The term "bad boy" literally means a boy who is bad. Those of us who were boys and grew up speaking English are likely to have heard it applied to us, either as a description or a warning.
Somewhere along the way this term acquired another meaning rather far afield from its original one:
3. Something that is considered especially impressive, potent, or powerful. My new motorcycle has some real power in the engine; I can't wait to take this bad boy out on the road.
I had always thought this to be an American term, but just this evening I heard it used on a British TV crime drama. That got me to wondering who started using it first. It could be that the term originated in the UK, or that the term wafted its way across the pond from the US.
Can anybody nail down when and where this specialized meaning of "bad boy" gained currency?