Chop shop heroes: Meet the world’s weirdest car cultures

As long as there have been motor vehicles, there have been certain groups of people obsessed with chopping, modding and hot-rodding them.

Modified cars on the roads are a fairly common sight; no doubt every driver will have spotted a car with some sort of custom features, ranging from things like relatively innocuous aftermarket exhausts to full-blown ‘chav chariot’ bodykits. Bright pink with Playboy decals, of course.

The culture of modifying cars has been around for quite a while, as long as cars have been a thing, in fact. While hot-rodding cars became popular in the 50s, people had actually been fitting all manner of aftermarket parts to their cars for long before then.

In fact, there are actually examples of early cars from the late 1800s that drivers had fitted things like toilets to in place of seats. We’re not quite sure how to feel about that one…

However, while most drivers are happy enough to stick with their stock cars and some like to give the odd upgrade here and there, there’s always going to be those who take things just one step too far.

From huge wheels to insane body designs, dangerous driving behaviour and even seats for farmyard animals, if you thought your local boy racer with his modded Vauxhall Nova was bad, check out some of the world’s weirdest car cultures!

Donks

Also known as hi-risers, boxes and bubbles, a Donk is usually characterised by seriously huge wheels and a paint-job so bright you’ll have to wear sunglasses around it.

If nobody has filmed a rap video in your neighbourhood, you’ll probably be largely unfamiliar with what a Donk is, but they’re extremely popular in certain areas of the United States, predominantly in the South.

Taking the American ethos of ‘bigger is better’ to an absolute extreme, a Donk is almost exclusively built on the body of a big, old American car like a Cadillac, outfitted with a flashy finish and massive wheels.

Donk culture started in the 90s as a form of essentially showing off. If you made a lot of money, you could afford big 20-inch wheels for your car. Unfortunately, this escalated into an extreme form of one-upmanship as drivers increased their wheel size until Donks were regularly seen with insane 40-inch wheels.

Not particularly safe or popular with law enforcement, Donk cars also tend to attract disparaging remarks from car fans, who tend to see the massive wheels and gaudy appearance as sacrilegious to the classic cars on which they’re built.

Still, if it’s attention you’re looking for and you’re not too fussed on whether it’s good or bad, then a Donk will give it to you in spades. Just check out this crazy Donk Camaro!

Raggare

Essentially the polar opposite to a Donk, the unique little subculture that is Raggare is all about as being as much of an all-American good ol’ boy as possible… Despite the fact that Raggare is, in fact, based in Sweden.

It got its start in the 50s as American greaser culture migrated to Scandinavia, and as a result Raggare is associated with ratty muscle cars, rock and roll, lots of beer and a smattering of Confederate flag decals.

If you can’t afford a Camaro or a new Ford Mustang, don’t sweat it. The Swedes are pretty forgiving guys, so you’ll be just as accepted in the world of Raggare if you buy an old Volvo and spray-paint a skull and crossbones on it.

Uprate your engine until it’s worthy of muscle car status and then lower it as close to the ground as it can physically go, then grab a beer and get ready to party!

Spinning

From the Southern states of America to the frozen north of Sweden and back down again, the sport of spinning, which has become the latest craze in South Africa, lends new meaning to the phrase ‘burning rubber’.

Taking driving stunts to an audacious new level, spinners perform feats that seemingly cheat not only death, but also the laws of physics themselves.

Typically, spinning consists of the driver performing a number of tight manoeuvres to get their car to drift round in circles for an extended period of time.

Once enough momentum has built up, the driver casually steps out of the car and starts to jig around it while the car spins around with its engine revving and tyres screeching, completely driverless.

Following that, the driver will then jump onto the bonnet, run across the roof and jump off the other end before getting back in to take control once again, all while the car spins on and on. Phew.

Though it has become a legalised spectator sport in the last few years, with fully-modified drift cars involved, spinning actually started during the 90s as a gangster ritual in the townships of South Africa.

When a local gangster was killed, his friends would steal a car, drift it around his funeral and then set it ablaze as a sign of respect. Pretty rough stuff, but the automotive acrobatics are still impressive!

Check out this video if you’d like to see the so-called King of Spin, Magesh, in action. Ken Block, take note…

Bosozoku

What’s the first thing that springs to mind when you think Japan? For some people, it might be the country’s famous Feudal Era history, for others it might be things like Mount Fuji, the bullet train or Pokémon.

For car fans, however, the first thing that comes to mind might be the utterly insane Japanese bosozoku culture. ‘Bosozoku’ literally translates as ‘running out-of-control’, and it’s easy to see how this has been applied to the bosozoku style.

The idea behind making a bosozoku car is to add an aerodynamic kit that’s as large as the vehicle can handle, massive and obvious exhaust pipes, plus bright paintjobs, fins on the roof, mirrors, discoballs, missiles, decals and any other wacky addition to make it stand out from the crowd.

Styled on Group 5 Special Production Cars from the 70s, bosozoku cars also feature huge splitters, boxy wheel arches and paintjobs often inspired by comic book heroes or other pop culture icons.

Much like spinning, bosozoku originally had its origins among gang culture and shares a name with a similar motorcycle subculture, which has influenced the design of the cars and vice versa.

Some of the shared influences include the exhaust pipes, which often stretch outwards and up into the air in emulation of the chopper motorcycles used by the gangs who originally gave rise to the bosozoku scene.

Pig n’ Ford racing

Like Ronseal, Pig n’ Ford racing does exactly what it says on the tin. You get an old Ford, pick up a pig as a co-driver and race.

Originating at the Tillamook County Fair in Oregon, the very first Pig n’ Ford race was held over ninety years ago and has since risen to become incredibly popular in the area, filling the Averill Arena where the fair is held to capacity.

As the story goes, the race was started by two local farmers who were chasing a runaway pig in their old Ford car. Having decided that it was so much fun, they decided to create a race at the next county fair, which has lasted ever since.

Racers use old Ford cars, which are stripped of all unnecessary parts, but vitally left with the stock engine, and line up on the side of the horse track at the Arena.

Drivers must run around for one lap, pig up a live pig before hopping in their cars and driving for another lap. Picking up more pigs along the way, the racer who completes a full three laps without dropping their pigs first is named the winner.

Membership and participation is often a lifelong affair, with cars often passed down through families for generations. In fact, some of the original Model T cars that first ran in the first races in 1925 are incredibly still on the track today.

We don’t sell any Model Ts and we definitely don’t sell any Donks, but we’d still like to think that our range of new and used cars is pretty extensive.

If you’re in the market for a new car, whether it’s a Vauxhall to stick a body kit on or even a Ford to race with your pigs in, why not take a look at our website to see what we have available?

Also, if you’re a driver who’s looking to modify their car or to get some spare or aftermarket parts, our dealerships offer a huge variety of spares, plus servicing and bodywork at highly affordable prices. For more information, why not get in touch with your local Perrys dealership today?