Spring is here at long, long last. That means it’s time for all the Mustangs that have been hibernating to come out and bask in the sun. These high-powered, shiny ‘Stangs will be showing off (and rightly so) at every traffic light and racetrack around. Having a high-performance Mustang is a beautiful thing, but for many of us, it’s not the only thing. While there’s a certain segment of the population that loves the “sleeper” style (you’ve seen them, they’re the primer-black beasts with the huge engines), and there’s nothing wrong with that, most folks prefer to have a ‘Stang with a cleaner style. Whatever your preferred look may be, there are no limits to your styling options. One of the things to consider when planning your exterior mods is what kind of look and feel you’re into. There are several popular themes, and you might want to consider one of them when you’re customizing your pony.
- Aggressive – Mustangs have a lot of attitude and a certain toughness by their very nature, so it’s a natural choice to play that aggressiveness up. A chin spoiler always gives a touch of menace to a Mustang, and a wicked cool billet grille is another great way to add some spice.
- Sporty – If you want a lighter, less threatening look for your ‘Stang, why not go sporty? Lowering your pony will help your performance, and improve your stance on the road. If you’re rolling in a convertible, a light bar will add some personality to your ride. A hood pin appearance kit is a perfect finishing detail, and it saves you from having to drill through your hood.
- Blacked Out – For those who think the aggressive style listed above is a little too soft, there’s the blacked out look. Sure, you could go with some simple black accessories to accentuate a great paint job. But when there’s a whole world of tinting and darkness to explore, you probably won’t be content with just a blackout panel for long.
- Retro – If you’ve gotta have that sweet, shiny chrome, it’s time to go retro! Wheels are an obvious, easy modification that can make a huge difference. For a bigger dose of the shine, try a door dress-up kit with an antenna or some tail light trim.
- Custom – When you like everything we’ve mentioned, or especially if you only like certain parts of those styles, the custom option is a great way to go. Mixing and matching different styles and ideas will create a unique look that suits you perfectly.
So spring is here, and you’re ready to be one of those guys showing off at the traffic light or a car show. The first thing to figure out is, are you going to take your pony in to have someone else do the difficult bits, or are you going to do it yourself? There’s no shame in having a qualified professional install any of your parts, but there’s no feeling like the one you get when you step back and look at your work after you spent an afternoon on an install. Whether you’re new to the world of exterior mods or you’re an old hand who’s installed dozens of parts, there are a few things to keep in mind.
For instance, preparation is key. Whatever you’re installing, make sure you check out the install guide (there are tons of these on our site, you can usually find them towards the bottom of a product page) first. If there’s a tool or other supply you don’t have on hand, make sure you buy or borrow it before you start. If you’re installing a product that uses 3M tape, like window louvers, clean the painted surface you’ll be putting the tape on. Any wax or contaminants on the surface of your paint will make the tape less likely to stick. For projects that require cutting or drilling, set up a template if you can. If you can’t, double or even triple check your measurements and placement. These tips may all seem basic, but a lot of us fall into the trap of ‘just winging it’. Common-sense preparations like these will save you time, and they might just save you money, too.
Use the right tool for the job you’re doing. Sure, you can use a small flathead screwdriver in place of a phillips in a pinch, but you run the risk of stripping your screw out. If a job is worth spending your time, money, and energy doing, it’s certainly worth doing right. That entails making sure you’ve got all of the tools needed for a job. If you don’t have something, it’s better to borrow it from a friend (or to go halfsies on something expensive or very specialized that nobody has) than to have to cut three wrenches apart and weld them together at strange angles. Some places will even rent out specialty hardware like spring compressors for a small deposit.
Pay attention to conditions. It can be really tough to wait for good weather to install your parts, but it’s worth it to make sure your install goes smoothly. For instance, you probably don’t want to get started applying anything with adhesive, like a hood scoop or a window banner, if there’s a lot of wind. You might drop what you’re working on, undoing all your careful prep work, or you might end up with a fine layer of grit on your adhesive, courtesy of the wind. For obvious reasons, it’s also not a good idea to start a project if your area’s due to be hit by a huge storm. If you have a garage, most of this is moot for you, but you’ll still want to make sure that your shop fans aren’t blowing dirt all over your work surface, or that your roof doesn’t have any pesky leaks when it’s pouring.
While you’re working off that case of cabin fever and enjoying the soft spring weather, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you should enjoy what you’re doing. Looking forward to the end results, when your whole project is finished, is a great incentive, but the sense of accomplishment after you install each piece is even better. The admiring looks from other drivers are probably the best part of all.