With Birmingham topping the boy racers' league, Sarah Probert talks to one man who really loves his motors...

It is nicknamed 'The Beast' and to Brin Duley it is his pride and joy.

It may look innocent enough, but the Peugeot 205 GTI he has tinkered with and sweated over can pack a punch on the race track.

The salesman from Shirley is one of hundreds of men who devote their spare time to modifying cars.

According to a survey, Birmingham has driven to the top of the league when it comes to customising cars, with some motor-mad men spending #7,000 a year on their vehicles but only #500 on their girlfriends.

The city pipped Essex in the league table compiled by MTV UK, with Newcastle-upon-Tyne coming third.

Mr Duley may not have spent so much money on his latest project, but #1,500 has gone towards kitting out this innocent looking antique into a boy racer's dream.

"It is addictive. I have always loved cars and spend most of my time with them at weekends when my girlfriend is trying to get me to go shopping," he explained.

"The car is like a wolf in sheep's clothing, it looks like a nice runabout but if somebody pulls up next to you on the race track in some souped-up car, you can keep up with them."

It is not that the 23-year-old thinks the roads around the city are like a race track, but he is so dedicated to his motors, he now races his Peugeot around tracks with fellow motorheads.

"You do get some kids driving around the streets like maniacs but a lot of people like the race tracks.

"We go to car shows, we are in the Peugeot sport club and go to meetings once a month. We also do track days and hill climbs."

Since buying the car two years ago he has fitted a modified 16 valve engine, with 160bhp, a racing exhaust and a sporty steering wheel.

But his hard work has come at a price, and shortly Mr Duley will be selling his car because he can no longer afford it.

"I recently bought my own house and the car is just too expensive to insure. I love it to bits but can't afford it."

But it is not the end of the road for Mr Duley, who will be looking for another project to take on shortly.

"I love any sporty hatch-back, but I do like the older models because they have more character," he adds.

And when he hasn't got his head under the bonnet, Mr Duley has noticed the growing trend for souped-up cars around the Midlands.

"Most of the cars you see around have had something done to them, such as big alloy wheels or loud stereos. But I like to see a nice tidy car, that is well looked after and well finished."

Jamie Shaw, creative director at Carisma automotive design in Essex who appears in MTV's Pimp My Ride UK programme, said: "It's a sad day for Essex. As leaders within the industry for nearly 20 years, we're very proud of our boy racer heritage.

"The car pimping phenomenon is massive in the UK and you'll find it in all major cities across the UK, but I am surprised to see Birmingham come out on top of Essex."