Getting your car runway ready

Before we launch into this discussion on fashion accessories for yourcar, please keep in mind that when it comes to accessorizing “less isalways more.”

Before we launch into this discussion on fashion accessories for your car, please keep in mind that when it comes to accessorizing “less is always more.”

So if you’re throwing on, say a medallion around your neck, go for the tasteful, tiny one that matches your earrings, not the big one that looks like a hubcap from a 1959 Buick.

OK, now on to our list of fashionable auto accessories...

One of the newest and coolest is LED lighting. LED bulbs are popping up everywhere — from flashlights to Christmas lights — and for good reason; they’re vibrant, small, require very little energy, create very little unwanted heat, can be mounted almost anywhere, and never burn out.

Taillights and signal lights are moving to LED technology, for the reasons above, and because they allow for more design creativity — check out the really cool rear-light assemblies of any new Cadillac or BMW.

Lonnie Leigh of Performance Improvements, told me that aftermarket LED taillight assemblies are now available for a wide range of popular models, ranging in price from $300 to $600, and is a really neat way of “modernizing” your older ride.

Another LED application is interior lighting — for lighting up the cabin, for accents, for rekindling the spirit of the lava lamp. This type of lighting first showed up on the aftermarket, and is now popping up with regularity in new vehicles.

You can even get ones with selectable colours. This is possible through fibre optics; LED bulbs light up the fibre optic tube, but shine through a rotating selection of coloured filters.

The runways of Paris might be where we see new fashion ideas spring forth, but Las Vegas is the place where the aftermarket industry showcases its newest wares, at an annual extravaganza organized by SEMA (Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association).

Last year, we saw a lot of customized cars wearing coloured wheel rims that matched the car’s exterior paint job. Might be an expensive option for most, but just thought I’d pass it along, in case you got several thousands of dollars burning a hole in your pocket and you’ve already painted the dog.

Of course, there is the honoured tradition of adding bits to your car, so that it echoes the purposefulness of a high-tech race car, be it spoilers, fender flares, or flames painted on the rear quarter panels.

We’ll end this discussion with what might be the perfect fashion accessory for any car — fragrance. Kumho ESCTA DX tires don’t smell like “black rubber.” Thanks to heat-resistant oils, they smell like lavender, orange, or jasmine. (I’m not making this up. I wish I was making this up.)

Of course the other option is one of those pine tree shaped air fresheners.

– Michael Goetz has been writing about cars and editing automotive publications for more than 20 years. He lives in Toronto with his family and a neglected 1967 Jaguar E-type.

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