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First impressions: exterior detail is what catches the eye.

YOU'VE HEARD THE SAYING "LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT." WHEN IT COMES TO CARS, THE DETAILS ARE WHAT CAN SEPARATE A SHOWSTOPPING EYE-CATCHER FROM A RUN-OF-THE-MILL AUTO.

There's no better evidence than what you see on the outside. Forget the "don't judge a book by its cover" school of thought. Most of the people who see your car will see the outside first. It's where you get the chance to impress. Miss that chance and the interior or engine compartment isn't likely to save you.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to making a statement with your car. That statement could be as subtle and refined as a numbers-matching, period correct, factory-like restoration all the way up to the outlandish personalization of every element without consideration to the heritage. Like it or not, it is a statement. Different strokes for different folks, but bound by the common thread of love for cars.

There are plenty of options and opportunities that allow everyone in the car hobby to pursue their respective dreams. Along the way, there has to be some attention to detail or the project is never complete.

Many times, the exterior upgrades or enhancements don't even come close to placing high on the "cost" list. Granted, none of the exterior improvements (except for aerodynamic enhancements, and that will only come into play for certain uses of your car) will result in more horsepower, greater speed or bragging rights with the dyno. If that's what is important to you, there's a good chance that exterior enhancement is not high on your list anyway. Paint jobs don't win races.

For those who want a little curb appeal, some simple upgrades can make a big difference.

BY THE LETTERS

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After a certain amount of time, things fall off, get broken, etc. For cars that have spent a few years on the road, discoloration from constant exposure will fade parts and some may become brittle. There are plenty of identifying markers on a car's exterior that add to the character of the car. Unless originality is your direction, aftermarket emblems and lettering can be easily replaced for a little money and a little time. Retailers offer licensed replacements, putting your car back to the way it looked when it was newer.

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DARE TO BE DIFFERENT

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If you aren't worried about originality, creativity can lend a hand. Emblems can be replaced with newer ones to reflect different tastes. We've seen the grille emblems on Mustangs and side emblems on GM products all showing something other than what they came with originally. Just using the pony emblems like that shown, you can add color or the state flag (Texas comes to mind) as a couple examples. It will definitely get your car noticed in a field where 90 percent of the rest of the cars have the standard while you have something completely different.

WEATHERSTRIPPING

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Perhaps it's a stretch to talk style with weatherstripping, but let's remember our first impressions.

Think a car with cracked weatherstripping is attractive? Many think it just indicates that someone wasn't paying attention.

If you want the car to look right, every detail should be addressed. Weatherstripping ages and does so without grace. Aging is a fact of life, but so is replacement. Sooner or later, you or your passengers will get tired of sitting on wet seats.

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WHEEL DEAL

Wheels can get attention from far away. The wheel market is incredibly competitive. There's nothing wrong with what comes on them when they roll from the factory, but enthusiasts list wheel and tire changes as among the first modifications made. Companies like Rocket are well-aware of the diversity in the marketplace, and the successful ones are designed products with great appeal. Durability and correct fitment are important, but most owners tend to brag on the looks.

The center cap of the wheel gets its own share of attention. Try going someplace with a mismatched set if you don't believe me. For cars with some pedigree, the center cap was an identifying mark and a status symbol. Age can fade or chip these, so you'll find aftermarket replacements from major suppliers.

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BEHIND THE WHEEL

While a good set of wheels will garner attention, the attraction can be somewhat put off by stock or rusty calipers and discs. Can't help you much with the discs, but the gaudy caliper can be dressed up nicely. MGP offers a wide variety of caliper covers that offer simple installation without altering your originals. They assist in reducing caliper heat and offer a better solution than merely painting the caliper, giving you a performance advantage with an exterior part.

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THE LIGHT STUFF

Headlights get a lot of attention and they're important, but they aren't the only member of the light family. Marker lights and turn signals need attention since lenses get chipped and cracked and bezels start to show age. With licensed replacement parts, it a simple plug-and-play replacement, and the finished product clearly shines through.

SHIELD THE SHINE

Once you have the car shined up to present itself in the best possible light, you have a responsibility to protect it. A super bra nose cover offers a one-piece construction (no flapping) with protected openings for the lights and grille. Mirror covers in body color prevent rock chips and element exposure, not to mention protection against dreaded parking lot mishaps. A little forethought saves a lot of work in the long run.

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RELATED ARTICLE: FOR YOUR INFORMATION:

ACTION AUTOMOTIVE ACCESSORIES

(480) 688-6212 www.actionautoaccessories.com

MID AMERICA MOTORWORKS

(866) 866-9739 www.mamotorworks.com

MGP CALIPER COVERS

(877) 995-0003

www.calipercovers.com

ROCKET PERFORMANCE MACHINE

(888) 307-7525 www.rocketracingwheels.com

SPEED LINGERIE

(800) 570-1579

www.speedlingerie.com

TRIM PARTS

(513) 934-0815

www.trimparts.com
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Author:Jewett, Larry
Publication:Internet@Schools
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2011
Words:980
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