The Cars That Go BOOM: What happens when you send a chick who can't drive to the testosterone-soaked world of the car cruise?


words: Lisa Payne
image: Ytje

I hit 2000 RPM, then hit the nitrous, and immediately I could hear it pinking so I backed off the throttle and cruised back to the garage…

...or perhaps I would have if I could drive, or even understand what that meant. OK - I understand pinking (where fuel is detonating in the cylinder and damaging the engine) - but only thanks to my friend Chris, 21-year-old boy racer extraordinaire - who is both kind and patient with me.

Ok, rewind. What we decided to do is take the non-driving daughter of a famous racing driver from the 1960s (me - the daughter, not the racing driver, natch) and send her to the Milton Keynes Cruise to, er, look at cars and tell us what she thought.


Mitzubishi / Suzuki / BMW / 1, 2, 3!

I’ve got a whole dance worked out to that Miss Kittin track and boy do I love it, but compare it to doing 100mph on a stretch of Milton Keynes road at night with the stereo blasting, bass vibrating the car, the inside of my nose, my eyelashes and more besides, watching the lights flash past in the distance, well…

'110dbl of spl - whatever that means'

Apparently Chris has spent enough money on his sound system that it will produce 110dbl of spl – whatever the fuck that means. Needless to say: sit in his car, get him to put on the sound system, look at the pictures on the front of his stereo (it has digital images on a tiny screen!) and do your Kegels, and laydees, are you in for some fun! In fact, I think you could even forgo your oral pleasures for a bit of the aural. At least once a week anyway.

The Milton Keynes Cruise takes place every Sunday evening in the car park of the National Hockey Stadium in Milton Keynes. First you must ignore a family of metal statues going to play hockey ('A fun sport for the whole family') - a sculpture of a chavvy family who look like they're going to beat the crap out of you.

Then you must drag your senses away from the fact that there’s so much testosterone in the air that if it hadn’t been for the contraceptive implant in my arm I probably could have got impregnated just breathing. Once you've done all that, then you're in for some fun. I took it as a good sign when the first car I saw on entering MK had a number plate ending in VAO.

'Bubble machines, neon lights, internal parts'

Loads of the cars have neon lights under them: blue, green or red. Some of the lights flash in time to the music thumping out from the stereos. Boots are opened to expose giant speakers, sometimes with visuals, and in one car boot, a bubble machine.

Bonnets are raised to show shiny chrome engine parts; panels are permanently removed to show you more of the car's internal parts. Cars are on display everywhere, their owners proudly prising them open and revealing their insides, splaying them apart: some like reluctant virgins, others, out-and-out hoes.

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