MIAMI — The bald and tattooed man known as Juice cruises South Florida in a car named Charlie Brown.
Not just any car: a 1974 Chevrolet Caprice Classic convertible in metallic golden brown with 24-inch, 24-karat gold rims that run $30,000, a custom gold plate that reads “Ch4rlie” and an all-leather tan interior kept so pristine that he does not allow just anyone inside. When the rapper Pitbull featured Charlie Brown in a music video, Juice forbade the lightly dressed young women swaying in the back from wearing shoes.
“My car is like my baby,” he explained.
Charlie Brown is a “donk,” a customized 1970s Chevy high-riser with large wheels, the kind of big, flashy hulk that three decades ago became Miami’s contribution to American car culture and then spread to other cities in the South. Since then, the world of souped-up cars, luxury cars and collector cars has only flourished.
Some of that culture will be on display this weekend, when South Florida hosts a new Formula 1 Grand Prix, the sort of buzzy sporting event that makes Miami Miami. Formula 1, which commands a vast international audience, is seeking to capitalize on its growing U.S. popularity, fueled in part by the success of the Netflix show “Drive to Survive,” as NASCAR’s television ratings have been in decline.
rode in a replica black Ferrari Daytona Spyder to the sound of Phil Collins’s “In the Air Tonight.” (Ferrari sued, then had a change of heart and donated Crockett’s white Ferrari Testarossa.)
had wanted to race downtown, between Biscayne Bay and the gleaming Miami skyline. Instead, they constructed a faux marina for dry-docked boats in a part of the venue named the “Yacht Club.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Mr. Shapiro said.
Four-ticket packages there sold for $38,000.
Florida likes to build highways, despite the state’s vulnerability to climate change, and ordinary Miamians, with limited public transportation options, spend long hours in their cars. A defunct local blog was aptly named “Stuck on the Palmetto,” a reference to the perennially backed up State Road 826.
“Cars are endemic here,” said Justin Landau, the co-chief executive of El Car Wash, a chain of express carwashes that offers unlimited washes for $29.99 per month. One of its banners reads, “Rain doesn’t clean cars.”