Tim’s Top 5 Cars for Modifying {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

16 Jun 2017

As long as there have been cars there have been people wanting to make them faster and look better or different from the norm. Modifying cars really took off in the 1980’s with the birth of Max Power magazine and the like and really hasn’t slowed down much since. You can change the wheels, tune the engine, add a bodykit, change the colour, retrim the interior, the options are limitless if you want to modify your car. So I’ve chosen my top 5 cars for modifying, see if you agree…

5 – Subaru Impreza

Where better to start this list than with the old guard – one half of the biggest battle of the 90’s (WRX vs Evo) – the Subaru Impreza. Since the early 90’s the Impreza has had a huge cult following with the unique flat-four turbo engine having loads of tuning potential and a great off-beat sound which means that when fitted with a huge dustbin-sized exhaust you can tell there’s a tuned Impreza coming from about 2 miles away. The older models are almost classics now, but the new millennium’s hatchback model is now extremely popular for tuners. The 2.5 litre engine is a bit more robust and they will easily run 400hp without troubling the engine’s longevity at all.

Win a standard WRX STi here

4 – Audi RS3

The RS3 is already one of the craziest hot hatches you can buy, the current model having 400hp from its turbocharged 2.5 litre 5-cylinder engine. Even the previous model had 365hp, but of course there are always those who want more – and why not? There’s a certain allure to having a hot hatch with performance to shame a supercar and with an AWD system and dual clutch gearbox the RS3 can still put down the power even when tuned. There are loads of companies who can do the work, the most respected being MTM in Germany who will add a new turbo, extra cooling and some better brakes/suspension and increase power to 500hp. That means 0-62mph in just 3.2 second and a 190mph top speed – in a hatchback!

Win a standard RS3 here

3 – Mazda MX-5

I absolutely adore the MX-5, especially the Mk1 and the current Mk4 models and I appears so does the tuning public as well. You can go to some sites and spend thousands on cosmetic bits, suspension mods and exhausts and completely transform your MX-5 from a sweet handling little roadster into a track or B-road weapon, or go further and increase the power from the standard 160(-ish)bhp to over 200 with a turbocharger. BBR Tuning offer kits on all versions of the MX-5 and even carry warranties so you can drive without worry (incidentally I’m driving their new 200hp Mk4 MX-5 soon). But should you want to go further, an American company called Flyin’ Miata (that’s what the MX-5 is called over there) offer the craziest kit you can imagine – they will shoehorn a 525hp Chevy LS3 V8 into your little roadster turning it into a fire-breathing tarmac shredder. Okay you’ll pay for it – around $50,000 on top of the car – but I can only imagine how much fun one of these is with that much power and a V8 soundtrack.

Win a standard MX-5 here

2 – Toyota GT86

When Toyota launched the GT86, petrolheads around the world rejoiced at a new small RWD coupe coming on the market. But with just 197bhp from the flat-four engine it never really felt quick enough for a lot of people, so within weeks the tuners had started working on ways to improve it. One of the first things people do is change the wheels (the originals are an awful design), lower it slightly as it rides high and change the nasty rear spoiler for either a ducktail, or just remove it altogether which are fairly cheap to do and transforms the look of the car. Of course, there’s still the issue of that power output and with bigger, wider tyres you’re going to want even more power – so there are plenty of companies now offering either supercharger or turbocharger kits that bump power up to a far more respectable 280-300bhp for only a few thousand pounds. You can always go crazy and tune them to over 500hp but the more modest kits leave the GT86 very driveable and won’t stress the engine too much. I’ve driven a 285bhp GT86 and it’s just about perfect.

Win a standard GT86 here

1 – Nissan GT-R

Now we get to the daddy. The big kahuna. Godzilla. The Nissan GT-R. Since it was revealed in 2007 it has taken the performance car world by storm. Initially having 480hp it offered serious supercar performance for half the equivalent established brands cost. After 10yrs of development it now produces 570hp and will destroy pretty much everything this side of a McLaren 570S or Ferrari 488, though the price has risen to over £80k now. As is always the way though, people want more power and as with the older generations of Nissan R32, R33 and R34 GT-Rs they offer a great base for tuners to go to town on. You can pick up a first-generation GT-R for around £30,000 now which makes them within the reach of a lot of petrolheads and even offers them the chance to spend some money on mods – though so common are GT-R mods you’ll struggle to find a standard one at any price. The most well-respected GT-R tuner in the UK is Litchfield who offer anything from 600bhp to 1200bhp kits depending on the depth of your wallet. You can get big carbon rear wings for that track look, wide arches and lowered suspension and everything in between. Oh and a new exhaust system with four gargantuan pipes is a must for that ear-bleeding rev-off at your local Cars & Coffee event…

Win a standard GT-R here