Car Upgrades, Pt. 2

My car, a 1994 Plymouth Acclaim, was given to me by my grandpa. At the time, I wasn’t entirely sure that I wanted it. After all, it looks like the only person that should drive it should be someone who is 80+ years old (which, as it stands, is fitting for my grandpa). Don’t get me wrong; I’m grateful to have it, and it runs amazingly well, but it makes me feel old. Not “old” as in 25 years old, but “old” as in 60+ years old.

That being said, I’ve done my best to make it my own. Last post I made, I mentioned my sound system, which has received three solid upgrades since I got the car. Although I put a fair amount of money into it, I’m okay with that because everything I put in I can remove in a few hours so that it can be put into my future new car. Next upgrade I did was install some neon lighting inside, which looks amazing, even in my car. I like it so much that I’m going to be putting more inside. Even simple things like getting nice windshield wipers make the car look that little bit better.

I do have some other plans, however, and I’m hopeful that they’ll turn out well. The next thing I’m going to try is painting the car interior.Not all of it, but just the vinyl frame around the interior of the car. As far as customization goes, it’s pretty easy to go. I’ll be using a basic, flat black spray paint, and I’ll do each part one at a time, and hopefully it will make the car look a little sleeker. The entire interior is an off-gray, and I think it needs something to make it look a little sharper. While I’m at that, I’ll also touch up the paint on the outside with one of those touch-up pens. There’s a few nicks in the paint that I’d like to clean up, and it will certainly make the car look cleaner.

The only other thing that I might consider paint-wise is to paint the exterior of my car. My dad actually made the suggestion, which caught me a little off-guard. Regardless, it would be a great learning experience, and could potentially make my car look better. Depending on how creative I felt, I could maybe look into doing a custom design on the side of the car. I think I lack both the creativity and dexterity to pull off something like that, though. I think it would be really fun to learn how to do that, though.

I have a few more things up my sleeve, which I’ll go into next time (I promise next time will be my last car upgrade post for a while). I have a few electrical and fabric things for next time, which I hope to work on this summer.

Car Upgrades, Pt. 1

Due to the recent success I’ve had from getting a job (see a future post) and me having slightly more money than I expected to have at this point in the summer, I decided I would do a bit of celebrating and treat myself. Although I could have looked into purchasing some of those upgrades I need for my server, I decided that I would put a bit of money into my car.

When I first got my car, it was all factory parts. Although it’s old and have no intention of putting any more money into the car than I have to, I decided that it needed a better sound system. I had a simple logic behind this: any sound gear that I put into my car, I can pull out in a few hours when I get a new car. My first purchases when I got my car were a new deck and speakers for the interior. Within a month, I had hauled an old amplifier out of my basement (which was found in the middle of the street) and bought the cheapest sub woofers I could find (2 10″ subs with enclosures for $70), and put those in my trunk. After those subs got stolen (the joke’s on them – those subs were crap!), I decided that I would do an upgrade – to a Sony 800W amplifier and a 1000W Pioneer Premier 10″ sub, and a Stinger 1 Farad capacitor to help with the powering of said system. My system has been like that for about 9 months now, and I decided that I would put new parts in.

I decided that I would get two 6″x9″ speakers, enclosures, and another Sony 800W amplifier to power them. Although putting the speakers in the trunk would initially seem like a ridiculous idea, I left enough slack in the wiring for them to be pulled out of the trunk for public events where portable sound is needed, such as any Lindy Bombing events that UMSwing puts on. Although I had to remake some wires (and I almost ran out of wire to use!), installation went off without any problems.

One thing that I was toying around with and decided to do as well was to try putting neon lighting in my car. Now, this would normally be a waste of money for an old car like mine. After all, who wants to spend a few hundred dollars on StreetGlow? But, I assure you I didn’t spend that much. In fact, I only spent $40. Rather than buy glow designed for cars, I decided that I would simply use Cold Cathode tubes from Logisys. It required a bit of wiring hacking, but I managed to put two 12″ tubes in my trunk and two 4″ tubes in the front dash by the feet. So far, it looks amazing, and I’m going to get more later to replace the old lights in the car with LEDs so I can actually see things in my car.

I also replaced the windshield wiper blades with some snazzy-looking red ones to go with my car, but that’s not particularly important. After studying today I plan on doing a good cleaning of the interior and possibly the engine. I’m also going to get a paint touchup kit, but that’s for another day. I’ll be sure to post pictures of my trunk (and the neon) soon.