Looking at how crazy some stance cars are now, with their wheels almost parallel to the ground, it’s a little hard to imagine your great-grandfather possibly rolling in his stanced Ford Model T. But that’s really how far back the stance movement goes, if you’re really looking for the connections.
There’s a lot more to it, of course. And rest assured, those early Fords, Packards and more weren’t rubbing chins on the road. While the jury may be out as to how cool tilted wheels, or stance on sports cars really is, there’s no denying it’s more popular than ever before. The stance movement even seems like it has no limits — in how much is too much stance, and how old is too old, both for the car and the owner. This is the truth about stance, why it’s popular, and how you can get onboard the hype train — safely.
What Is A Stance Car?
Stance is more than just the act of lowering a car and setting up the suspension with excessive negative camber on the front and rear wheels, to achieve that crazy “tucked” look. You know, where the tops of the wheels and tires disappear under the fender or into the wheel wells. Stance has pretty much turned into a whole car sub-culture in itself. If you spot one stance car at a car meet on a Sunday morning, chances are there’s a whole bunch of cars with tilted wheels nearby. Stock stance can also just be used to describe how a car sits on the road. But a stanced car most definitely refers to a car that’s been slammed and has its wheels tucked.
It’s most likely that stance was inspired by motorsports, with regular drivers looking to get a bit of that motorsport look to their cars. It’s believed that the stance sub-culture originated in Japan, where most cool car culture stuff usually starts. In racing, you often see cars with quite a lot of negative camber on the wheels. This is where the tops of the wheels tilt inwards, in relation to the bottom of the wheel. Negative camber is actually a good thing, within reason, as it puts more of the tire in contact with the road under cornering, and hard cornering in particular. Creating more grip is the reason race cars look the way the do, and even the reason behind all the research into downforce and aerodynamics.
But in a way, stance goes further back. To the late 1930s, to be precise. The first automobile may have come out of Germany in 1885, but it looks like lowered cars might have originated in America.
What Are Fitment Wheels?
Fitment wheels are when the whole wheel and tire package comes together in a more aesthetically pleasing way than stock. Regular, stock cars are set up the way they are to work in most situations an owner might find themselves in — with all the wheel clearance and suspension travel possible for a smooth ride and to balance handling. Paying attention to the fitment through suspension (camber angle and ride height) and tire choice (overall diameter, width and sidewall profile) will result in a cooler looking car, for sure. But it’ll also compromise some aspect of the driving experience, likely while adding to the handling characteristics.
Is there a difference between stance and fitment? Simply put, wheel fitment refers to how the wheel and tire package “fits” on the car — does it sit flush with the body, is there a wheel gap, how substantial the wheel gap is, and how far the wheel/tires stick out from the body line when viewed head on, or from the rear.
Stance is essentially just a type of fitment, as you might’ve guessed. Stance fitment is very similar to tucked fitment, but the latter usually don’t go as far. Flush fitment is when the wheels line up with the fenders perfectly, with only the slightest wheel gap visible. Poke fitment is what happens when the wheel/tire package “poke” out from the bodywork, leading to the typical muscle car look.
The Different Types Of Stance And Why People Stance Cars
Like we said, the stance of a car could be used to describe a stock car, like a sports sedan, as well. Dropped cars are lowered slightly, usually through aftermarket suspension springs, or even springs that have been cut to reduce the wheel gap, and the resultant height of the car. Slammed cars sit even more close to the ground, usually achieved via fully-adjustable coilovers or air-suspension.
We start moving into stance territory with these types of stance, though. Flush cars usually have the similar overall look, with the addition of more negative camber. Hellaflush push things further, with excessive negative camber for that kicked out look. Paddiflush cars use wheels with extreme offset to achieve a wide, low look. And Hellafail stance is pretty much what you’d imagine, with extreme negative camber resulting in a barely drivable car. Fail.
Ultimately people stance cars as a way to make their car unique and stand out. Stance to a degree does add handling capability but for most, it’s purely ornamental. Blame social media fi you must, but remember people were rolling in lowriders long before the internet. Lowriders aren’t half as popular as they used to be, and hopefully crazy stance will balance out soon. If that means more hot hatches with flush fitment, for example, we’re all for it.