Last year, I bought a sad-looking 2005 Toyota Prius at auction, where it had been discarded by its previous owner due to a failed hybrid battery. After purchasing my Prius for only $1,500, I filmed a video that made me look somewhat intelligent for a change, as I showed viewers how to refurbish a hybrid battery themselves for a fraction of the replacement cost. I probably should have stopped there and flipped the car for a generous profit — but I decided I wanted to make my Toyota Prius cool. Since then, things have gotten pretty weird.
It all started innocently enough, with some aftermarket wheels, lowering springs and snazzy-looking headlamp/tail lamp housing upgrades — giving this toaster-shaped Prius a sporty edge. I also wanted to upgrade the interior, so I had the seats reupholstered in hipster flannel, and I purchased a touchscreen stereo and headrest TVs, giving a little nod to the "Pimp My Ride" era of car customizing. If I had stopped there, I would have created a fairly tasteful, nicely upgraded car that most would have appreciated. Unfortunately, I had a rare eureka moment that would change the fate of my Prius forever. Unlike Doc Brown, I didn’t hit my head on the toilet seat and invent something brilliant like the flux capacitor — but my idea would send this Prius back in time.
Originally, I wanted to repaint the badly scratched bumpers to their original black finish. I had no intention of changing the color of the car until the painter recommended I perform a full cheap respray — since the rest of the body had several dings and scratches from 12 years of daily use. For some deranged reason, my mind wandered to recreating the Toyota Supra from the original 2001 "Fast and Furious" movie — complete with the side decals and spoilers. I actually came up with this brilliant idea long before I ever knew I was buying a Ferrari F355 that looks almost identical to another car used in the same film.
It took months for the painter to finally complete a total respray of the black exterior — and unfortunately, I didn’t get the deep, sun-kissed orange I was hoping for. The finished product looked more like a creamsicle than the famous Supra — but I still wanted to complete my deranged vision. I let the wizard tackle mounting the giant winged spoiler on top of the Prius factory spoiler while I struggled to install the side decals. A vinyl printmaker had recreated the "pull my finger" graphics from the film car, and he was selling them online for a reasonable price. While the stickers seemed to be of decent quality, the installer (me) was totally inept — and the finished product was filled with ripples and bubbles. I’m hoping this looks much better after water spray I used to place the graphics finally evaporates from behind the vinyl.
With the exterior completed, the wizard and I finished up the stereo install — and then we could finally pull the Prius outside to marvel at my stupidity. Instead of making my Prius cool, I had made it into a big orange joke. I should really stop myself at this point, but I want some of the performance-product stickers affixed to my car to actually have meaning — particularly the NOS one. Why can’t a Prius have a nitrous kit? You probably think I’m kidding … but I’ve already taken it this far. Find a Toyota Prius for sale
Tyler Hoover went broke after 10 years in the car business and now sells hamburgers to support his fleet of needy cars. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.