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.
i never understood peoples need to be down on a different style than their own. no matter your flavor of choice, it all takes time, money and effort to build any custom or modified vehicles. when you appreciate a build that is a different style than your own comfort zone your really just admiring someones dedication and craftsmanship. just because you are hot shit now with your dapper stickers and matching bmx bike on top, doesn’t mean at one time you didn’t drive a busted car with cut springs and a straight pipe welded in.
Respect the work not the style, except donks, death to donks…
The reference to the raised, big tire cars of the 60 and 70s is incorrect. They did what they could to make them hook better. Which, was using larger wheels and tires. How do you fit those in a era before coil overs, shortened axles and 4 links? You lift the rear of the car. If you follow the history of racing, you will see how Gasers came about, followed by Altereds which ultimately led to Funny Cars. All of which, was a progression in performance and not style/looks.
Sure, there were cars done to mimic those who sought performance, just like you see now in the stance world. Big wings, aero yet, at ride heights and tire sizes that wouldn’t allow the cars to function on a track.
Bacon, it might have been an over simplified example but I don’t think that EVERY car in the 70s that had the back raised was set up purely from a functional point of view.
Your second paragraph was in line with where I was hoping to land with that reference.
I would fully agree that, these hipster kids who feel as if they are entitled to everything due to this, everyone is a winner mindset need to be removed from the earth. They are, the reason why the car scene has gone downhill rapidly. At least in my local areas. They god like attitudes leave the lots full of garbage, keep the neighbors up with their loud music and constant reving (OMG BREH I GOT DAT 2 STEP DOH!) and then, their blatant disrespect for the law enforcement that shows up as a result.
At the risk of sound old (I guess I might be) I think lack of respect in the younger generation is a problem that just seems to be carrying over into the car scene.
@TCC ‘when you appreciate a build that is a different style than your own comfort zone your really just admiring someones dedication and craftsmanship.’ nailed it.
As for Donks I don’t really like them myself but I have seen more than a few built to really high standard!
Even donks have a function over form… if you live in an area prone to flooding,lol. But all joking aside, this is a very well explained article and if I i can take anything away from it, it’s respect the effort not the style.
Ive been in the car scene longer then most people I know. Im the only 38 year old around my area that I know that still drives a slammed Integra as a daily, has a slammed GS300 for a weekend car, and a slammed Ruckus for the summer. For someone that has been in the import car scene for the better part of 20 years, my view on the current state of the scene is very mixed. While I love the creativity and style that some people show in there cars whether it be a german car or japanese. The arrogance, immaturity, and just narrow-minded attitude of a good amount of people in the scene, sucks.
The scene trolls, that make arguments about saying “Wheels” or “rims” is moronic. People have called them “rims” for like 30 years! Stop being snobs and accept the fact that not everyone gives a shit, what the proper term is.
The whole “fake” wheel or “real” wheel debate is stupid too. Not everyone can spend $3500 on a set of wheels for the car they spent $2000 on. People build what they can afford to or what makes sense for them. I have SSRs on my Lexus, and Whislters on my Integra. Why? Because I spent $1200 on my Integra and I drive it everyday. Why would I spend a fortune on wheels for a car that can potentially get stolen or banged up at any moment? Its about making your car look better, for whatever is in there means, financially.
Having 5 car meets a week is another thing that just makes the scene boring and sucks every bit of excitement out of seeing your peers build progress. It also makes cops hate the scene. 2-stepping and blasting music, then doing a burnout in a Best Buy parking lot is why they make “too low” laws and “excessive camber” tickets.
Its not about VIP, or stance, or shaved bays, or big turbos, or airbags vs static, or “hellaflush”. Its about attitudes and general admiration for each others attempts to build something. I have no crew, I love VWs and BMWs, but I prefer Japanese cars and that should be ok, the term “ricer” pisses me off, and I wish the kids in that have been in the scene for the last 5 years could go back and see what it used to be like. It was way more fun.
I have to disagree with Brian a bit. The older you get the more you’ll misunderstand the younger generation. People 20 years older than you said the same thing at your age. The toungins are also going to say the same thing when the time comes. That’s just life. Also I disagree with the “real vs fake wheels”. You don’t have to spend 3500 for a set. Plenty of used wheels with out there that cost the same as a brand new knockoff. They might not be the size or offset the replica makes but you could always rebuild some. That’s also a different area of being a car enthusiast that some people could learn about.
Here in the UK “stance” “euro” and just plain laziness has killed off many big car shows as the movement from innovation and imagination being the pinnacle has fallen to scene kids rating on the bleets of there followers. Obsessed with fashion and trend but protesting all the while they are elite members of some fringe movement and so very “underground”, despite every car following a Ladybird book simple paint by numbers approach.
I am a hater! A hater of hot right now being greater than what new take or innovation can be made. Hastags, roof racks, and BBS or concave wheels. Slap on some stickers and you’ve created the next big thing if you can get enough shares or insta hits.
Aggressive fitment? I don’t think that’s the culprit, social media is far more firmly to blame and as the younger generation comes forth the majority see this frankly Lazy fad and it is easily accessible. So they are drawn to this insta’nt fame on tap. Rather than styles that seem too much work. Peer pressure and a smart phone are powerful influences.
The fitment however as stupid as the camber obsessives are I’m loathed to give them credit as they are only very weakly stealing queues from Japanese VIP styled cars which they neither understand nor would realise the amount of work goes into them.
Thankfully people are getting sick and the very media it thrives upon is now turning its back slowly on stance and its TV dinner modifying if you can even call it modifying, I still don’t count a brand of polish as a mod.
I have to agree with Brian a lot.. I`m 35 and have been around the scene since I was 16 so I also have been around for along long time and have seen the rise and fall of a lot of the styling fads of the day. I`ve actually have distanced my self from the automotive scene in the later years because of the “scene enthusiasts” over the auto enthusiasts. I`m open to any make or model of car, if the build is quality I have respect for it but the show scene or cruise scene or what ever it is anymore has just become so cookie cutter with rows of the same 4 kinds cars on the same 4 kinds of wheels and if you don`t have either your treated like a complete outsider. I`ve seen so many large car meets destroyed in the last couple of years because of this too. They come in take over, pop there antilag systems on there stock turbo cars, do burn outs and drift out like they are ken block of the car meet. But that`s not the whole problem, the problem is the people who then snap a pick of it and upload it to Instagram/Facebook/Twitter etc etc and become “scene famous” which spurs on more of the same behavior the next week leading to that venue being shut down. The biggest example of that being H2Oi going from a simple VW show to being a “scenefest” and being run out of town by the cops. The aggressive fit movement will diminish..it’s not if it’s when and be replaced by a new trend like others in the past. Hellaflush will go down in history with the likes of chrome lexanis, pastel paint jobs, body kits, street touring cars and fiberglass UFO style stereo installs…and hopefully it takes the scene trolls out with it and replaces it with Car guys again.
When a vehicle has lost function and can not be driven safely on or off the race track it is called a piece of art. Art has no function. This scene has attracted nothing but hipsters and people who think it’s cool to do this to vehicles. I’d say 90% of stanced vehicles are also built with garbage for parts, knock offs and just cheap shit. Not the entire industry but it has become a trend and we all love how trendy shit becomes to all jump on the band wagon. Everyone is trying to make a name for themselves and everyone wants to win a limbo contest and a car show. Seriously, grow up. You may call what I’m saying hate, it’s not. It’s common sense. Cars are meant to be driven and perform. Stop with the statements. Stop with the I’m different, when all this really shows is you are an idiot. Call it self expression or whatever you want but when you modify something to do something other then better it’s performance and just after a look, you are a ricer. Pure and simple. Just like Neons and LEDs and chrome rims and graphics from 2001 from F&F this is exactly what stance is. Useless and only for attention, hence it is classified as rice.
I hear what youre saying Mackie. I may not go to meets, and I dont run with a crew, but I dont completely shut myself out. I talk to these kids coming up. Some of them are awesome kids with a lot of vision and a lot of drive to do great things with there cars. Most of them are not. I get that its a different generation and Im just shy of forty and Im still doing the same stuff I did to cars when I was 18. Im not saying I totally understand how these kids were raised, and Im glad I grew up when I did, because growing up now, they have no idea of where things came from, but most of these kids are doing this for the wrong reasons. ITs more for vanity then actual enjoyment.
Let me also re-word the real wheel/fake wheel thing. 20 years ago, there werent really companies making “reps”. There were just wheel compaines. Companies like Enkei, and TSW and Konig, werent considered crappy wheels and the wheel “building” scene was tiny, almost non-existent as far as I could see, and back then we ran with a much bigger group of enthusiasts. Now a lot of these companies are probably outsourcing the wheels to Taiwan and the quality has gone down, but historically I dont remember anyone giving anyone else shit about a rim brand. I just feel like that aspect of the scene has gotten very snobby.
Maybe change your site to cars is anything so u won’t get butthurt by stance kids. Your site did come about at the start of its popularity juss sayin
Marco, I hate to break the news to you, but you arent really comprehending this at all. Since probably the 50s and 60s, there have been “show cars” and “performance cars”. Most of the “show cars” over the last 40 years are not meant to be taken out and driven on a track or raced. Look at the entire Lowrider scene thats been around forever. Or the car audio scene when some dude has 18 subs in the back of the car. Theyre meant to “show” not “go”. So putting neon and LED and chrome wheels on your car may not be YOUR style. But if thats what the person is into, and its their style. You cant really judge.
The term “rice” is so god damn stupid. And youre definition of it is completely wrong. When people say a car is “Ricey” it refers to the horrible bodykits and spoilers companies used to make in the mid to late 90s and early 2000s. They were ridiculous looking and basically were never cool. Whats even worse is they made all these kits for German cars too, so the people that coined that phrase were just as moronic as the term itself. And now , like everything in the scene these days, the term is just beat to death.
Oh and check this link. http://www.bmwdrives.com/bmw-artcars.php BMW might disagree with your art has no function theory.
Brian C took the lowrider/kustom etc words right out of my mouth!
Style oriented builds have been around forever.
@Boris I’ve mused with the idea of a rebrand but I still think the right wheel and tire setup radically changes any car so I’ve stuck with Stance Is Everything.
I was all geared up to write a reply, then I read Brian C’s last reply. A modified car can very well be useless for its original intended function of transporting people or things down the road, as long as the owner can cope with that fact. The term “poser” has yet to be used here, so I’ll throw it out there. If your car has become utterly useless as a result of the modifications you’ve made to it, yet you still pretend that it is useful, that makes you a poser. A fake. Or just plain clueless. There’s nothing cool about pogo-ing down the road in a car that has a quarter inch of suspension travel. There’s nothing cool about smashing a 20 inch wheel on a pothole. There’s nothing cool about ripping your bumper(s) off on the slightest incline. There’s nothing cool about driving without an exhaust system because it got grown down to nothing because your car is so low. There’s nothing cool about going through a set of tires every 3000 km because you have 15 degrees of negative camber and you’re riding on the sidewall. Yet this is exactly the kind of stuff that is constantly flaunted online and at modern car shows. None of it is cool, and worse, it’s not funny. The overuse (and often misuse) of LOL and HAHHHAAA is association with these kind of statements makes it clear that the person has completely misconstrued the true purpose of the whole automotive scene. The real question people need to ask themselves and others is: Did you modify your car so you can fit in, or did you modify your car so you can set yourself apart? If you did it to fit in, you’re a poser. If you did it to set yourself apart, then you’re a true enthusiast.
So many great points in these comments guys thanks for joining and having a discussion!
Chris DriveBy your reply really resonated with me well put! However I wouldn’t call you a hater. I would say that your views are quite accurate.
“Peer pressure and a smart phone are powerful influences.” this is so accurate!
Boris, I don’t think re-branding is the right idea. Teaching these hipster teenie boppers that stance is not a movement or lifestyle rather, how a car sits (much like how stance when used with people is, how they stand) or with ideas, how someone views an idea. Not one of those means eBay coil overs, 4″ wide tires and 10″ wide wheels.
@Bacon I like you, if you’ve never really commented before do stick around 🙂
@OnMyWayOut That’s a situation I’ve never encountered but here in Canada gun talk (especially at car events) is super rare. However you’ve already endured 30 years what’s a few more 🙂
I have been a car enthusiast since I have been able to drive (30+ years now). I’ve long since learned to ignore most of the crap that goes on in the forums. But what has really soured my on the whole scene is the global politics & social values of some of the core constituents. Case in point, I was attending, as a participant, a nationally sanctioned amateur motor sports event, and came across a fellow participant (a woman) who was wearing a t-shirt with a stencil of an AR-15 at the top, and below that the following text: “You think nobody needs an AR-15? Well, nobody needs your bitch-ass either and yet here you are.” Between this and the fact that I come across so many science denying people who stick their head in the sand relative to what’s happening in the world is enough to push me away & to find activities that are more in keeping with my core values. So yeah, for me it’s a red vs blue thing. I can disagree with somebody and still respect them, and enjoy their company, but things have gotten way out of hand and I just don’t want to be associated with many of the people in the automotive enthusiast scene at this point in history.
Dave, I may just poke around some more after seeing the Severed Ties semi.
I liked stance at first but now I hate it because of joy they get from cops being called and general insane hipster/party behavior that comes with it. I have been in this for a long time. I’m 27 I have friends with cars that are in wekfest regularly, and I love going to shows like that. They concentrate on build quality and constant improvement of the build etc… h2oi sucks now. My goal has always been to get my truck in a magazine but now it seems is not that hard. ” Wheels and suspension does not a build make” was the best sentence in this article.
Hey Eric how many years have you been to h2oi? I’ve only been in 2013 and I’m told that was after the glory years. The car with no doors is actually from my coverage of that year.
Bacon I like trucks. A lot.
I completely agree with the article, except for one point. As far as I’m concerned, you can do whatever you want to your own vehicle. It’s YOUR vehicle, you own it, not some dude at a meet with an opinion. The only time I will openly come down on a fad is if it is dangerous to drive down the road. If you want to build a track car an kill yourself going around a course, go for it. However, DO NOT endanger the lives of those around you on the road. Using your example of “stance”, many of these cars are running on the edge or sidewalls of the tires. Both of these possibilities are obviously dangerous. One has you running on thin rubber that was never designed to touch the road. The other has you running on a portion of tire with the width of a bicycle tire. I mean, come on people! If you want to stand out that bad, go build a neon pink Escalade or something. That way you get all the attention you could possibly want, but your not going to potentially kill someone because your tire blew out or you slid off the road.
I agree with Brian ive been in multiple “car clubs” I haven’t been in the “scene” as long as you guys. But I have been in long enough to notice the “trend” changes and personalities of the car owners. Especially with the Subaru and Mitsubishi clubs. Like for instance I have a 2002 Subaru Wrx Sedan and I catch hell from all directions because I must be a douche bag since I drive a Subaru. Then when I have a question about my Subaru on the Subaru forums or the Subaru clubs sites I get trolled and called a ricer because a I have a 04 STI spoiler on my car. So I just normally stick to my self and build my car the way I want to and since all this has happened I stopped going to shows and caring about others criticizing my build because its not how they would do it. Also I find the term “ricer” annoying because yeah someones car isnt the way i would do it or i dont like the way it looks well who am I to judge them I havent invested any money into their project I dont have any say so let them build it the want to. One more thing is the whole purposely rust your car I kinda dumb because my car is from pa and rust isnt my friend nor my frames friend.
Before I got my car, I hated seeing people roll around like this. I don’t have that much camber in the back, nor am I that low. I have though taken into consideration that everyone’s build is their build. The time and effort they have poured into their car is sentimental to them. And people see my car and laugh or like it, but i don’t care, cause it’s my car, my build and I’m happy with it.
To be honest it’s a bit sad
all chav people making thier cars look chav, they bring nothing to society
all need to get a life!
Maybe I missed the point here. I read everything but I cannot see the clear problem. Is it a problem that the trend now is ultra low cars with extreme camber? I dont agree. I am not bothered by any style really. If you like the style, do it. If you dont like the style, do what you want. I like anything as long as it is genuine (i.e. not “#JDMstylestickervinylwrapyo”). Noone can say the Fast and the furious era was cooler. But yeah at least on a local level the average interest of cars seem to have declined. Maybe because modern cars are so good and cheap compared to modifying. And maybe because you need to put so much time and money into a car to create a wow-factor nowadays. I can just speak for myself, but cars are for me and for me only. Sure you look at others whos styles are the opposite of your own and think “thats a waste”. But I wont go so far as to that affecting me personally.
The problem (as I see it) is that unlike yourself a lot of people can’t look at a car that isn’t for them without getting quite upset about it and spend too much time arguing about why their preferred style is superior without agreeing to disagree for lack of a better term.
The second problem, which I also touched on, is egos are reaching critical mass.
What I see as a problem is
1. the egos. The mentality of always being the best (being handed a trophy for showing up in little league has filtered down to here) When people post up “what do you think of my car” and people actually give honest answers and the OP doesnt agree they get theyre feelings hurt. YOU ASKED FOR OPINIONS. If you cant take criticism dont bring your car out to car shows. Because guess what, Its there to be judged.
2. The fact that somehow a slammed stock car with wheels counts as custom. All you did was lower it. Somehow that has been come great. Its sick, and so clean. Dammit man put some creativity into your car instead of just put it on the ground and kick the camber out. Every civic now has the same mugen or Honda Factory Performance Lip kit and spoiler on it. over half of the cars are running a similar mesh wheel. but somehow everyone is original because theres is blue, or beige.
Should agressive camber go the way of the dodo. While its definitely not my style then again neither are donk cars. I cant say. I would just wish people would put more creativity and personality into theyre builds and not just copy something that was “so clean and sick” online. I also wish alot of the younger builders would respect builds that may not be in theyre style or taste. The build is still a reflection of the owner. To completely disrespect a well built car just because you may not like the graphics or paint or LED lights is just bullshit and needs to stop happening. Those personal styles are what breeds creativity and innovation in this community. If we all want to drive copies of everyone elses car we might as well leave them stock and just go get groceries.
Being low is now ho-mo
Being high is why.
You couldn’t be more wrong about 70’s cars. That was the technology for the day, they set those cars up for what they thought would hook when racing. I’m not saying posers didn’t exist that made their cars look like the cars racing, but the look they had was what they thought worked on the track.
@Scott Yeah that was perhaps an over simplification on my part. That is why I included an example of the car in the video which appears to be more for looks than to hook up.
I’d change my paragraph to clarify but that wouldn’t be fair 🙂
I just stumbled across this which, I believe can sum up the progression of cars from the 40s-semi current day.