By Anthony Scott
Killeen Daily Herald
A number of Crown Victorias roam the streets of Killeen, but they aren't all police cars.
All across the city, residents with colorfully painted, well-stocked Crown Vics are out on the roads.
Whether it's a glossy paint job, a sound system that shakes surrounding vehicles while sitting at a red light or a nice engine, they're out there.
And in Killeen, they're organized.
The Crown Vic Boys of Texas is a growing club in the area, and represents just some of the local Crown Vic enthusiasts. The group started as four guys with similar cars hanging out, but has become a sensation, with about 15 chapters of the club popping up across the country since its inception in Atlanta.
"When we got to a point we felt like we were established, we felt like it was time to give back instead of us just riding around all day doing nothing," said Killeen's club president DeAndre Williams, 34.
The group began attending community events such as Killeen's annual Veterans Day and Christmas parades and participating in food drives.
Williams said membership in the Crown Vic Boys is available to anyone who owns a Crown Vic, Grand Marquis or a Marauder. The group has been around since July 2009 and has about 30 members, garnering more prospects every day. The club is similar to a biker club in some regard, though it's all cars.
"The only car club really large and really known is Rough Riders, and they're a motorcycle-slash-car club," Williams said. "They're known everywhere. Almost to that point around here, we're known everywhere. That was just amazing. I'm not used to that. It's like everything we do, it gets out."
The members range from young to old, and include both sexes. The Texas chapter's youngest member is 17-year-old Corey Fuller.
"For him to be as young as he is and have the vision of what he's got going on with his car, it's crazy, because most kids don't," Williams said. "His car looks good. When I was 17, I had a bucket. A pure bucket."
Fuller said the Crown Vic is his first car. While it is a stock white on the outside, his car stands out by towering above the other club members' vehicles with a 10-inch lift and 24-inch rims.
"It was on the side of the road on sale," Fuller said. "I've seen everybody, the Crown Vic Boys, and I wanted to be one. So that's just what I aspired to be."
Williams said the members tend to put their personality in the car.
"I've always been taller than everybody in school and that's how the car is," said Fuller, who is planning to lift his car higher to a 17-inch lift. "You know, get it higher than it is now, that's what I try to do with it."
Williams said his personality can be seen in his Crown Vic in a more subtle way, with its baby blue coating.
"Mine is a really, really light blue," he said. "Almost powder blue. I'm from North Carolina."
In Carolina, the two sports teams he likes share the same color: the Tar Heels and the Panthers. The connection reminds him of his roots.
The customized cars and personalities on display can be found throughout Killeen, in driveways and at dealerships. Many of the Crown Vics driving around Killeen are former police cars, with fast engines and high mileage.
So far, the police and the Crown Vic Boys have gotten along, having a similar bond with their vehicles, Williams said.
"As long as we're not doing anything stupid, they're cool with us," he said. "My car was broken into and the officer that came to the house to take the report had seen me during the parade and said, 'Aw, man, where's big blue? What's goin' on? Why isn't it here?' He actually got upset."
The patience and reception from the police who smile, wave and sometimes take pictures of the decked out Crown Vics has been surprising, Williams said.
"When we first got started, we were a young-minded car club and they would come up, and I wouldn't say they wouldn't ticket us, but they would basically explain it and say, step-by-step, you can't do this," Williams said. "As far as them, for awhile I used to think they actually watched us ... but it turned out it's not like that at all. They show a lot of love.
"During the parade I was actually expecting one of them to be like, 'turn it down, turn it down,' but we passed one of them and he was like, 'turn it up! Turn it up!'"
Contact Anthony Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568.
Follow him on Twitter at KDHcity.