Wide-body styling kits are nothing new. I can remember the wide-body kits back in the day on BMW’s and Mercedes that nowadays we would probably laugh at. You remember those exaggerated fenders and rocker panels with wheels tucked underneath. That was the early days of aftermarket body styling, which has greatly improved with technology, and the availability of materials. The body kit market up until recently has been dominated by the import car companies like Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda and Suzuki, but some American muscle cars from Chevy, Dodge and Ford are providing a canvas for wide-body kits as well.
Car designers understand the importance of developing shapes and body lines on new model cars that will welcome styling packages. With styling packages and parts offered as factory options and the plethora of aftermarket styling kits available you probably won’t see a show car that doesn’t have a body kit. So, what are the different types of materials used in body kits? There are two basic materials used in body kit construction – urethane and fiberglass.
Urethane Body Kits
Urethane is very strong and can take a considerable amount of banging around before it’s damaged. It’s resistant to small dings and has some resistance to denting. The downside with urethane is that it usually has to be replaced once it’s damaged. Urethane because of its flexibility is easier to install and manipulate. A urethane body kit will cost you more than a fiberglass kit, but will last much longer.
Fiberglass Body Kits
A Fiberglass body kit while inferior to the durability of urethane body kit cost about half as much. The main upside to fiberglass is the price. In addition, a fiberglass body kit can be repaired much easier vs. a urethane body kit, which would have to be replaced entirely. There’s also a larger variety of fiberglass parts available than urethane.
So, if you’re looking for a high-quality and durable body kit then urethane is a great option. If money is a concern then fiberglass may be a good choice. Some fabricators are also using metal for their body kit construction such as Topo who’s been doing wide-body kits for Jay Leno, the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, NV and other celebrity clients. Topo was recently interviewed by DUB Magazine and had the following to say:
“I build everything to look like it just drove off the dealer’s lot,”
“I’m all about being different, but having a clean look to it. I’m not about stick-on body kits, either.”
“I’m not scared to cut or do anything, no matter the type of car. If someone brings it, I’ll do it. The thing with exotics is that they are made with carbon fiber instead of metal, but I’m not scared to try it.”
“I know the whole widebody thing has been done before, but I’m pushing it more, where each one of my cars is different.”
For Topo it’s all about originality and that can be seen in whatever project is his latest. Wide-body kits seem to have a bright future and if this trend continues we may start to see wide-body conversions on Bentley, Ferrari and Lamborghini, but we’ll have to wait to see.