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German Police And American Car Culture Don't Mix, U.S. Military Remarks

The Ramstein Air Force base in Germany is home to many Americans in the military and the USAF, and a significant number of them are petrolheads.
2015 Dodge Challenger SRT 1 photo
Unfortunately for them, importing their cars from the USA or applying the “American style” of tuning on German soil has not worked out so well for some service persons. Apparently, the local police force has been applying fines to those who drove cars that had modifications that are not allowed by German law.

While it is easy to understand the frustration of someone who invests over $20,000 in a car that he or she bought for $30,000, but keeps getting fines from police officers, you must also look at the law enforcement’s point of view.

A story in Stars and Stripes magazine told the tale of American service personnel stationed at the base that is near the town of Kaiserslautern, Germany. Several hundred people from the base frequently gather in public places to enjoy their hobby and passion for cars.
It all seems like something normal, like a Cars And Coffee meet, but all of those vehicles are modified, which attracts the attention of local law enforcement. Police officers have fined the Americans for mods that were not legal in the country, which range from tinting tail lights red or dark with paint, loud exhausts, and tinted windows.

German legislation is known for its strict restrictions on modifications for a vehicle, and earning the TUV-approved badge for aftermarket components is a reason of pride for many new companies in the field.

The clash between law enforcement and American service personnel happens because the latter group has not taken the time to adapt their cars to the local legislation.

Some of them even fit stock components to pass the country’s strict technical inspection, and then turn back to the modified parts for day-to-day driving. You can imagine that the police officers have caught up with this, which lead to a long article in the magazine about the situation.

Evidently, some misunderstandings have slipped through, which include the driver of a Dodge, presumably a one of the SRT variety, who has been pulled over several times to explain the vents in his hood. One each of the three occasions, the soldier had to show stock images of the car on his smartphone to prove that it was a stock vehicle, thus avoiding a ticket.


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