5 Personality Types and the Modified Cars They Love

Modified BMW 3 Series

The car you drive tells all your fellow motorists what kind of personality you have. Whether you’re the guy who cuts people off in a new Porsche Boxster, the dude headed into the woods with the NRA-branded 1972 Ford F-100 or the girl in the ’05 Jetta on the way to a college class, your car is usually a dead giveaway of who you are.

Real car enthusiasts aren’t satisfied with a typical bone-stock car and want to customize their rides to more accurately convey the personality of the mysterious human residing behind the tinted windows and buzzing bass.

Which are the best cars to customize to suit your personality? Read on, friends.

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Cars Coming Soon: Infiniti, the Next Audi

Infiniti Essence concept

Infiniti Essence concept

A CNN Money article caught my attention yesterday because it makes the point that Infiniti wants to be like Audi.

Well, of course it does. That’s like saying a high school basketball player wants to grow up to be like Lebron.

The difference here is the high school kid can’t hire Lebron’s coach. Nissan, Infiniti’s parent company, wants so badly to emulate Audi that it has hired the guy who ran Audi in the U.S. for the last 19 years. Doesn’t get much more blatant than that!

Yes, Audi has seen remarkable growth and success, particularly in the last decade, while Infiniti has struggled to carve a niche for itself the way its arch-nemesis, Lexus, has. But is trying to become a Japanese version of Audi the best way to sell cars?

I’m not so sure.

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Top Auto Brands in America Still Foreign

Mercedes-Benz coupe concept

The success of a car brand is most often measured by the number of units its dealers move off their lots. There’s another piece of marketing at work, though, that’s often behind those sales numbers:

Brand perception.

An automaker’s brand goes way beyond the logo on the grille or the name attached to the trunk lid. The brand encompasses everything a consumer feels or thinks when he or she sees, hears or otherwise has an experience with anything the brand represents. That makes it sound complicated, and it is. So measuring the impact of a brand on consumers is not easy to measure.

Think about a car brand. Any brand. Does it instill feelings of trust in you, or send you into fits of laughter as you make jokes about its reliability? Does it intimidate you or fill you with confidence? Are you enveloped with thoughts of luxury and performance or practicality and cheap plastics?

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FIAT 550 Italia Tests the Limits of Good Taste

On the list of things that make me happy, few items rank higher than high-powered cars that aren’t supposed to be high-powered.

Think along the lines of the Nissan Juke-R, which managed to stuff a GT-R drivetrain into a normal Juke (or placed a Juke body over a GT-R drivetrain, depending on how you look at it). Either way, the result is fantastically ridiculous.

There’s also the more recent news of the old Ford customized with 1,700 horsepower courtesy of a Koenigsegg CCR engine. Good stuff.

There’s really no limit to the craziness that can come out of the combination of a small car with a high-power drivetrain. With the right resources, all a guy has to do is search through some used car listings, find an appropriate project car, purchase a supercar engine and then spend a few hours in the garage. Easy enough, right?

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The Costs of Driving Are Going Down!

$3 gas!

How does gas at under $3 per gallon sound?

When I was 17 and paying just over a dollar a gallon, I would have punched the future me in the face for being excited about $3 gas. But with recent fears of $5 gas on the horizon, news of prices dropping back below three bucks is a welcome development.

At that price, we can stop buying over-priced Eco cars and start drag-racing our Escalades on the way to the grocery store again.

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Best Old-School Road-Trip Cars

1965 Volkswagen Microbus

Summer’s finally here. Even for those north of the Mason-Dixon line, the 70-degree weather is here to stay. While many people already have their summer vacations planned, there are those of us who just want to go on an adventure. Let’s be honest—who didn’t want to join Jenny as the VW bus whisked her away from Alabama and headed for San Francisco in “Forrest Gump”?

In our quest for the ultimate “old-school road-trip car,” we’re looking for something spacious, utilitarian and ready to travel from coast to coast. Here’s a list of our top pick for a number of categories.

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Toyota Gets Serious About Performance with TMG Line

Toyota TMG Motorsport

The words “Toyota” and “performance” aren’t often spoken in the same sentence these days.

Toyota, though, is getting serious about building performance cars, as the Lexus LFA, Lexus IS F and Scion FR-S are tearing up tracks and backroads across the world.

Now, it seems Toyota may want to take things even further by creating performance versions of existing models. The company is thinking big, too, like along the lines of Mercedes-Benz’s AMG line.

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Cars Coming Soon: Aston Martin Vanquish

Aston Martin Vanquish

Can a car be brutal and beautiful at the same time?

In my book, Aston Martin has built the most beautiful cars on the planet for most of the last two decades. The company never really crossed into “brutal” territory until the super-exclusive One-77 came rolling off the bespoke automaker’s hand-built assembly line. That hypercar, though, lost the beauty so ingrained in Aston lore.

With the Aston Martin DBS aging out of production, the company has the opportunity to replace it with a car that finally melds brute and beauty into one machine.

The new Aston Martin Vanquish appears to have done it.

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Is a Pony Car with 4 Cylinders Still a Pony Car?

Ford Evos concept

The low rumble of an idling V8 hints at the coming roar that will echo through the concrete-slathered urban jungle of downtown. Once the accelerator pedal hits the floor and sends a flood of liquid fire into the waiting cylinders, everyone within three city blocks knows a powerful pony car is near.

The unmistakable notes of aural pleasure that resonate through tunnels and off skyscrapers bring joy to all bystanders and pedestrians walking to work. They say, “That sound is why I go to work. Someday, I will be that cool guy screaming through the streets and flaunting my awesomeness.”

Soon, though, the classic roar of a V8 pony car may be replaced by the whine of a turbocharged 4-cylinder.

Which won’t sound nearly as good inside a tunnel.

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