Car Culture has been around for as long as cars have been around. Today, though, car culture is varied and can be categorized into many specific groups of vehicles and people. Some of it relates to the area that a person may live. Still, a lot of it has to do with what a person finds attractive or beautiful in their eye, and many people share that same thing as engaging or exciting, creating a culture surrounding the car, cars from a specific country of origin, or type of car. Some of these groups include pickup trucks, german cars, American muscle cars, Italian cars, hatchbacks, sedans, European sedans, and the list goes on. I love the german super vehicles like the BMW M line of cars, especially from the early 2000s and late '90s.
The first culture I'll dive into is the pickup truck culture, which I don't care for, but it is such a popular area of car culture that it has to be mentioned. Stock pickup trucks are relatively useful vehicles that are just meant for hauling heavy loads of things and towing. Still, the people surrounding this culture lift their trucks to make them look like they're the king of the road. Also, they may make the stance or width of the wheelbase as wide as a dually and put expensive, giant rims with tires that have way less sidewall than stock. Although all these things may look cool, they are the least efficient cars in car culture. All these modifications don't do anything for the truck functionally; all it does is tank the gas mileage (if it didn't need to be any lower than it already is on a pickup truck). The Deisel engine is a prevalent engine choice for truck guys, so one popular activity, that's done after a little bit of modification, is rolling coal. Rolling coal is making plumes of smoke come out of the exhaust. I don't know the purpose of this, but the people involved in the culture probably think that it looks cool. With all that said, I do still respect truck culture a lot.
|A heavily modified truck|
|A truck rolling coal|
The next culture I will talk about is the Japanese car culture. Although it was present for as long as Japanese cars have been around, The Fast and the Furious movie franchise, starting in the early 2000s, sparked the culture to what it is today. Some of the vehicles in the movies were an R34 Nissan Skyline GTR, a Honda S2000, a couple of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions, many Honda Civic coupes, and many more Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) vehicles. Most of, if not all, JDM cars come with six-cylinder engines or less, and most of the smaller ones come with four cylinders. Some of the most popular modifications that people in this car culture do are lowering the cars as much as possible, putting giant rims and wide tires on the vehicle, straight piping (removing the catalytic converter), and putting turbochargers on the engine. These modifications are not necessarily the smartest thing to do, like lowering the car all the way (they can't even go over a pothole). Still, many of the engines put into the car were almost bulletproof. In 1989, Japan agreed with automakers that they would limit their horsepower to only 276 horsepower. Some automakers complied, but many just lied to the government about how much power was in their vehicles and put more power in anyways. The Toyota Supra was one of the best examples of this. According to Toyota, the MK4 Supra's stock turbocharged 2JZ turbo engine made around the gentleman's agreement number, but it made 320 horsepower. There are many Japanese cars from the '90s like the supra that look stunning with elegant lines. Some of them include the Nissan 300ZX, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Nissan GTR, Honda/Acura NSX, and the Mazda RX-7. All of these elements and more encompass the JDM car culture.
|A lowered Japanese car|
|An R34 Nissan Skyline GTR|
The American muscle and hot rod culture is one of the most popular car cultures in the world today and includes decades of Fords, Dodges, and Chevrolets spanning almost a century. The hot rod and '60s-'70s muscle car culture are most popular among people who are around 60 and older since these cars were the dream cars of their childhood. The muscle cars of that era had engines that were pretty powerful in a body and chassis that were light (not as light as modern vehicles can be). This combination means that the power to weight ratio was much higher, creating straight-line performance that would smoke any other car around it. Today, though, people have modified and increased the power to weight ratio even more. They have swapped their old carbureted engines with more modern V10's, most popularly sourced from the Dodge Viper, and V8's, most popularly sourced from the Chevy LS line of engines that come in the Corvette and Camaro. There are examples of almost any engine swap for a muscle car out there. Just type in the engine and car into Google, and there will most likely be an example of it, albeit it may be a rough one. The most popular activity that the American muscle and hot rod crowd participate in is drag racing. Some of the fastest drag cars come straight out of the factory without any modifications required, like the Dodge Demon and the Ford Mustang GT500. The Dodge Demon even comes with a set of Drag tires for the back and skinny tires for the front so that it could go as fast as possible with the least resistance.
|A Chevrolet Camaro on the drag strip|
|A group of muscle cars|
German car culture is varied and complicated because it encompasses a wide variety of vehicles. Most of the culture comes from people that just love German cars, either for their practicality or their outstanding and somewhat complicated build quality. Some of the most well-known manufacturers from Germany include Mercedes-Benz (AMG included), BMW (Alpina included), and Porsche. These automakers love to squeeze potent engines into their cars to create a performance version of their regular vehicle. Although many automakers do this, German automakers create high-performance versions out of almost their entire lineup. For instance, BMW has a high-performance version of its compact commuter sedan, the 3 Series, called the M3, a high-performance version of some of their crossovers, the X3, X5, and X6. Porsche only makes high-performance vehicles, but their cars all have the option for a higher performance trim level. Mercedez-Benz owns the AMG, which modifies and improves the performance of regular Mercedes-Benz cars. Usually, AMG throws a big turbocharged V8 into whichever car they are modifying. More often than not, people in the German car culture like to have their vehicles neater and less extreme, but as always, there will be those who will modify their cars to be more exciting and outrageous.
|An E46 BMW M3|
|Two Porsche 911s and a Mercedes AMG GT-R|
|The BMW M5 that beat the United States coast to coast record in 2006|
There are a lot more car cultures, but there are too many to name. These are the most popular ones out there, and many tend to overlap and intertwine in racing and collecting. Some that I did not mention include vintage car collectors and luxury car connoisseurs. Although there are so many cultures, a person does not have to be tied to one specific culture, as most car people tend to be attracted to a variety of cultures.