Tuesday, January 5, 2016
A crazy little thing called "stance"... (By Imraan Gallo)
Gone are the days of show cars and modifieds, or atleast that's what I am seeing on the interwebs where South Africa is concerned. Slammed, Bagged, Poked and a few other words are what you see when scrolling through instagram feeds as hashtags. Now for the most part, most people know that I have a huge disregard for this "stance" genre, perhaps it’s just a case of misconception but even though that may be partly true, I still have to go out and see what the buzz is all about. Some might say it's contradictory because I consider myself a student of automotive culture and in my defence, "stance" does not meet the requirements to be a culture, it seems to be more a lifestyle kind of thing.
You got to give credit to some of the owners to an extent. Sacrificing some functionality for an achieved look. In the world of "stance" it's all about form>function and that is what I’ve been lead to belive and as it's been proven over time, form follows function. Perhaps I see it this way because of my life long involvement with motorsport where function is first and foremost with form that follows.
A few years back I heard someone make a statement which made me laugh by saying that racecars have and I quote "track stance". In retro spec, that conflicts with form>function as a racecar is 100% function followed by form. Not to take anything away from "stancers", yes the cars are very much eye candy, at least some of them which are done properly.
Sadly in SA, you have car owners spending more on their cars than what the car is worth and not in a way that you can say well done but more in a "WTF were you thinking" way. That is probably the reason I have a good chuckle every time I'm around the "stance" people. Now in this part of the world you get 2 types of so called "stance" people. The ones who do it properly with "stance worthy" cars and then you get those that just try too hard to fit in.
"Stance" is a money game, you can't "stance" on a budget. A while back, it was considered blasphemy by some to have replica wheels on a car as the validity of fitment and authenticity would surely be questioned and maybe even frowned upon, but in recent times it seems that it's now okay to have fitment with replica wheels. In a weird way of thinking, I’ve seen rather cost effective cars having air suspension of which costs more than the car it's being fitted in. if that’s the case then maybe you can "stance" on a budget, but the car having to be the budget part.
When it comes to the more expensive cars, the style and brand of the car has some harmony with "stance" trends. A 100K car rolling on a set of 30K wheels, now that's a balanced equation. Since "stance" has become more appealing to the newer type of car enthusiast, there is always a thought of them having the lack of knowledge towards certain know-how.
Now although I'm not a fan of this "stance" thing as I come from a different background, Everyone wants to have or state their way of being attached to automotives. I was lead to believe that getting a car means having to do the so-called guy stuff, like racing and the late night wrenching that comes with it. Maybe the "stance" game didn't want to do guy-like activities but I think they're happy with their slow drive, scraping, sump busting antics. It amazes me though, who would want to purposely make driving into your drive-way a hassle. From having a reasonable ride height, to carrying planks in your boot, just to make a simple act of parking become a 10 minute saga.
Giving credit though, you can see many of these guys have spent a fair amount of money on their cars, just like any other type of car enthusiast would do, with each having their own way of spending it. This year however I was caught slightly off guard with the quality that some of the owners brought to the Cape Town shore.
As for the locals, there were a few changes. Flippie Viljoen, who was Mr. Static Slammed for a while with his EK Civic was somehow converted to the airbuddy club, and I say that because air-verybody in the “stance” game is leaning towards air suspension, and rightfully so, speed-bumps are a little more friendly with air. You don’t even see the rivalry of static versus bagged anymore. Those running static are happy to have it and those with bags sometimes look like their car skipped leg day at the gym with all that tuck.
With that said, after really looking at some of the cars, you tend to notice the details. Now they may or may not compliment the car but that leads to the argument of all the sub-categories like OEM and OEM+. I’m not one to judge but when I saw this car at the previous OTF event, I liked it a lot more, the car just seemed more appealing to me personally. The 2015 installment of OTF saw the car going for a more retro styled, almost period correct modern day facelift. The touches of the BBS front and BBS wheels had the OEM touch but the width of the tires threw me off a bit, I’m guessing this car must be with the airbuddy club also.
Since I am not around these cars and the people related to it, during most of the year, it’s really nice to see some familiar faces other than just having to see social media posts from these individuals. Occasionally when taking a break from the button pressing, having a little chat is always appreciated to catch up and just talk shop so to say.
2015 saw a lot more out-of-towners. The specific VW Jetta was somewhat refreshing as I have previously only seen one other car like this connected to the “stance” industry in SA. It was only later that I discovered the owner is running static, and with that much camber in the rear on a FWD car, the drive to the venue was probably not all that pleasant. Overall, a very neatly finished ride and a nice addition to the stable of sedans within this industry.
“Stance” on the whole has a very big euro influence in the country. With confidence I can say that 95% of the cars comprising of cars from a German heritage. VW obviously has the biggest quota, with BMW in second and the Audi brand having few but top quality cars. This almost makes me want to force the belief that “stance” originated in Europe or at least centered around European cars.
Summed up in one frame. A trio of euro cars. 2 Germans and a Frenchman. All the roads point towards a heavy euro influence when it comes to “stance”. There is a little Renault Clio in this photo sitting on a sick set of Enkei wheels, but more on that later. All these small things that I witness is what makes me describe this genre as a crazy little thing called “stance”
One thing I love about any aspect of a car has got to do with the origin of its factors. The wheels on this MKV Golf actually come out of the Johannesburg HoodRide stable. An agreement was reached between the owners to have the wheels collected from my residence, here in Cape Town. So in some way it’s nice to see how the parts have traveled and where they have landed. One can rest assured that such things are in good hands when you see a finished product presented in front of you.
When word first got out about this super “stanced out” M3. It reached the ears and eyes of many involved in this scene. I was shown a photo of this car long before I had seen it in person and I just thought it was a cool looking car. Seeing the car in person was a lot different than what I thought I would experience when seeing it. From the front this thing looks really mean. An M3 has distinct lines, with the right amount of height and wheels setup, the car looked mind blowing in this colour. So certainly I had to exercise my interest with the rest of the car.
Walked around the car a bit, scoping it out, looking for decent angle to shoot from and compliment the car. Sitting right there, I looked at the car and thought to myself “dear lord, what have you done?”. Completely obliterated the essence of M3, but you know what, whether you like stance or not I don’t think you can’t appreciate this car for what it is. An extension of the owner itself, down to earth, literally. If you going to be into “stance” then be into it properly, and that is what was achieved here. Apparently this guy drives around like this all the time, sacrificing what a M3 was built for but in doing so, creating something that is a monster, made to murder all “stance” and it did exactly that. Coming from a "non-stance" person, this car had my attention.
But obviously not as much as this one. For me, the Smurf blue E46 of Coles Autobody, embodies everything that is M3. This car may or may not have raced around a circuit but I have personally seen it on the drag strip. Not a preferred race but still emphasizing the roots of M3 in an act that screams “performance”. As for the cosmetic nature, minor touches gave it a very race-like look and as a purist in many ways, this car may not be cream of the "stance" crop but it definitely represents the M3 badge in every way possible. Form follows function and I know this car is fully functional and just looks oh so good.
In recent times, the contrasted rear panel of hatch-back cars have a chip of the old race block. Like many race cars in the world, some advertising of brands is done somewhere and in most cases, everywhere on the car. For the “stance” fans, the rear panel was the preferred location for a little bit of R-I-C-E. With all due respect, the car is sitting pretty on a nice set of wheels, but it was thrown off by the other 2 or 3 VW’s that were parked close-by sporting the same theme. Too much of a good thing is bad at times.
With all due respect to the previous events, I personally don’t think I would’ve even stayed as long as I did if the location wasn’t this perfect. So now you have baller cars, in a baller location with the backdrop of baller private jets. Like how much more perfect of a combination do you want.
One thing is for sure, the guys at CapeStance are going to have a tough time to ensure the that next event can out do this one. I can however vouch that they will go all out for the next one, besides who wants to go to a meet that is exactly the same 2 years in a row. Hats off to the guys for putting together a great day of entertainment. Maybe some additions to the event will happen. After all, you got to keep the public entertained so we occasionally have less traffic for doing what we do...