Customizing a car has been popular for years. It is something that every car owner wants to do for their vehicle.
The first car was invented in Germany and France in 1800, and cars were not mass-produced during that time. Therefore, every vehicle was too expensive for most people. As a result, many wealthy individuals would hire a coachbuilder to build a car that fits their lifestyle and personality.
Eventually, Americans dominated the automotive industry and started mass production. This led to decreased prices and made customization more financially and logistically challenging.
Automobile brands started to offer customization on their cars to attract buyers to purchase a model that was unique from the rest. Clients can add accessories, change certain vehicle parts, or make new car body types, such as SUVs and trucks.
The history of car customization goes back several years. Read the brief overview to learn more about this fascinating topic.
How Car Customization Began
Car customization is an aftermarket modification to boost performance by replacing or altering engines and transmissions. This makes your car look unique, unlike any other vehicle made from scratch.
This practice started before World War II. Car owners who owned 1929-1934 models would replace their running boards with light cycle fenders. In contrast, owners of earlier versions had more options for customization, such as alterations to the suspension or engines.
During this era, hot rods were plain looking. But over time, colorful paint jobs emerge. This helped establish the custom cars that we know today.
The early stages of car customization history took place in California. Due to the great weather, the convertible car has become the most popular for car modifications.
Terms such as lead sleds and tail draggers became popular throughout the United States as magazines like Motor Trend, Hot Rod, Hop Up, and Rod & Custom were published. This took car customization into the mainstream. And as the custom car craze spread, car owners started to modify their vehicles worldwide.
Harley Earl and Custom Cars
In the 1920s, one person had much to do with custom cars: Harley Earl. He began working in his father’s carriage works in Los Angeles in 1918. Later, this company became Earl Automobile Works, and Harley soon created a way to modify factory-built cars by repainting them.
His reputation spread, and people became aware of his company. Movie stars, such as Tom Mix, Mary Pickford, Mabel Normand, Fatty Arbuckle, and Douglas Fairbanks, became his regular customers.
Later, Earl’s family company was purchased by Don Lee, who renamed the company Don Lee Coach & Body Works. Due to Don Lee’s quick network and the fact that Harley was now employed by him, the business produced 250 custom bodies annually in the 1920s.
Around 1927, Harley Earl left for Detroit to work for GM, which influenced the style with his Californian Custom Car style. This also influenced other people, like Frank Kurtis, to start their own body shop and create customized cars.
Car Customization Today
Custom cars are becoming more popular as more and more people modify their vehicles for a personalized touch. Car customization has a deep root, and the process has evolved. Although it offers several advantages, it may also affect your car’s safety and performance. For any vehicle issues or concerns, visit Auto TechIQ.