|“||By my deeds I honor him. V8||”|
Though the Cult of the V8 isn't mentioned directly in the film, it can be ascertained that society of The Citadel, especially the War Boys, worships V8 engines as symbols of power and uses them in the automobiles they build and drive.
Immortan Joe acts as the patriarchal and immortal god figure within the Cult of V8 and is the only one to grant access to the afterlife Valhalla. After Joe, divine power and influence is given to Immortan Joe's immediate relatives, his sons Rictus Erectus and Corpus Colossus.
There is a belief that the V8 engine is the source of the War Boy's strength, a power conduit between the world of the Wasteland and the afterlife - Valhalla, with guzzolene powering its wrath.
Those within the Cult of V8 refer to themselves as "half-lives", and acknowledge that their lives are short, caring only to serve Immortan Joe. "The Witness" is a ritualistic statement called upon when a War Boy plans to die in combat, and is intended as a sign of respect by other War Boys. War Boys despise the idea of "dying soft", and prefer to go out sprayed with chrome on the "fury road" to Valhalla.
It is quite likely that the cult has a lasting influence among The Wretched as well, for they too worship Immortan Joe in their own way, and pray for his life-giving waters he delivers from on high.
There are numerous artifacts associated with the Cult of the V8.
When not riding the "fury road", War Boys worship at a V8 altar within The Citadel. They all have a personalized steering wheel, that holds a personalized religious significance to each warboy. When not in use, the wheel sits upon the altar - connected to the V8. When called to war, it is removed in order to be "symbiotically" connected with their V8 vehicle.
War Boys also daub themselves with skeletal make up in the form of white body paint and black eye make up, a reminder that death has constant emphasis amongst half-lives.
For the War Boys, chrome spray paint is used as a purification tool upon death. It is believed that the more chrome something is, the more glorious it is. Therefore, if a War Boy acknowledges that their death is near, they will glorify their bodies, especially their teeth and face, with the spray. It is possible this also gives the driver an increased high from the fumes.
Scarification plays an important role in the cult as well. War Boys spend a substantial amount of time carefully scarifying their chests and appendages to mirror diagrams of engines and car parts. It seems likely that in doing so they believe there is a heightened connection between themselves and the onmipotent V8 and its representative within the Wasteland, Immortan Joe.
Insignia and signs
War Boys and V8 followers utilize insignia and signs as extensions of their worship. A popular hand gesture used by War Boys was "The Sign of the V8", which was formed by intersecting four fingers on each hand (8 in total) in a V shape.
Immortan Joe's also used a specific insignia on his property; this insignia was used as a branding iron. The brand was circular with a skull placed in the middle and rising flames on top.
- V8 worship has a real-world analogue. During the 1970s, street-racers obsessed over the modifications of their vehicles with V8 engines. However, their influence was doomed due to V8 engines need for high octane gasoline.
- "Worship of the V8 on the Street will outlive its rejection by Detroit, but the V8 is doomed nonetheless. The biggest immediate problem is gasoline. Those old v8s crank out gobs of horsepower with high-compression ratios.They require 100-octance gasoline, which simply isn’t made anymore." Popular Mechanics Dec 1980