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Motoring

The best car models to modify for

each budget

© Grant McDonnell for

SlammedUK

If you want in on the car modifying world, these are a few of

your best options – from budget friendly machines to the

flashiest models available.

Written by Jordan Clarke · 25 February

Looking for your first car to modify and not quite sure where to start? Well, the first thing is

securing a car you want to build off, and to do this you need to establish a budget.

Remember, modifications don’t tend to be cheap, so be realistic when picking your model,

as that is just the startAup cost.

Jordan Clarke, the owner of the automotive lifestyle brand SlammedUK, knows a thing or

two when it comes to car modifying. The coAfounder of the Gravity Show has been

modifying cars for eight years and spends much of the year travelling to shows across the

UK and Europe to see the hottest car mods currently on the scene. Here, he picks his

favourite models for each budget, and suggests what mods you can start with.

“The cars I’ve chosen for the article are solely based on what cars myself and my friends

had over the years, and our experience of buying and modifying the cars. There are so

many different cars you can buy for these budgets, but it all depends on your tastes and

what genre of car you’re into. For me, it was a mix of both German and Japanese based

cars as I’ve had Golfs and MX5s – have a read and see what you think!”

1. VW Lupo – £1,000 budget

A Lupo is a great beginners car

© BETH HALSEY

“The VW Lupo is a great entry level car to begin modifying – you can pick these up for

under £1,000, usually in 1.0L or 1.4L engines. You can get coilovers (coilAover shock

absorber) from around £150 – granted, they are not the best available, but they do the job,

and I actually had some £165 JOM Coilovers on one of my cars and they were great!

"A small car means small wheels, which is always good when building a car on a budget.

You can get a set of 16” aftermarket alloy wheels from as little as £300. The Lupo is a great

starting point for anyone starting out in the modifying world. Cheap and reliable, I would

highly recommend it as a car to start with!”

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2. Mazda MX5 – £1,500 budget

Jordan Clarke's MX51

© JORDAN CLARKE

“If your budget is a little higher but you would still like something affordable and fun, the

Mazda MX5 is a great place to start. I actually personally did a budget build on a MK2 MX5

a few years ago and it’s still one of the most enjoyable builds I’ve done with a car. I

managed to buy the car, coilovers, hardtop roof, carbon spoiler, front splitter, XXR 527

wheels, Corbeau bucket seats, exhaust and, of course, neons, all for under £2,500. With a

1.8L engine and rearAwheel drive, it’s a lively drive.”

3. BMW E46 – £2,500 budget

A classic E46

© ALEX HURD

“The popular BMW E46 is an easy car to modify and looks really good, whilst not being

overly expensive. However, as with most cars, you can spend a lot if you really want to! A

secondAhand set of wheels generally starts from around £500. Add a set of coilovers and

some subtle carbon touches to transform the look of this car.”

A nice set bolted onto a BMW E46 M3

© CHER PHENG LEE

4. MK5 Golf GTI – £5,000 budget

Mk5 Golf

© TRISTAN YOUNG

“For a much larger budget like £5,000, there are a lot of cars you could opt for, but a

favourite of mine is the MK5 Golf GTI. The 2.0 Turbo engine with around 197bhp on the Golf

means you can squeeze out more power with some choice mods. A Golf has timeless good

looks, and the package suits every style of modifying as it allows many different sizes and

styles of wheels, as well as different suspension and carbon options. The modifying list for a

car like this is endless.”

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5. Nissan Silvia S14 – £7,500 budget

The S14 is adaptable to any style

© KYLE CHAPPORY

“The Silvia is another timeless classic. Having this size of budget really opens your options

to models, but there’s a reason you’ll see so many Silvia mods at shows and on a drifting

track. It’s a really fun car to drive, it looks fantastic and there are neverAending options for

modification styles.

"Bodykits are generally a good place to start, and then you can start looking at wheels and

coilovers. Bodykits can start from £500 and go up to pretty much whatever you want to

spend. Wheels are the same, and but for a set of custom splits, you’ll be looking well into

the thousands. As for coilovers – on a car like this, you won’t want to get the entry level, so

you're probably looking at £500+ for a good set.”

6. Audi TTS MK2 – £10,000 budget

Audi TT would be a dream build

© JAMES BARR

“If you’re starting with a high budget like £10,000, then you really do have a lot of options.

In my opinion, one of the best models for this kind of money is an MK2 TTS. The 4WD

Quattro system and 2.0 TFSI engine provide an amazing driving experience and plenty of

power behind the wheel, plus options to increase the power and torque with a few engine

mods.

"The MK2 Audi TTS is undoubtedly one of the bestAlooking coupés on the market, made

only better by modifying. Again, I wouldn’t recommend going for any cheap options here.

Air suspension is a good start, or you could add a good set of coilovers, which would be

the cheaper option but still around the £600 mark. WheelAwise, the TTS has large arches, so

18–20” wheels will look incredible, and start at around £800 for a decent set of Cast wheels,

but it can go all the way up into the thousands dependent on your budget.”

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