Tommy Kaira Nissan GT-R body kit

Body Kits – Ramping Up Your Style

Automakers are restrained from creating enormously aerodynamic vehicles with sport-tuned suspensions and powerhouse motors because they must cater to the average consumer. As a result, the tuning industry has grown up, providing consumers (tuners) with products that enhance the appearance and performance of their vehicles.

Body kits are one of the most popular ways to enhance both at the same time. What benefit do body kits offer? Here is a rundown of the benefits offered by a standard kit.

Most body kits consist of four parts, though other kits offer a wider range of parts. The standard kit contains a front and rear bumper, as well as side skirts and grille inserts for your vehicle. There are two types of body kits available, those with a “universal” fit and those designed to fit your specific type of vehicle. Universal kits generally have a sloppy look, with obvious flaws, and require significant modification to fit a wide variety of vehicles. Choosing a kit designed specifically for your vehicle is a much better choice.

Body kits provide two advantages over an OEM body style. Obviously, style is the first benefit. These kits provide an aggressive, custom look to your vehicle without the need for extensive modification or body panel replacement. The second benefit of these kits is better aerodynamics. Even a kit without a wing spoiler can enhance vehicle performance and stability. Why is this?

Nissan Skyline R34 Body Kit

Body kits lower the body of your vehicle, forcing more air to go over the top of your ride. This has the distinct advantage of providing greater downforce across the entire vehicle. Greater downforce allows your vehicle to hug the ground better without breaking tire/road contact.

This results in greater performance and handling, whether in curves or straightaway section. Because there is less ground clearance, more air is forced over the hood, the roof, and the trunk, while less air is able to penetrate below the vehicle. This provides a sort of vacuum, which adds additional road handling.

Each kit will be different in terms of appearance, as well as the content. Most kits will need to be painted prior to installation on your vehicle. This allows you to match the color of your car and attain a more seamless custom look than if you were to simply choose a color that closely matched your own.

  1. Wow…I always thought most body kits were for poseurs. Didn’t know about all this aerodynamic-downforce stuff.

    All in all, body kits are nice, as they are (I think) the best way of improving the looks of your car. However, there is a fine line between a cool kit and plain stupid one. Apparently, the average American male does not know where that line is. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve slapped my forehead at some idiot’s retarded “customized” Civic.

    I’ve also been looking (tentatively) for a kit for my car for a while now, but I haven’t found one that doesn’t look dumb. Seems like the manufacturers don’t know where that line is either.

  2. I understand completely Will, most body kits I see look terrible, but I always like seeing one that is tasteful. It seems a lot of people like to throw unpainted kits on their Civic or Eclipse, and that’s tacky too. It’s tricky to find a good kit that doesn’t look ridiculous. Don’t be afraid to mix & match parts, either. On my 300ZX, I have a Wings West kit for the front and sides, and a Stillen rear. It flows perfectly and doesn’t scream “ricer.”

  3. I, for one, am glad that you found a nice-looking kit. My friend has an older model Acura, which looks bland but not offensive, until suddenly he one day put on THE TACKIEST body kit I have ever seen. Ruined the whole damn car, but he didn’t even seem to notice.

    Like I said, I’m looking for one myself, but tentatively, as my Sky looks good enough as is, and I’m afraid of screwing it up with an impulsive buy. Is it easy to remove a body kit after you put it on? Or can you not remedy the damage at all?

  4. Yeah I’m amazed how some people can think those horrible kits actually look good. Oh well, I suppose it’s subjective.

    Skys look great as-is, so if you do anything to it, make sure to get something that compliments the already great styling instead of changing it (my opinion, of course.)

    The better (and inherently more expensive) kits shouldn’t require much, if any modifications to the body, which would make it easy to change if you got tired of it later on. Make sure to check on that before buying, of course.

    Another thing to keep in mind is when buying a kit, you have to paint it. That means in most cases (maybe not yours since the Sky is so new) you’ll have to paint the whole body since the paint will have inevitably faded, even if only a little bit. Once it’s faded it’s very hard to match colors perfectly.

  5. Also, as an alternative (or addition) to a body kit, I’ve been looking at vertical doors for a while now. What’s your opinion on that? I myself think they are just completely sick, like, the coolest thing you can do to your car. I can’t even explain how motivated I am to get them. But then I suffered from an attack of good sense, and I realized that they really are just a waste of money…but they sure as hell do make your ride look fly. Maybe a body kit AND the vertical doors…

    ‘Course, this is assuming I can rake together the cash. The doors I looked at cost about $1,800 and I’m guessing a nice body kit is gonna scratch me significantly deeper than that.

  6. I’ve actually looked at vertical doors for my own car. They’re a very subjective thing, most people either love them or hate them, it seems.

    A few major points to consider:

    Make sure they’re easy to install. Some require body modifications, and you don’t want that. You’ll find some high quality ones that are bolt-on, just make sure they work right.

    Although they’re all vertical/lambo/scissor doors, you’ll find they all don’t open quite the same way. Some hinge out and up like a diagonal hook, and some slide out horizontally from the body, then glide upwards. I prefer the latter, personally. You’ll find some other slightly different ones, just make sure you decide what you like first them go for that one.

    One more thing you’ll find is that different kits open at different angles. If you’re tall, make sure you get a kit that opens wider than others. You don’t want to be hitting your head every time you get in.

    Lastly, make sure you like how you open and close the doors. Some keep the same handles as stock, and to close the doors once you’re inside you must reach up and pull down on the door to close it. Some kits are electronic, which is what I would go for. Push the button to open, and a button to close – all automatic. You’ll pay more for that, of course.

    Either way, be prepared to get both good and bad looks if you go that way. And if you decide on the body kit as well, make sure they work with each other; that’s the tricky part.

    Email me for another tip 😉

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