tacoma is a world-renowned pickup truck that has served every one of its owners faithfully for decades (probably with only a handful of oil changes). The only critical details are that it's known as the Hilux in most places on the globe and that it tended to suffer from frame rust issues when located in regions that receive serious weather. Maybe this one already had a full frame-out restoration—either that, or its frame has completely rusted away until the body sank down, concealing the wheel and tires. Whichever is the case, this truck definitely deserves a better fate than being scraped around town all day.
9 Bosozoku Transformer
Bosozoku culture in Japan started with biker clubs who would decorate their motorcycles in all kinds of extreme lights and colors so that they stood out while occupying entire streets and freeways by driving well under the speed limit. Today, the trend has spread to cars, truck, and even semis. The results are some of the wildest builds ever seen on the planet Earth—and this pickup truck isn't that extreme. Well, it's not that extreme other than the fact that its entire bed can be lifted up by hydraulics, presumably to check under the cabin again to make sure something hasn't been torn off while going over a speed bump.
8 Actually Dirty
To some people, this Ferrari 458 Italia probably looks perfect. But the only place where a bolted-on widebody kits, enormous rear spoilers, and rear diffusers like this should exist is in video games. Ferrari maintains strict standards for who can buy their cars from the factory exactly because some owners are delusional enough to think that they're doing a good thing when all they're really doing is ruining a car that was already stunning to look at. Tacky stickers and wheels round out the look—and this owner had better hope Ferrari never finds out their name or they won't be able to buy another one again.
7 The Man With The Golden Truck
It's one thing to paint a work truck with a flat bed and toolboxes completely in gold. It's another thing to slam it down over gold wheels and low-pro tires so low that it scrapes the ground. And yet, this truck's owner has gone even further and removed the door handles, rearview mirrors, and added a custom leather interior. The result is just a headache of mismatched details on top of a cherry pie that is how much it can't be used as a work truck anymore. They may as well have gone right ahead and removed the handles from the toolboxes, as well.
6 Modded From A To Z
There's something extra sad about seeing capable sports cars that have been modded to the point of uselessness. After all, there are countless work trucks, commuter sedans, and minivans out there that could just as easily have gone under the mechanic's cruel wrench—and at the end of the day, they'd all go the same speed as this Nissan 370Z. That is to say, very slow because of how low the front splitter and side skirts are above the ground. Even lower-end sports coupes like the 370Z, with its smooth inline-six and neutral balance, deserve a better fate than what this one has received.
5 High Sidewalls
Much like many of the pickup trucks on this list that have been dropped down low, this Nissan pickup is now completely unable to get any work done. The chrome wheels and low-pros are tucked up and under a surprisingly clean two-tone paint job. Sparkling chrome mirrors match the rims and bumper, while the interior looks to have received bucket seats (rather than the factory bench-style setup). But the most hilarious part has to be the truck bed, which has been lifted up to about four inches below the sidewalls and tailgate. At the very least, wheel wells would have allowed for a few sacks of manure to fit back there.
4 Struggling Get The Doors Up
Lamborghini makes some of the best sports cars on the planet and their exterior designs—although tame compared to models from the 1980s and 90s like the Countach and Diablo—still scream out exactly how aggressive the brand's cars truly are. Angular, wedge-shaped, and definitely divisive, Lambos stand out in any crowd. But for owners who haven't compensated enough with their scissor doors and massive spoilers, there's always the addition of widebody kits, bolt-on fender flares, matte paint jobs, and copious stickers to boost that flagging self-confidence. Then, when they're revving their V12 engines at stoplights, all the pedestrians at least know they can outrun the ruined sports car.
3 Good Luck Getting In
This Chrysler is not doing what its license plate says. Somebody, somewhere, probably still thinks it looks great with a pink exterior, rims so bright they heat up the cars in the driveway next door, and with some dice on hanging from the rearview, though. But how is anyone supposed to have any luck when they don't even have handles with which to open the doors and act chivalrous? And with just about the lowest-profile tires in the entire universe barely visible around the rims, there's no way anyone classy is going to have fun bouncing around in this uncomfortable ride.
2 Vegas, Baby
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas; the City of Sin's slogan has attracted all sorts of troublemakers looking to get up to some antics over the years. But even Hunter S. Thompson wouldn't have been caught in this lowrider; that paint scheme would only have made his already addled brain boggle in disbelief. Surrounded by neon lights, desert sun, and the occasional fountain, cruising past the Flamingo in (dubious) style, this rolling conversation starter was probably only built to remind the tourists to go back home with their hard-earned cash rather than something they'll be keeping for life—because not everything stays in Vegas, it turns out.
1 Dragging Racer
This custom Ford Ranger affords anyone who's interested an excellent opportunity to take a peek under the hood to see what kind of work it takes to create some of these stupendously low vehicles. Painted engine bays might be great for show cars but clean paint and polished mechanicals tend to point towards the fact that trucks like this don't get driven much. With the wheels tucked up so far into the engine bay, it's no wonder this Ranger has no hood: the engine simply couldn't fit in there anymore. Maybe a compact rotary swap would make this okay? Nope, the truck still wouldn't ride nicely. Great job all around.
Sources: WeBe Autos, Speedhunters, and Wikipedia.