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Rainy City People: The new faces of Manchester and the North West
The modified scene is changing. And Midnight Lancs is front and centre of the revolution.
The Face of Mod is changing: Misha Rogers of Midnight Lancs
It’s a quiet Tuesday evening in a craft ale house in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. We’re sitting down with Misha, Korey, Lewis and Joe – four of the Midnight Lancs crew – the car community based around Lancashire and Greater Manchester challenging stereotypes.
“We are a car club with a difference,” says 26-year-old Misha Rogers, Chorley-based co-founder of Midnight Lancs.
“We wanted to create a space that was accepting for all sorts of people. We wanted to avoid all the usual cliches and stigmas that sometimes come with mainstream car culture.”
There is an honesty about Misha and the crew — a disarming earnestness — not the type of feeling usually found within the modified car scene. It’s obvious straight away that this is a car club built on friendship, trust and acceptance of difference.
“We are all passionate about cars and rebuilding them so that they can express something about who we are,” Misha continues.
“Here in Lancashire and the Greater Manchester area, there’s loads of driving to be done between all the various cities – and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of like minds. Our community should be for everybody!”
Misha fuels up her Toyota Celica Sport.
The crew came together in the second part of lockdown. It was simply a way to connect. Two years later and their socials are popping – and they’ve become a vibrant part of the modified scene in the North West.
“Over lockdown there were a lot of people taking a lot more interest in modifying their cars, because they had a bit more free time,” Misha explains.
“It introduced people to the car scene and opened things up for a lot of people. We were having car meets within the lockdown regulations – social distancing observed and all that – and were keeping them within numbers of 15. As soon as regulations were eased and we could meet up en masse, it all just exploded.”
Cleaner lines and subtle tweaks. Midnight Lancs’ look is understated(ish).
The nature of the modified car scene has waxed and waned over the years. In the 1990s it was a burgeoning, explosive scene saturated in the sound of happy hardcore. There were a clutch of print magazines that brought together an endless chronicle of car park cruises, slammed classics and (mostly) boisterous boys, where women appeared to be extensions, more or less, of the car-owners kit-bag. The language was an irreverent stew rendered in an unreconstructed tabloid aesthetic – resolutely Brit in tone and emphatically male.
But the world turns. Car culture has emerged these days with a refreshed attitude. If it’s becoming a space that’s more inclusive and more accepting of difference, then Midnight Lancs are front and centre of the process of change.
“When I actually did start to go to meets, it wasn’t a very welcoming place for a woman in a male-dominated community,” she says.
“Being a girl, and driving a very basic little car at the time, I wasn’t welcomed with very open arms. I saw a gap in the car scene and I understood how other people may feel as females, or people who were a little different, or that don’t have lots of money to spend on the car. I wanted to create a space where everyone felt included.”
Korey Bradley sees his BMW 1 Series as an extension of his personality.
The gap identified by Misha around accessibility to women also extends to the LGBTQ+ community. Korey Bradley, a 21-year-old from Leyland, is as proud and as full of personality as his BMW 1-series. For Korey, meeting up with Misha and the Midnight Lancs crew was a refreshing change.
“The first night we got together, we all parked our cars in that big circle and we all sat in the boots with a little BBQ in the middle, and with our blankets on. It was really good”, he says.
“It was just so accepting and different to the way that everyone else had been. As a gay man in the modified scene that wasn’t always my experience. It’s not the obvious space for someone like me, but I love cars and they mean so much to me. I just knew Midnight Lancs was something that I wanted to be part of. It feels like such a privilege to finally be somewhere and be accepted.”
Camo and Pink. Easy to spot and hidden in plain sight.
Korey’s immaculate and er, subtly tweaked 1 Series, reflects who he is and the values of the crew pretty perfectly.
“I went for the pink and camo because I didn’t think anyone else would be brave enough to do it!” he laughs.
“Most people are in their cars every day, so why not treat it the same way you treat your house? It is always good to turn some heads as you drive past too! I drive past pubs and stuff all the time and I have had whole beer gardens turn their heads and stare at my car.”
A bird’s eye view of Korey’s BMW.
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