UD often wonders: What dey do down dere? Legislation-wise, I mean. What matters so much as to engage the attention of their legislators and be enshrined into law?

Well all you gotta do is follow North Carolina’s massively covered squat story to know the heartbeat of America, southern-style.

So a big thing to do down there is modify your ginormous pickup by stickin’ the front up high and the back down low, so that… heck I don’t know why you do it. Cain’t see the road. Blind oncoming drivers. Run a much higher chance of tipping over. Lots of other stuff. It’s just a thang you do when you tryin’ to be bad.

Last June a bill prohibiting truck squatting passed the NC House — up in my headline, you see Rep. Willis’s poignant plea that the Jeep be spared onaccounta he likes Jeeps — and then it passed the Senate and today the governor signed the thing, which means, uh, squat cuz assholes who squat their trucks don’t fuck with laws.

There’s a powerful J’Accuse in Jalopnik, which I’ll excerpt here.

[M]any people seem to hate the Carolina Squat solely because of the way it looks. Check out all the bigoted comments on the Change.org petition that aims to outlaw the vehicle modification… I think it’s safe to say that few folks see a jacked up car and say: “I’m really concerned that that driver may not be able to see over the hood.” No, the criticism is usually one of simple disgust, and while I can’t assert with confidence that socioeconomic prejudices are at play with the general sentiments towards Carolina Squat trucks, I will say that anytime we notice scores of people hating something immediately upon learning about it or seeing it, we should all take a step back and try to improve our understanding… I’m just always a bit concerned when I see vitriol directed towards any misunderstood car subculture…

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10 Responses to “‘While there may be some bounce-back from certain auto enthusiasts, the North Carolina House passed the bill with a nearly unanimous … 107-5 vote, with little debate. However, Rep. David Willis belongs to a Jeep enthusiast group, and the Republican from Union County has requested that Jeeps be exempt from the rules.’”

  1. Chas S Clifton Says:

    So odd. I own a couple of Jeeps, although I’m not the kind of “enthusiast” who spends buckets on after-market stuff, and I have never seen a Jeep in the Rockies that was “squatted.”

    There is a new Jeep pickup, and I have seen these “lifted,” but straight up at both ends, if you follow.

    When she was in high school, my older sister used to hang around the greaer/hot-rodder guys, but they liked to raise the rear ends of their cars so that they prowled like playful puppies.

  2. Chas S. Clifton Says:

    “greaser”

  3. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Chas: I’m trying to picture the “playful puppies” thing!

  4. Chas S Clifton Says:

    You know, when a dog makes a “play bow”?

  5. Stephen Karlson Says:

    Car customizers use the expression “street legal” to refer to modifications that didn’t make the vehicle a moving violation. There are two such classes of modification, for racing, or for show. In both such classes, the modifications you really want to make are not modifications you’d take on the street, in the case of racers, for instance, the suspension and power train are likely to be too tender for those crumbling public roads, and in the case of show cars, the idea is that those are for showing, not driving. The hard core collectors tote ’em to the show in an enclosed trailer and might tow them off!

    There probably are pickup trucks modified for drag racing that can pop a wheelie, which might be what that squat is attempting to do. Apart from the large tires Chas. refers to, which would be of some value in the woods or afield, most of those modifications aren’t practical (squats, spinner rims on large wheels, very small wheels) outside the show arena. And yet we see them out on the streets, with the legal responses.

    Maybe there’s material for the culture studies types. “Out of the Garages and Into the Streets: Toxic Masculinity, Privilege, and the Semiotics of Aftermarket Modifications to Motor Vehicles.”

  6. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Stephen: Your cultural studies title had me laughing out loud. A subsequent paper, responding to, taking issue with, and building on yours: “Squat Sequelae: The Gendered Fender Bender and Postmodern Automotive Culture”

  7. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Chas: Yes! thanks. UD

  8. Stephen Karlson Says:

    UD, don’t tempt me to say something about women drivers. On the other hand, the girl worth the while CAN drive a stick!

    Chas, I recall an article years ago describing one of those raised-rear muscle cars as looking like a skunk ready to spray. The author saw some yobs in such a car who thought it would be great sport to run over a turtle crossing the road, that might have made his simile more pungent.

  9. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Stephen: My favorite bumper sticker, during the Gulf War: SUPPORT SAUDI ARABIA: KEEP WOMEN OFF THE ROAD

  10. Stephen Karlson Says:

    UD: Didn’t see that bumper sticker back in the day, there was one with something like “How is ‘Free Tibet’ Going?” I also saw two or three older-style sedans with the raised front ends in the squat style, heading into Marengo, Illinois, over the weekend. Not sure if that was some sort of organized cruise or just a few of the locals headed to a bar.

    Upon review of all the articles about the ban, it appears as though many of the trucks illustrated are for show. See through wheels with spinning rims are street-legal, but those lights in the wheels are not (particularly if they are flashing red and blue!) One of the articles also alludes to Woodward Avenue (in Detroit.) Gets me thinking that there might be a racial angle to banning that particular set of modifications.

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