Best custom packages for your Ford Mustang

Few American icons are more beloved than the Ford Mustang. From brash fraternity members to middle-aged cubicle workers needing a kick to the Average Joe who just wants a powerful car, not many can say they don’t love the Mustang. (Chevrolet heads, maybe?)

While some consider it sacrilege to alter the standard Mustang look in any way, others are open to experimentation and make full use of Ford’s own custom shop. After all, if the manufacturer brags that no two Mustangs are the same, who are we to argue against that? Here’s an overview of some of the custom packages that Ford can offer you.

The Mustang body shop

For starters, you’ll have to choose whether you want a V6 or a V8 engine, with the latter obviously bringing more power. Past that, another easy choice should be whether you want a fastback or a convertible – if your city isn’t particularly warm (or you don’t plan on moving to one that is any time soon), there’s probably no reason to open up that roof. Among the ‘plain’ updates is also the engine type (past the number of cylinders) – those going for Ford’s EcoBoost engines are promised better fuel economy without losing out on the Mustang’s legendary power.

Here’s where things get interesting: while Ford offers so-called Premium and GT packages, you are free to add your own upgrades and combine them with any model. For example, while the Fastback GT comes with 18″ painted aluminum wheels, you are free to increase the size to 20″ – the same goes for adding collision mitigation or voice commands to any model.

Mustang’s EcoBoost Performance package is another deal to keep in mind: a single click will give your muscle car large and glossy wheels, nicer brake rotors, a redesigned dash panel, a gauge pack and improved braking and handling. If you think you don’t need to improve performance, consider Ford’s 50 Years Appearance Package – it will let you style your tailor-made Mustang in line with the 50 Year Limited Edition Version (including a different grille, special aluminum wheels, interior mods and minor exterior alterations like a different rear gas cap badge) without forcing you to part with your specific desires.

Aftermarket packages – should you get one on your Mustang?

If you feel that Ford doesn’t offer enough boost to its prized model, there’s always the aftermarket to consider. There are many tuning companies out there that specialize in modding Mustangs every which way and are sure to do a good job on your precious possession – aftermarket is usually the best choice for those who already own a Mustang but would like to introduce some positive changes.

For example, consider an external tuning company like Roush Performance that specializes in customizing Mustangs: they offer virtually every upgrade you could think of, from visual ones like spoilers, valances, hood scoops and grilles to performance boosts like superchargers that will turn your Mustang into an even greater road menace.

In the end, it all comes down to having a vision: to avoid subjecting your Mustang to the fate of plastic surgery addicts, try to envision its perfect look and capabilities before getting to the modding.

Customizing your car

Custom cars get bad rep sometimes. Some perceive their owners as loud, obnoxious, self-centered and attention-seeking. If you ask us, these stereotypes merely stem from jealousy over someone having a nice ride – custom car owners are regular people like everyone else, except they want something more out of their vehicle.

You can customize virtually every car, although cheaper cars and classic models are those that see their appearance tweaked most often – many consider it a sin to tweak a luxurious model past adding different rims and a darker window tint.

Here’s an overview of some upgrades you can consider, but be sure that they’re in line with automotive regulations in your city, county and state.

Body overhaul: Perhaps the most complex upgrade on the list is also the one that tends to prove most rewarding (if you know what you’re doing, that is). A body mod done right will transform your car into something that looks entirely different and will have many scratching their heads wondering about the year of manufacture. Body mods can start simple – roof, doors – and can evolve to encompass the entire shape of the car. You can either talk to a facility specializing in making custom mods (many will accept work based on customer designs) or work with one or more skilled ironworkers – both options will be fairly expensive, so make sure you’re dead-set on giving your vehicle a facelift.

Minor static upgrades – exhaust, window tint, rims: These are fairly easy to do and yet often make a major visual difference on any vehicle. Rims are usually the first upgrade anyone makes and everyone who has seen a set of stylish rims knows that they can completely alter the appearance of a car for the better. Exhaust tips are also a great and inexpensive upgrade – you rarely need to change the entire exhaust system and can simply replace the finish, giving your car a sporty and oftentimes menacing look. Window tint is another cheap upgrade, and one with a multitude of uses – matching-color tints will improve the car’s overall appearance while darker ones will give both you and your vehicle a downright Cosa Nostra look even if you mostly use the car to buy groceries while wearing flip-flops.

Lights and lighting: Car lights are a neat upgrade that doesn’t cost a lot and can act as a significant improvement – sometimes, the plastic is changed without the actual lights being touched, while other upgrades will see an entirely new set. Some like to install more powerful lighting with a lot more lumens, but be careful – the authorities in your area might feel that there is such a thing as too bright. Under car lighting kits make for another popular upgrade for younger people, but they’re most effective for those who do a lot of nighttime driving – if you mostly drive your car during the day, your fancy new lights might be wasted.

Performance upgrades: Why does the (ostensibly) biggest upgrade get the least space on the list? Well, car owners are quick to jump to performance upgrades without really being realistic about their use. Past better brakes or improved steering, there aren’t many performance upgrades you’ll make good use of in your day-to-day – bigger acceleration will only end up causing trouble, a higher top speed will probably never be reached… Instead, it’s best to focus more on the tried-and-true visual upgrades.

Limousine manufacturers in the U.S.

Out to buy a fancy limo to show off your success or help your clients get from one place to another with style? Make sure to familiarize yourself with the best limo manufacturers in the U.S., then. There’s quite a few of them, both domestic and foreign, and each offers its own distinct brand of luxury.

Domestic or foreign limousine?

This might be the biggest debate among U.S. citizens buying a limo, and there are certainly arguments for each.

If you’re buying domestic, you know you’re supporting our economy and making a statement that you’re proud of what U.S. factories churn out. And there’s certainly plenty to be proud of: Chevy, Cadillac, Lincoln and Ford are just some examples of our top limo brands, each having multiple models to choose from – sedans, stretchers, SUVs… Besides, the President himself has always used a domestic limo, albeit one with quite a few ‘aftermarket’ mods. If you can offer to give your clients the presidential treatment, you know you’re on your way to good things.

On the other hand, even in a country that produces as many amazing vehicles as we do, foreign limos are still making a big impact – if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be able to open up factories here as quickly as they do. While Mercedes-Benz lost some of the high esteem it once held in the States, many still consider it the apex of luxury and a Mercedes limo will certainly send a message, as will one from Porsche. For something more low-key but no less spectacular, try going for a recent Audi model with all the features it can have.

Ah yes, the features…

Choosing what your limo should have

When choosing a limousine, it’s important to understand that they’re all about packages and extras, namely those that soup up the interior – there’s also something to be said about car length, but more on that later.

It all depends on what you’ll be using your limo for. Do you merely want a ‘car’ that looks like money? A luxury sedan is your best bet, even if you have your own chauffeur. In fact, nowadays, sedans are heavily used by limo companies as they’ve been brought to a standard of luxury that rivals stretchers. Even if you have a limo company, most of your clients will be content with ordering a regular-size sedan or even a SUV/CUV, as long as they’re luxurious enough.

When ordering your limo, make sure to check for optional features with the manufacturers. For additional luxury, you’ll want to try and get beige leather seats with heating, wooden interior finishes, a better sound system and preferably a cinema. These are the basics that make non-stretch limos exclusive on the inside, but feel free to add more to the list.

Some manufacturers will readily offer every package and interior modification you could think of while others might force you to hit the aftermarket to get what you need. Manufacturer packages are usually cheaper, so try and grab a model that doesn’t force you to customize it by your lonesome.

If you’re really thinking luxury, you’ll want to stretch whichever model you’re looking at – the car’s length is usually increased by 70″-150″, with the price increasing accordingly. Factory stretching is fairly complex and rarely done on the aftermarket – to get this type of limo, the used cars market might be your best bet if you don’t want to wait and pay too much, but be sure that a stretcher is really what you need as opposed to just sounding nice.

Best auto racing tracks in Florida

You might have watched any of the Fast and Furious iterations and are now feeling the urge to do some racing – please, don’t try and hit the gas pedal on the street. No matter what Vin Diesel’s entourage might have you believe, there’s no need to do street racing – not when our great nation has as many thrilling race tracks to choose from. Here are a couple of Florida’s top tracks featuring differing sizes and difficulty levels.

Auto Racing Tracks In Florida

Florida Sports Park: Not feeling quite ready for regular car races yet? Perhaps a buggy catch-me-if-you-can would suit you better and prepare you for the big leagues. In terms of buggy tracks, the ‘Swamp Buggy’ is fairly large: around a mile of dirt and turns that will test your steering skills and competitive spirit. The venue also doubles-up as a place for concerts and various events of similar nature, so you’ll have something to do even if your dirt racing effort wasn’t as successful.

All Tech Raceway: Have you and your father, son or guy friends been working on a drag automotive masterpiece that looks ready to fly off the road? There are few better places to test it out in Florida than the ATR (sometimes also called the Ellisville Speedway). For just $30, you can hit the pit with your prized creation and test yourself out against other tinkerers – it doesn’t have to look pretty, so long as it goes very fast and adheres to the specific vehicle rules of the individual race. The first-place prizes for winning on this half-a-mile oval strip often count in the thousands of dollars, but make sure you’re an experienced driver before getting in there.

Palm Beach Raceway: This Boynton Beach gem features a state of the art quarter-mile concrete track that’s frequently home to all sorts of events: testing by citizens and organizations, exhibitions and, yes, plenty of races. Provided you have the right vehicle, you should have no trouble finding a race that piques your interest – winning, however, is another story. Also, thanks to the well-built bleachers surrounding the strip, your family and friends can watch you go toe-to-toe with other great amateur racers on your way to glory.

The Firm: Short for Florida International Rally and Motorsports Park, this track was tailor-made for those looking to move away from plain races on concrete oval strips. Not only is the mile-and-half track among the largest you’ll find in the state, it also has no shortage of turns and difficult areas that will strain your driving prowess. While the facility is frequently home to racing events, it more often serves as training grounds for those looking to master their rally and ATV steering – this is reinforced by several training camps on-site accepting students year-round. If you’re looking to take a break from the standard and learn a thing or two, The Firm will act as the perfect environment for car and bike lovers – plus, you can get some nifty mods from the facility’s tuning shop while there.