Is it time for ‘the scene’ to get reappraised?

Cars Culture

Deep within the modified vehicle scene, there's frustration brewing...

If you’ve ever been to a modified car show, you’ll have heard the term ‘scene’.

Don’t know what I mean? Well, allow me to explain. The term ‘scene’ is used to describe the community that makes up those in attendance. I’m unsure as to when the term was first introduced. All I do know is, I’d like to go back and kill it with fire!


The term ‘scene’ is often used in a derogatory way toward (I would say) the majority of people that make it up. It represents a community that is now often at loggerheads, or in constant competition with one another. I’m 30 (turned this year) and I don’t remember it always being the way it is now. Now, I’m not naive enough to think there wasn’t any competition or bitchiness, but it seems like it used to be so much more relaxed and more about the cars; not who can have the most expensive financed whip, with financed wheels and financed air ride. Nowadays, a show car is just that; car, wheels and air. Yes, some look good – very good, indeed – but what about those cars that have been built from the ground up, with blood, sweat and tears, not to get any recognition, because what’s been done isn’t necessarily in fashion right now, or they aren’t far enough up the event organiser’s a*se.


I love modified cars. The imagination of normal people often surpasses those of the manufacturer’s design departments. It’s incredible what can be done to new cars, as well as the classic models that’re being restored and preserved. However, I feel that the ‘scene’ needs a wake-up call. The newbies need a shake, the purists need a slap and the chavs need a swift elbow to the ribs. Ok, maybe not that extreme, but they do need to be reminded that this scene was once made up of car lovers; not just people competing for prizes or Instagram fame. A little competition is healthy, we know, but when building a car becomes about someone else or what’s popular, that’s where it all falls apart. The newbies have come into a time where it’s easier than ever to finance a whip – and why not?! I have no qualms with finance. Finance is simply a way of allowing people to get things quicker. They still pay their bills, like anyone else (or at least you hope). However, they’ve not experienced what it feels like to have a complete sh*tter as a first car, but be totally in love with it because it’s just that; your first car.


Back in my day – wow, I’m now old enough to pull that phrase off – the car scene or culture was a bunch of mates gathering in a car park (usually McDonalds) chatting about their cars. No, that doesn’t make me a chav. It just shows I shared the same interest as the other people there. I know there are some people that ruin the car community – and this will always be the case, good and bad in every race and all that – they’ll rev up their cars when there’s simply no need, they’ll do donuts on the car park of a show event, often ruining it for the rest of us because the show organisers then get in trouble and end up being banned from holding another event – but that’s the nature of the beast. Much like when you go to a rock gig to enjoy the music and there are moshers at the front determined to break a bone or two (either their own or someone else’s). However, there are a lot of good people in this so-called ‘scene’, too. I’ve truly met some incredible people along the way, and I’ve done my very best to hold onto those friendships. Friends who lend you spacers before a show because your wheels look rubbish otherwise. I’m talking like two days before you’re due to travel and they post them out for you via special delivery – huge shout out to Indy Virk! As well as those friends that will help to sort you out when you’ve broken down, no matter how far away you are. The power of social media is also an incredible thing – something that has grown and grown in recent years. Let me give you just one example; one example of the car community really working together. A good friend of mine had her modified Volkswagen Up! stolen a few months ago and her Facebook post went viral! People she didn’t even know were sharing her post to help find her car. That is where this community is something very special, but why does a bad thing have to happen for people to pull together?


All we are, are a bunch of people that share the same passion. Get off your high horses and treat one another as equals – you’re all passionate about cars – some may have more money than others, but does that really matter?! It’s just nice to talk about the same thing with people you don’t know, right?

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I wish things were a little more like they used to be. Normal people talking about their cars. Whether that be a statically lowered 1.2 Renault Clio or an R32 Nissan Skyline… yes, we’d probably prefer to see the R32 Skyline, but it’s about chatting to the people behind the cars and enjoying the hobby we all share.


Thanks to RollHard for the pictures


4 Responses to “Is it time for ‘the scene’ to get reappraised?”

  1. Keal Doyle

    I must say I kind of disagree, I don’t think the writer has distinguished the difference between a car show and a car meet, he says back in the days it was all about meeting in a car park at night with friends, however car shows were around then as well. Personally I’ve grown out of hanging at tescos with my mates looking at cars in the cold and dark while people are smoking weed. I have a job, family and life and prefer to spend a weekend at an organised event “show” where I can legally be and actually see the cars, talk to friends from all over the country and have the sun beating down on me.

    I also don’t agree that scene is derogatory, people also use it as a good term. Plus not all show winning cars are just financed, on air with nice wheels, a lot do actually put more time (or usually money and pay someone else) onto interior design, leather, audio, seat changes, exterior diffusers and splitters, carbon fibre. Even getting that stance just right even on air still takes effort, getting the arches rolled well or bigger arches sometimes for extremes it needs bodywork doing like chassis notches, raised top mounts etc. Also engine bays are getting tidier, cleaner etc which all takes work.

    I wouldn’t say the scene is fake, or gone stale, I just think it has reached a peak of what can be done, new tech has slowed down.

    I do still however feel it’s very much a “who you know” kind of scene though, and how much money you can pay for someone else to do the work. People don’t get the appreciation for fixing older vehicles by themselves or with friends, it’s more about the new model cars, as soon as a new model is released people leap onto the bandwagon to be the first person to modify it and claim the glory of being creative, but they’re not.

    Personally I would hate to go backwards to the fast and furious/need for speed style modifying with oversized useless bumpers and body kits, spoilers that cause more drag and weight than performance, neon light strips, flame kits, and pimp my ride style interiors.

    I like the clean look the cars are getting these days. I do also like the rat scene as that is where the ingenuity is these days, crazy but still cool ideas (as well as some really daft ones).

  2. Hannah Simons

    That’s what our group is about meeting up to look at the cars have a chat go for a drive have coffee we even bring our children along B00ST3D L1FE is all about the cars we don’t tolerate bullying or taking the mick out of other people’s rides it don’t matter what you drive as long as it moves we have regular meets right through the year and we can be found on Facebook just type in B00ST3D L1FE why not come and join our next meet

  3. Gregg Brodka

    Hello Danni. Thanks for your thoughts. I agree with you that conversation should be started. I do not think that financing this or that is where the issue is. I do believe the issue with the “scene” is that people who receive the awards have done nothing but air, wheels and maybe a body mod. I think the issue is that the people, magazines and others, do not recognize the kid who is working hard on his ride. I believe the power leis in hands of those who hand out the rewards to change what “scene” has become. Thanks for starting the discussion Mate.

  4. David Morrell

    One of the biggest killers for anyone wanting to modify a car is getting insurance for it. I know from experience how it can put up premiums. Many insurers refuse to insure any modified cars, period.
    How about Adrian Flux writing an article on car modifications in general? Outline what is acceptable and what isn’t …. engine/gearbox / suspension mods / tyres / bodywork etc.
    I have an old Rangerover that I have modified for offroad use. There is a very big following for modified Landrover Defenders.