VIDEO: Car cruising in Mansfield, where there’s no boys and no racers...

Boy racers...it’s a term that’s akin with anti-social behaviour. Teenagers in cheap cars causing a nuisance.

But for some it’s an outdated theory, let alone an outdated title.

Steve and Tracy Parkin of Sheffield with their Mitsubishi GTO.

Steve and Tracy Parkin of Sheffield with their Mitsubishi GTO.

There are some out there who are not racers, and certainly not boys.

This is car cruising, and enthusiasts can spend tens of thousands of pounds on ordinary cars, from installing completely new engines to customised sound systems, expensive wheels and body kits.

Huge numbers of both men and women, some in their 60s, are proudly part of the scene, which simply involves meeting up to admire and discuss each other’s vehicles.

After police in Mansfield issued a recent warning about the dangers of modifying vehicles and a minority of drivers causing problems, cruisers understandably want their own say.

Chris Miller, a 47-year-old salesman from Huthwaite, has been into the scene for more than 20 years.

In simple terms, he says it’s about ‘blinging’ cars to make them stand out - which he compares to the 1960s mod scene with mirror-clad Vespa scooters - and is not about dangerous driving or anti-social behaviour.

The self-confessed “petrol head” said: “It’s about the individuality of it and the image that’s important, it’s standing out from the crowd.

“We always go to car shows and meets, but it always gets bad press. It’s always been a big issue.

“It’s the image of the boy racer that’s the problem, it was the Vauxhall Corsa brigade who would thrash their cars around.

“There’s still that element, you will get the odd idiot who revs up his exhaust and spins the car around and you are never going to stop that.”

For some it has become a family event.

Paul Marriott, 41, often takes his 10-year-old son to meets in their modified £25,000 Mev Rocket - a kit car manufactured in Mansfield.

He said: “We don’t want an environment where there are fights breaking out, 99 per cent just want to turn up, hassle free, look at each other’s cars and talk.

“I encourage everyone to bring their kids along.”

Members of the scene say they are often demonised simply for gathering, usually in supermarket car parks which are the only areas large enough to congregate.

Sainsbury’s in Mansfield has become a known spot, and complaints from members of the public has led to persistent police intervention.

Layla Moore, 25, from Blidworth, who drives a modified Subaru Impreza named ‘CJ’, added: “Admittedly there are kids that hang around and act like idiots and that gives us all a bad name.

“I’ve been coming here (Sainsbury’s car park) since before I could drive, and it’s understandable if there’s a lot of noise but we just come here to socialise and chat, to look at each other’s cars.

“Sometimes the police can be okay, but they have really started to crack down lately.”

For others, it’s just the look of their car that can attract unwanted attention.

Steve Parkin, 57, drives a Mitsubishi GTO on which has spent more than £40,000 in modifications and named the ‘Hulk’.

“I have been pulled over many, many times, and they always let me off,” he said.

“It’s because they don’t know what it is, and you can see them looking at it. You sometimes feel like they’re looking for something that they can get you on.”

Chris Miller added: “When one sees a car that has been modified, they will be pulled again and again.

“These cares are fully insured and street legal.

“What these people do to their cars, if it’s done right, is making them safer, not making them worse.

“People are always saying that people are gathering and causing mischief, and that comes back to the boy racer, but that is not the modified car scene.”

So what are the options for cruisers if supermarket car parks become out of bounds?

Official gatherings are now common place, where thousands of modified-car owners can pay and entry fee to attend to meet with like-minded people - like a music festival for car owners - that are often family-orientated. Catering and entertainment are on offer, and away from the gaze of the worried public or police.

Chris Miller is in talks to organise a new show for next year, possibly at Newark or Donington.

He said: “It’s for Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands and is a legal event with some massive names that could be coming. We’re looking to create a massive fun day for everybody, for families, with plenty of stuff going on. “I have started putting the word out there and have had hundreds of people come to us.”