Ricer Car – Meaning, Origin and Usage

If you’re a self-confessed petrol head, you may have come across the phrase ‘Ricer car’. Sadly with this phrase however, it’s not self-explanatory. So you’re unlikely to know what it refers to when you first hear it.

If that describes you, don’t worry – you’ve come to the right place. Here, I’m going to unpack everything you need to know about the phrase, and probably a few things you don’t need to know as well, for good measure.

I’ll kick things off with the meaning of ‘Ricer car’ before delving into how the term originally came about. I’ll give you plenty of examples of the phrase in use, and throw in a few alternative phrases. I’ll also include a section on how to ensure that you don’t use the phrase incorrectly. Here goes…

What is the Meaning of the phrase ‘Ricer Car’?

The phrase ‘Ricer car’ refers to a Japanese car which has had so many external modifications done to it that it looks ridiculous. 

The term ‘Ricer car’ initially only applied to modified JDM vehicles, where JDM is an acronym for Japanese Domestic Market. This refers to cars made for the Japanese public, which have become something of a cult classic over the years. Popular manufacturers of JDM vehicles include the likes of Honda, Mitsubishi, and Subaru.

For further clarification, a typical ricer car will have over-the-top cosmetic modifications that don’t actually help the car’s performance. They might make the car look more sporty but that’s about it. 

Examples of such cosmetic modifications to a ricer car include the likes of big spoilers, big 4 inch wide exhaust tips, LED lighting, a custom paint job, huge wheels, neon elements, fenders, and more.

The term ‘ricer car’ later expanded to cover any east Asian vehicle.

What is the Origin of the phrase ‘Ricer Car’?

The phrase ‘ricer car’ came about among the street racing community, and it is used in a mocking, derogatory way, making fun of the owner of the ricer car in question. No one is 100 percent sure when the phrase first originated, but I can confirm that it was used a lot around the time of the film ‘The Fast and the Furious’, starring actor Vin Diesel.

There are those who say that the term ‘ricer car’ is partly derived from the acronym RICE, which stands for ‘race inspired cosmetic enhancements’. But there are also those who argue that the phrase is derived from the combination of the words ‘rich’ and ‘racer’. This is thought to be because you have to be reasonably wealthy to be able to afford lots of unnecessary cosmetic modifications on your vehicle.

Ricer cars can be found all over the world, but in the US they are most common on the West Coast. 

How do you use the phrase ‘Ricer Car’?

To ensure that you use the phrase ‘Ricer car’ correctly, be sure to only apply the phrase to overly modified Japanese cars. Don’t use it to refer to someone who loves street racing.

Here are some examples of the phrase ‘ricer car’ in use:

‘Ha ha – just look at that ricer car! Ha ha ha!’

‘Oh my God, that ricer car looks ridiculous!

‘Actually, I quite like the look of that ricer car.’

‘Now, there’s a ricer car if ever I saw one!’

‘That ricer car is absolutely hilarious – I can’t stop laughing!’

‘What the hell is that? Talk about a ricer car – it’s ridiculous!’

‘That ricer car is comical. I wouldn’t be seen dead in one of them.’

‘Flipping hell, is that a ricer car or a spaceship?’

‘Can’t wait to see all the ricer cars tonight at the race!’

‘It might be a ricer car, but it’s my baby and I love it. All eyes on me when I’m behind the wheel.’

What are some other ways of saying ‘Ricer Car’? 

The phrase ‘Ricer car’ is not generally considered to be racist. However, if you are concerned about this, you could always use alternative words and phrases instead.

Here are some alternative words and phrases that you can use in place of ‘Ricer car’:

  • ‘Rice burner’
  • ‘Rice car’
  • ‘Modified car’
  • ‘Overly modified car’
  • ‘Souped up Japanese car’
  • ‘Overly customised car’
  • ‘POS’
  • ‘Ricer rocket’

Final Thoughts

So, to summarise, the phrase ‘Ricer car’ originated for the street race community, and it is mostly used to mock the owners of East Asian vehicles with over-the-top cosmetic modifications.

The precise initial use of the term is still subject to much debate, but I can confirm that the phrase gained popularity during the release of the film ‘The fast and the furious’.

If you are concerned that someone may take offence at the term ‘Ricer car’ then you may choose to use an alternative from the list you saw earlier.