Love them or hate them, the days of the pop-and-bang map could be numbered. Not too often heard from the back of modified Ford Fiesta STs or VW Golf Rs, just to call out a few, a landmark case has seen a tuning firm fined for selling the kits.
Described by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) as “the first case of its kind”, AET Motorsport, based in Wakefield, was convicted for “fitting an unsuitable vehicle part to a vehicle which would make it illegal to be used on the road”. More specifically, the DVSA says “carried out alterations to a car to remove the catalytic converter and applied modified software to the engine control unit to increase noise levels”.
In other words, de-catting the exhaust system and replacing the cat with a link pipe - which would be an automatic MOT failure - in addition to an ECU remap. The latter creates the distinctive ‘pop-and-bang’ by reducing fuel cut-off on overrun, though taking the noise levels above the legal limit. In fines and other costs, AET Motorsport was ordered to pay a total of £7,234.
Though the case remains a one-off for now, it could spell the end for the aftermarket pop-and-bang map with a legal precedent that would likely make similar future cases cut and dry. This won’t affect OEM crackles, as you may find on cars like the Hyundai i30 N or Mercedes-AMG A45 for example, as they’ve gone through approval before going to market.
Christopher Dormand, head of the DVSA’s Market Surveillance Unit, said: “DVSA’s Market Surveillance Unit ensures vehicles, vehicle parts and vehicle accessories sold in the UK meet required specifications and are safe for people to buy. This investigation shows DVSA takes this activity seriously and we will continue to take strong action on offenders”.