For most car or bike owners, their vehicle is more than a mode of transportation. They have personalities. If you think a Transformers-like makeover for your four-wheeler or bike seems far fetched, workshops that customise cars and bikes can come to your rescue to jazz up your ride, with more than just a paint job.
Outlets such as Autopsyche in Gurgaon and AGM Technologies in Naraina are known for the high-end modifications they offer. They create limousine-like interiors in ordinary cars: new bumpers, side skirts, glossy metallic paint and vinyl graphics. Other upgrades include engine boosts, tyre alloys/rims, xenon (white) headlights, neon undercarriage glow, beefed-up music systems and matching interiors that go into giving a car a futuristic makeover.
Not all modifications cost the earth. John Kivel, 37, an American recruitment director based in Gurgaon got his 2010 Royal Enfield Classic modified by Dream Riders, a workshop in Mayapuri that specialises in motorcycle jobs. Kivel paid Rs 45,000 for the embellishments that included a camel leather seat for Rs 10,000, mirrors, a dual exhaust, re-chromed finish, custom lights, and paint.
Performance Zone in Patel Nagar specialises in rally cars as well as modified vehicles for the disabled. Its standard package that includes bumpers, side skirts and spoiler is pegged at Rs 20,000.
At the top end, the customisation can set you back by a few lakh. Gurcharan Singh, a 20-year-old engineering student, for instance, overhauled his car with custom parts including a body kit, wheel alloys, a powerful music-system and souped-up engine. The cost alone of converting his Baleno engine to a race car engine was a Rs 2.5 lakh, besides the Rs 50,000 that he spent on window tints, sound system, bumpers, spoiler etc. "My obsession with cars started with videogames, especially Need For Speed Underground. When I got my first car after class 12, I promptly modified it," he says.
Companies such as Fast Trax, a fast-food chain and hotels like Fortune Select Excalibur, don't mind spending a fortune on customisation. Fast Trax ordered two bikes from Dream Riders which cost between Rs 3.5-4 lakh that they display at their outlets. AGM Technologies got a Toyota Innova limousine for Excalibur for Rs 5 lakh that ferries their clients around town. Modifications from Performance Zone can cost as much as Rs 3 lakh.
In case you have even deeper pockets, you can consider DC Design that has revamped motor homes for actors such as Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Vivek Oberoi, each amounting to nearly Rs 3 crore. While stars can afford to revamp their caravans for long shoots, others opt for minor changes to accentuate their vehicles' features. For those who have a "passion for the ride" as Ansh Adhlakha, 28, an automobile company employee who got an SX4 customised, says, money is no hindrance. "Especially when you're a connoisseur of art in motion."