Of All Things, Why Is Underglow Making a Comeback?

Much like airbrushing and body kits, underglow is one of those vehicular mods whose heyday is well in its past. Invented in the late 1980s and popularized in the ’90s, underglow saw a brief resurgence following the release of The Fast and the Furious before falling out of fashion in the 2000s, being seen as a tacky holdover from another era. But in 2020, it would seem underglow is making a comeback, for some fringes of car culture are again experimenting with the look, and even NASCAR gave it a shot at this year’s All-Star Race. 

So, I’m curious, why is underglow making a comeback?

It doesn’t really come as a huge surprise, after all. Cultures tend to follow cyclical patterns; older generations get nostalgic for what was popular when they were children, and younger generations with no firsthand experiences of trends from before their births often explore them as something new.

Examples of this can be seen in ’90s and ’00s neoclassics like the Chevrolet SSR and the final Ford Thunderbird, which took after the cars of Baby Boomers’ youths. In recent years, nostalgic Millennials have driven a spike in prices for ’80s and ’90s classics similar to what Boomers did to muscle cars. History repeats itself, as they say.

In all likelihood, we’ll soon see the same spike hit cars (and trucks) of the 2000s—prepare to see Nissan 350Zs soar in value a few years from now, and bewildered bloggers froth with rage when Chrysler PT Cruisers start to fetch big bucks on Bring A Trailer.

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