Almost daily I see people blame stance (99% of the time they actually mean aggressive fitment, but that’s another discussion for another day) for the downfall of the automotive community as a whole.
Proclamations are made that once the ‘fitment fad’ dies off everything will miraculously change for the better.
Really? We’re using aggressive fitment as the scapegoat for all the problems that exist among enthusiasts today, while completely ignoring the fact that less than functional wheel, tire, and suspension setups are nothing new?
If you jump back forty plus years –conveniently hopping over the “ricer era” that is its own can of worms– and examine the ‘70’s Street Machine movement you will observe that people have been choosing their wheel and tire set-ups based on looks for years.
It just so happens that currently a significant portion of the community views pebble pushing ride height, low offset wheels, stretched tires, and ample camber as pleasing to the eye.
No. Aggressive fitment, nor whatever styling trend comes hereafter, is not the problem.
But those flat billed hat, skinny jean wearing, kids have single–handedly lowered the bar at car shows you argue? Well, no again.
A few years back a car that’s modification list started and ended with suspension and wheels wouldn’t make the cut for a show, and rightfully so wheels and lowering does not a show car make, however these cars are not driving into shows behind the organizers turned backs, they are being welcomed with open arms.
Why? Because event organizers have a lot of pressure on their shoulders; sponsors need to be pleased, venues need to be filled, merchandise needs to be sold, and models need vehicles on which to leave spray tan impressions.
From the perspective of a show runner it only makes logical (or financial whichever best represents your show of choice) sense to usher in as many people as possible by heavily leaning on what’s hot now, regardless of if it represents the best of the best from a practical, engineering, or build quality stand point.
But the flaws in the current car show model (touched on here by Shift Hype) are not really detrimental to the community as a whole because car shows are arguably a very small piece of the pie.
In my observation, the largest problems in the community today center around attitudes and egos.
The biggest and most concerning of these issues is that the voice of the car enthusiast is being drowned out by that of the scene enthusiast. Unlike car enthusiasts, scene enthusiasts don’t appreciate the hobby as a whole, they like their segment of car modification and wholly reject the ideas, and opinions of people they feel ‘don’t get it’.
These individuals don’t appreciate someone’s right to build whatever they want and worse still lack the ability to respect any aspect of a build that sits outside of their own personal preference.
People have become so head down and focused on what they like, and so opposed to what they don’t, that they fail to realize they wear the same brand of blinders as those of the opposite opinion.
The second, and perhaps equally troubling problem within the community today has to do with egos. The double-edged sword that is social media has grossly inflated the egos of those doing nothing more than lather, rinse, repeating what the person before them did.
The loud, boisterous, vein, obnoxious, and attention seeking are being heralded while the humble, talented, creative, true innovators are being almost completely ignored.
If you try to challenge or question those who have been lifted upon pedestals made up of likes, comments, and shares their bands of merry men, hiding behind shields emblazoned with the word hater, verbally strike you down.
We are caught in a vicious cycle where as one trend gives way to another a new group of close minded, ego-centric, people replaces the last. As this circle continues nobody truly benefits and the hobby suffers as a whole.
If it’s necessary for wheel widths to go back to 6.5″ and offset to flirt with +60 for this downward spiral to stop then by all means aggressive fitment needs to die.