Modified Cars: The Fast, Furious, and Illegal

There is a majority of individuals who label or identify themselves as car enthusiasts. Their dream cars consist of intensely modified equipment and accessories. Such modifications include illegal mufflers, exhausts, underglow, decals, tint, engines, etc. One typically modifies their car for racing, drifting, and showing off purposes. Some modifications are purely cosmetic, while others affect the performance of the car. For example, mufflers can affect the sound the engine gives off. Although, most car modifications tend to be illegal in the United States. There are strict laws put in place to prevent certain modifications. Modifications become a risk for the environment, other motorists, and pedestrians in residential areas. With that being said, it is still extremely popular in our society. People with modified cars tend to form clubs/groups in order to show off their car. Races and events are set up for people to join and participate in as well. Illegal street racing can take place on freeways, residential areas, and crowded streets. This allows individuals to show off/prove how fast their car is with their specific modifications. Drifting events are also held. Crowds of people block off intersections so that their friends or club members can do donuts in the middle. This gives off huge amounts of smoke and loud tire screeching noises. Also proving that their car is quote on quote badass.

Modified cars have become its own culture. It is a highly demanded necessity for those involved. Bigger engines and flamboyant paint jobs is a way to make one’s car stand out from the rest. It is considered an art in the way that it allows one to express their love and desire towards cars. This form of art may be considered illegal, but it is much more than that. It has become a lifestyle to most car enthusiasts. This love for modified cars isn’t just located in the United States. We see modified cars all around the world. Japan also has a peak interest in modified cars. In Japan, those who are involved in the car modification culture, call themselves Ricers. This shared passion brings people together and builds relationships. Car enthusiasts don’t view cars in a typical way. It becomes a special and unique form of expression. People enjoy the way their cars look, sound, and perform. Modified cars can give a rush and exciting feeling to individuals. Even though the majority of individuals know the consequences and reality of modification, it is still prevalent.

Specifically in California modified cars must go through an authorization process in order to see if the installed equipment is legal. However, the majority of individuals do not abide by this rule. This is because most of the time the equipment is very illegal and would never pass. As stated above, the risks that come with modifications is why it is such an issue. There is not enough caution involved with modified cars. From emissions to illegal street races, the idea of modifications can be very dangerous. When it comes to catching the illegal modifications, cops look for the most bizarre looking cars. The more bizarre it looks, the more likely they will be involved in street race scenes or illegal equipment. Deviant behavior is highly associated with modified cars. Laws are not being abided when it comes to the modification of cars.

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Valerie Perez

5 thoughts on “Modified Cars: The Fast, Furious, and Illegal

  1. This was really interesting for me to read from the perspective of a true classic car enthusiast. It’s certainly different to see the more modern side of what it means to be a car enthusiast, although I don’t quite agree that people who preform these kinds of modifications can be considered a true car enthusiast. However, I can agree that the same amount of mechanical work, effort and finances go into loving these cars the same as a classic car enthusiast does. As an avid car collector and restorer, I have to say nothing can beat the beauty of the classic American made cars of the 60’s and 70’s. True gems.

  2. As a car enthusiast, this is a topic that I have thought about on a multitude of occasions. I specifically do enjoy the concept of modifying vehicles and personalizing them in a multitude of ways, as it is not only a form of artistic expression but sometimes also a task of clever engineering and innovation. A lot of the greatest inventions and car brands have been created through the car modification community. However, I do believe there are serious concerns with events like Streetcar Takeovers and forms of illegal street racing. I also do believe there are environmental concerns with several types of car modifications. These illegal events do need to be enforced as they pose a huge risk to public safety as on several occasions they have resulted in large amounts of harm and damage. Furthermore, I think these environmentally harmful modifications should be limited to showcase and track vehicles only, not those that are street-legal and used daily. To keep the art alive, more spaces should be created in order to allow enthusiasts to showcase and use their vehicles in a safe and controlled manner.

  3. Prior to reading this, I had a decent knowledge about the modified car scene so it was interesting to see someone else’s take on it. It is very true that these enthusiasts are well aware of what modifications are illegal but they choose to do them anyway because they feel it is a way for them to express their passion for cars. They see their cars as art and self-expression rather than transportation. I think it is extremely interesting that you mentioned that one would assume the more bizarre a car appears, the more likely it is to be modified because it shows that car enthusiasts do not particularly care that they are committing a crime. They value their passion and want to create a unique vehicle more than abiding by the law.

  4. I didn’t know much about the modified cars scene, so reading this was extremely informative and new news to me. I found it interesting that deviant behavior is highly associated with modified cars. Looking at the information on how these cars can cause risk to the environment, other motorists, and pedestrians, I can see why they could be considered an issue for many. However, I think that the ability to change a car to have different sounds, speeds, smoke, look, etc., is unique and something that could very well be considered an art form. The fact that a person can modify it so that the car has a different value/use from its original component allows the object itself to take on a new form, something that we see with many artworks in Dada and conceptual art. These movements also focused on utilizing readymade items and modifying them (in a sense) so that they could have different purposes/meanings as a form of art. If we look at it in that sense, I can see how the argument stands for modified cars as being more of an art rather than a crime.

  5. I hadn’t thought about cars in this sense before. It’s interesting to think about because it is definitely art, since we all design (or choose not to design) it however we’d like. You can build upon the different ways that cars are modified by borrowing from different cultures or ideas that are already made. This is especially true when you think about how like you said, people come together to see the modifications done to the cars that they have and some simply see the cars parked and admire the details of both how the car was made, and how the owner decided to design it.

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