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Stance and Fitment - Editorialisms

Peter Tarach
Jan 6, 2010

A new trend is gaining popularity in our scene, and it has nothing to do with performance but everything with wheel fitment and stance. Forget about lap times or g-forces pulled in a corner—none of that matters. It’s all about how low your car can go and how flush your wheels are to your fenders. The days of finger-gap testing your ride height are long gone with this trend. Instead, the lip of the rim looks like it’s on the verge of rubbing the outer edge of the fender, with the tires having been stretched and tucked up inside the wheelwell [1]. The result is a look that defies logic and convention, but for some this “hellaflush” look is the ultimate in automotive fashion.

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However, not everyone is on board with this trend. Automotive purists argue that stretching tires, banging out fenders and compromising suspension geometry to lower a car to ridiculously low levels makes absolutely no sense and actually degrades ride quality and performance. I’ll admit that seeing an STI with an aggressive stance and stretched tires seems odd and wrong when looking at it from a traditional “STIs are rally cars” perspective. But I do appreciate the fact that there are individuals who want to own such vehicles and don’t care about its rally heritage or its corner-carving abilities. And the truth is, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Despite the compromises involved, there do seem to be some cars that are able to achieve an ultra-aggressive stance along with wheel fitment while still functioning as respectable drift/track cars. The Lexus GS300 gracing our cover [2] is a perfect example of such a car. Jayson Pizarro has built his menacing four-door sedan to be a legitimate drift car, while still maintaining a hellaflush stance.

The thing is, a slammed car isn’t all that bad when you’re sliding sideways. However, take that car and try to perform a hot lap during a grip session and as we learned last year at our Tuner Shootout, it’s not going to be able to hang with purpose-built time attack machines. To do that, you need proper suspension geometry and adequate suspension travel—there’s just no way around it.

And this is where the conundrum comes in. What if you love going fast around a track but still want the hellaflush look for the street? Compromise. You’ll never be able to do both to the extreme, but if losing a second at the track isn’t a big deal to you and dropping your car that extra half-inch really matters, then I see no harm in doing so.

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2

Personally, I would have one car for function and another strictly for form, despite how impractical that may be. The reality is that most of us can’t have two vehicles and have to work with what we’ve got. So build your car how you want it, even if it’s impractical and scrapes over every speed bump on the road or has “uncool” amounts of wheelwell gap because you want to maintain proper suspension geometry. There’s room for both schools of thought, and machines like this month’s cover car prove that if you’re determined to have both in a single ride, anything’s possible.

By Peter Tarach
352 Articles

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