Modified cars: Art or road hazard?

Modified cars: Art or road hazard?

Modified cars: Art or road hazard?
Modified cars: Art or road hazard?

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Saudis love their cars and one has to look no further than the countless modified cars on the streets to see this. Car owners pour in serious money into their eye-catching and extravagant modifications, which they see as a means of expressing themselves artistically.

However, from the more practical side, traffic police have a strong distaste for such modifications, which they see as a road hazard and as a result, actively fight car owners who take modified cars onto the streets, Al-Riyadh daily reports on the ongoing battle between car enthusiasts and Saudi cops.

Modification types vary from boosting engine horsepower, to decorating car chassis with intricate designs to completely changing the operating mechanisms of doors. However, regardless of the type of modification, the Traffic Department imposes fines on anyone who does not comply with its rules and impounds any car that has been modified in a way that violates traffic laws and or is deemed a road hazard.

A hobby

Ammar Al-Amer, a young Saudi car enthusiast, loves to get creative with his collection of cars and spends a lot of money on modifying them. He belongs to a group of young men who share a mutual passion for modifying their cars.

“We are a group of 40 young men who share the same hobby. Some members of the group are doctors, engineers and even college students. We usually get together at one of the popular areas in Riyadh on a weekly basis to show off our modified cars,” he said, noting that it can cost up to SR50,000 to have a car modified.

Al-Amer said traffic police constantly harasses and fines members of the group even though they don’t violate any traffic rules. Their only fault, according to him, is that they have personalized the features of their vehicles according to their preferences and changed the vehicle appearance slightly.

In his opinion, traffic officers do not understand nor appreciate how much young men like him spend on their cars.

“We do not hurt or bother anyone. We do not travel fast on roads because we have not tampered with the speedometers of our cars as we know doing so is against the traffic rules. We just love this hobby,” he said.

Al-Amer questioned why the Traffic Department does not issue permits for modifying cars and set regulations to ensure the safety and security of car owners and road users.

Expressing creativity

Wafi Al-Shammary spends between SR800 and SR1,000 a month on accessorizing his car. The price of rims alone can reach up SR15,000 and many young men replace them to give their car a sportier look.

“I buy a new accessory every month to modify my car. Breathing some new life into your ride and making it look better requires a lot of creativity, and of course, money as well. You need to be innovative and try not to imitate others but introduce your changes to transform your car in a way that attracts others’ attention,” he said.

Saeed Al-Abdullah says the majority of young men who modify their cars or have them modified do it to show off. Some of his friends who bought cars for SR60,000 and spent an additional SR40,000 on having them modified.

“Those who want to keep up with the latest craze in the world of modified cars, do not hesitate to put down serious money to transform their cars into masterpieces. It’s an art, I wish the authorities would see it from our perspective,” he said.