Boy racer

boy racer is a motorist of any gender who drives an automobile that has been modified with aftermarket body kits, audio system and exhaust system, usually in an unlawful manner.[1] It can also mean a compact sporty coupe that is heavily modified for racing. Wealthier motorists who drive sports cars, or those with costly modifications, often seek to distance themselves from the culture.[2]

Responses to the boy racer phenomenon range from laws prohibiting cosmetic modifications to vehicles such as decorative lighting and window tint, restrictions on recreational driving (“cruising”), to vandalism such as spraying expanding foam into cars with loud “big bore” exhaust tips to stop such cars driving around emitting loud droning noises.[3]

“Poser Mobile”, a commercial parody of common boy racer mods, created by T-Mobile
Boy racer spotted in Malaysia.

Culture

Publications for boy racers included Max PowerFast CarNew Zealand Performance Car MagazineMTV’s Pimp My Ride and The Fast and the Furious as well as DVD publications and television shows.

Boy racers are typically known for speeding away from traffic lights, playing loud music, and revving their engines rather than actual street racing.[4][5] A typical boy racer is seen as a young man who sits very low in his seat and wears a beanie, baseball cap and/or hoodie.[6][7]

Vehicle modification

Modifications typically associated with the stereotype include:

  • Powerful sound systems
  • Extravagant paint jobs
  • Large, loud exhaust tips
  • Imitation alloy wheels, often unusually too large for the respective car, with matching low-section, wide-base tyres that are often from several different low quality manufacturers.
  • Hellaflush (tyres given excess camber, and scratching the tyre fenders)
  • Spoilers[8] and bonnet scoops (possibly non-functional)
  • Suspension modifications to lower a car’s ride height (often referred to as stance)[9][10]
  • Body kits, neon/L.E.D lights and other appearance modifications
  • Tinted windows, often restricting the view from the car[11]

Boy racers by country

New Zealand

A modified Volkswagen Golf Mk4

The term boy racer is used in New Zealand to describe a youth that drives any form of vehicle that is Japanese and/or has been modified in any way (including factory fitted parts). The Land Transport (Unauthorised Street and Drag Racing) Amendment Act 2003 is commonly known as the “Boy Racer Act”.

In 2009, a government led by the National Party augmented the Act with the Land Transport (Enforcement Powers) Amendment Actand the Sentencing (Vehicle Confiscation) Amendment Act, which allow police to confiscate and “crush” (correctly, dismantle for salable parts and destroy the remainder) vehicles on the third offence within four years, issue infringements for “cruising” and prosecute street racing and “antisocial” behaviour, by creating temporary by laws. The first car crushing sentence was passed down in December 2011.[12]

While the slang word “bogan” generally has a broader meaning, it is often used in New Zealand in reference to owners of larger Australian cars, like Ford Falcons or Holden Commodores.[13][14]

Most cheap vehicles in New Zealand are used Japanese imports and the culture follows modification of these cars.[15]

United Kingdom

A modified Peugeot 106

Boy racers often neglect to tell their insurance provider about modifications as this would further inflate their insurance premium, even though British law requires drivers to notify insurers of all material changes to the vehicle.[16]

References

  1. “Police blitz unearths dozens of death traps”. The New Zealand Herald. 18 October 2005. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  2. Lumsden, Karen (January 2009). “‘Do we look like boy racers?’ The role of the folk devil in contemporary moral panics”. Sociological Research Online14 (1). doi:10.5153/sro.1840. Archived from the original on 2009-04-08. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  3.  “‘Phantom Expander’ targets New Zealand hoons”. 4 February 2009.
  4. “Boys just wanna have fun”. Asia Africa Intelligence Wire. 2003-03-29. Archived from the original on October 23, 2012.
  5. Grantham Journal: Car seized in ‘boy racer’ crackdown
  6. Wairarapa Times-Age: Young enthusiasts say “we’re not boy-racers” Archived July 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. Wanganui Chronicle: Boy racers worry St John’s Hill residents Archived July 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. East Anglian Daily Times: Man’s horror at road rage ‘gun’ ordeal[dead link]
  9. Hawke’s Bay Today: Lower cars at your peril says ex-racer Archived July 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. “Unsafe boy racers flock to BOP for New Year”. NZPA/Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  11. “Tinted windows to the soul”. 31 May 2007 – via news.bbc.co.uk.
  12. Donnell, Hayden (12 December 2011). “Boy racer’s car to be crushed”. nzherald.co.nz. Retrieved 12 December 2011Eighteen-year-old Karn Clarrie Forrest (18), of Milton, appeared before Judge Stephen O’Driscoll in the Balclutha District Court, sitting in Gore, today on two driving charges.
  13. “Muscle car museum”. 13 March 2009. Archived from the original on April 4, 2009.
  14. “The World Today – Car lovers buy fuel-efficient vehicles to save money”.
  15. [1][dead link]
  16. New Drivers Car Insurance – Hints and Tips
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