3 Simple Ideas for “Need for Speed” Inspired Car Customization

The “Need For Speed” video game franchise has been around for over 20 years and has made an appearance on just about every gaming console along the way. Serious gamers and gearheads have a wide range of opinions of when the series hit its true high point. Was is the chaotic, cliffside police chases of 1998’s “Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit” or the drift-happy street racing of 2003’s “Need For Speed: Underground?” Maybe it was the head-to-head, nail-biting intensity of 2013’s “NFS: Rivals?”

Whatever their answer, fans of the series can all agree that the one thing that has always made the series special — and ahead of its time — is the amount of customization that you can perform on your ride. From hood decals to suspension tweaks to treadless tires, “Need For Speed” has always been about making just the right adjustments to give you that much-needed edge in your next race. We’re now less than a month from the release of “Need For Speed,” a back to basics reboot that offers players an insane level of car customization options.

For long-time fans of the “Need For Speed franchise interested in doing a little car customization of your own, here are a few ways you can give your car a true NFS touch.

Racing Stripes

Released all the way back in 1994 on the 3D0, the original Need For Speed was a watershed development for racing games. Along with “Ridge Racer,” it was one of the first games to incorporate 3D graphics and feature real-word cars. It also let players make a few basic choices about the look of their car, including color and racing stripe pattern. Today, these are standard features in nearly every racing game series, but at the time customization of any kind was completely unheard of. If you really want to honor the series, you can’t go wrong with classic black racing stripe decals that look just like the ones on the Dodge Viper RT-10. It’s an easy DIY customization that will let your car-crazy friend know who the real NFS fanatic is.


“Need for Speed II” was one of the first racing games to let players adjust certain performance-altering features on cars. You could alter the gear ratio, spoiler height and type of tire before each race. And this wasn’t just a gimmick, you could actually feel your car behaving differently on different terrain and a good result was often dependent on making just the right adjustments. These little adjustments are just as effective in the real world as they are in racing games. Adding a set of Nitto Ultra High Performance Sport tires to your Ford GT90 will undoubtedly give you the same edge whether you’re cruising down the interstate or along NFS 2’s notorious Mystic Peaks course.

Undercar Lighting

“Need For Speed: Underground” was a tribute to an urban, underground car culture that cherished creativity and self-expression. The game took the emphasis off of high-end luxury sports cars like Lamborghini and Porsche and placed it on popular, readily available models like the Honda Civic and Nissan Supra. At the time, one of the newest trends in car customization was undercar lighting kits that literally made your car look like it was floating on a neon cloud. Today, undercar lighting has basically advanced into an art form of its own, and you can buy custom kits made specifically for just about any model of car or truck. XK Glow even has an LED setup that lets you control your lights from your iPhone and sync them with your music.

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