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Stereotypes: The Boy Racer Car

boy-racerUsually Seen: Late on Friday and Saturday nights, either on long straight stretches near urban areas but not quite in them or near traffic lights. They tend to vanish when cops are spotted on the horizon, leaving unpleasant oil slicks and tyre tracks.

Typical Examples: Mazda RX-something, Toyota Levin, Nissan Skyline, Subaru WRX .

Description:

The boy racer car may be based on a small, cheap Japanese (or other Asian) vehicle but it certainly doesn’t look like one… until you look more closely. What makes a boy racer car a boy racer car is all the after-market additions.  The boy racer car very blatantly tries to prove the manhood of the driver.  Subtle, it is not.  A large spoiler is an absolute must – the bigger, the better.  Two spoilers are even better.  The second must-have for the well-dressed boy racer car is the big-bore exhaust.  Take a look at the size of both, the shape of the exhaust and the angle of that spoiler, and you’ll start to believe everything that Freud ever wrote about phallic symbols and probably compensation into the bargain.

Other key characteristics of the boy racer car are less phallic but are still very exhibitionistic.  No boy racer car would be complete without the sound system.  These should make the car vibrate when the doors closed.  If the doors and/or windows are open (or, depending on the car, the top is down), you should be able to hear the vehicle from at least two streets away.  Don’t bother trying to identify what is playing: all you will hear is the very, very distorted bass.  In the case of dubstep, that’s all there is to hear, anyway. Everything else is indistinguishable from the sound of the exhaust but, unfortunately, doesn’t drown out what the passengers and/or driver are shouting out the windows.

Mag wheels are another must.  But not just plain aluminium alloys!  These ought to be colourful as well as shiny.  Blue, orange, red and yellow are all possibilities.  If you look very closely at some mag wheels, you may find that they are actually clip-on jobs from the local car supplies shop.  But they have to be shiny. Shiny is the name of the game.

The boy racer car is low slung – they ride as low as the pants of the drivers did a few years back, but at least the car doesn’t give a glimpse of lurid boxer shorts.  This can be done by fiddling with the suspension and shocks, or with a lot of body kit.  Preferably both.  It should just skim the ground, leaving the barest little gap to allow tiny pebbles on the road to pass underneath.  If the car encounters something larger than a pebble, then all that fibreglass is in serious trouble.

Decals and paint jobs are often seen on boy racer cars, although sometimes you wish that you hadn’t seen them, as they are usually excruciatingly lurid.  The go-faster racing stripes are the more tasteful versions. At the other end of the spectrum, you get the iridescent paint jobs and the swirly, streaky things that look like tattoos along the sides.  The paint jobs usually look like they’ve taken peacocks or hummingbirds as inspiration after a decent dose of something illegal.  But they don’t come in pink.  If they come in pink, it’s probably a girl racer.  This colour is enhanced at night-time by LED lights around the wheels, preferably in blue.

It is hard to see into the interior of a boy racer car to find out what it is like inside.  This is because the windows have been seriously tinted.  If the windows are down, the driver and his passengers are probably half hanging out of them, blocking any view of what’s inside.  We suspect bucket seats if the owner’s budget stretches that far and possibly a prosthetic cover for the steering wheel to make it look sportier.  We also suspect old cans of Red Bull, V or Monster will be found sprinkled in around the interior, plus greasy fast food wrappers.  More than this is unknown – even as a teenage girl, I had more sense than to get anywhere near one of these cars.

The irony with a boy racer car is that once you get past the exterior and look at actual specs, all the bravado and body kit can be seen for what it is.  Underneath all those modifications, even with a bonnet blower (another phallic symbol?), it’s still a cheap little hatch or sedan with a teeny engine, but one that’s lost all its self-respect.  A decent European sedan – or even another car of the same marque with a better engine that’s actually been properly serviced by a responsible owner who doesn’t thrash it to death – will leave it for dead at the traffic lights.  Ditto if the road is the slightest bit worn or uneven.

And girls aren’t irresistibly attracted to them.  Loud noises, bright colours and big tails may work for peacocks and birds of paradise but not for human beings with half a brain cell.

Safe and happy driving,

Megan

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