Police in Canterbury say a vehicle involved in a fatal crash near Tai Tapu last week had been ordered off the road a year earlier.
Senior Constable Andy Williamson says the heavily modified car was travelling at about 160 kilometres per hour before it crashed into a concrete fence.
The 22-year-old man driving was killed and three passengers were injured.
Mr Williamson says the driver did not usually use the vehicle but decided to on Thursday night.
Police are awaiting a toxicology report to see whether alcohol was involved.
The passengers, in their twenties, were flown to Middlemore Hospital's burns unit, where one remains in a critical condition.