study of stance

The Study of Stance

Origin

The term “Stance” or “Stanced” is used to describe a car customization style derived from auto sports such as Formula1 and drifting, High power output cars which are designed for the race tracks uses extremely low and stiff suspension along with wide and light sport wheels for smooth handling and cornering. And eventually enthusiasts started copying this style for a similar kind of performance and to get the looks of the cars used in autosport.  we can use it in conjunction with “lowering” or “slamming”. It is basically originated in Japan by a local street gang who did crazy modifications to their cars. It can be determined in a car by its suspension height and how the wheels are fitted in fenders. It is playing up with the wheels of your car and lowered suspension (lowering springs or air suspension). The main objective or purpose of a stance car project is an improved visual appearance rather than performance or handling or characteristics. However some cars are a combination of both giving an all-over boost to a car appearance.

History

In the late ’30s a ’36 Dodge was customized just before WWII this was the beginning of low cars though it was not that crazy low, definitely a bit lower than stock and it was built by Neil Emory of valley custom fame. In Early 40’s a ’50 Chevy 3-Window coupe; shaved, chopped and everything molded. The rear fenders have been welded with the body and then the seams are filled with lead to smooth out everything(lead was used before Bondo). This caused the suspension to sag because of the extra weight over the rear. The “tail-dragger ” stance had been born. In the late ’40s (post-WWII) customs are getting low. And now the rear being purposefully lower than the front. Stance has now become an integral part of the build philosophy. Camber is not much visible on cars of this vintage because many of them had straight axles that were “dropped” to lower the front. A ’39 Merc was built by the legendary Sam Barris, wheel covers are ’48/’49 Cadillac “Sombrero’s”. A ’50 Chevy was owned and customized in 1957 by Larry Watson (one of the great custom painters of all time) was the Game changer as it was extremely low and at that time adjustable suspensions were not into the game. From here on, cars started getting lower instead of wild body mods. Another personal car of Larry was his ’59 Cadillac, he said that he was so embarrassed by riding so high, that he drove from dealership to his buddy’s shop to get the ground scraping stance. Starting in the ’60s there came a custom Corvette and this car went through numerous iterations (many of which were done by Larry Watson) as Ron was in a constant habit of modifying his car for various car shows. Ron’s Vette is one of the documented cars with an adjustable suspension. In the mid-’60s, hydraulics started to become more common, though it was expensive and unreliable and not to mention the terrible ride. Chevy Corvair’s were wildly popular with the guys who wanted to go low. In the late ’60s as hydraulics became more popular and then significant camber told others that their car was likely juiced, now who couldn’t afford a hydro setup would just camber out of the front of their cars just to get the look. Camber for aesthetics had been born. Then there is the Euro side of things, and here it’s all about smooth bodywork, smooth engine bays, crazy offsets, low profile tires, really tight fitment on wheels, air ride suspension, and other stuff of this kind.

Applications

There are different types of stance:

Stock, this comes straight out of a factory with stock suspension, stock wheels, stock camber, showing what is called ‘wheelgap’.

Dropped, These also have stock camber and stock wheel width but they have after market coilovers or springs to lower the car.

Slammed, they have usually stock camber but have lower coilovers, chopped springs or in some cases no springs at all.

Flush, this has wide wheels with less amounts of negative camber and this sits low to the ground.

Hellaflush, these are somewhat similar to flush cars, wider wheels and low springs except the fact that they have large amount of negative camber.

Hellafail, these are extremely low with very high amount of negative camber and these are hard to drive because of the crazy modifications.

Paddiflush, these cars are low with enormous amounts of offset and wide wheels sticking out of the wheel arches.

Methods

There are two methods to stance your car – static(coil-over suspension), or non-static(Air suspension). If you’re running static, it is going with the option of keeping your car always that low: you have to set up on coil-overs or shorter springs and you need to compromise of clattering speedbumps and for the sake of look the cat-eyed appearance and above all the respect which comes with static.

Choosing a Non-static option is necessarily is air-ride(it is a generic type of suspension) or hydraulics, although there are some other halfway options too (like running air cups above your dampers). Basically your shocks and springs are replaced with airbags that are fed with an accurate amount of air required for your desired height of the car. Many of the air systems are programmable which means you can preset ride heights for different terrains.

Going the extra mile! When you are going low, your chassis is going to bang into stuff, that’s a fact. Also when you are changing or modifying your car from manufacturer specs, you may get to know that things like driveshafts, suspension components, and so on don’t fit where you want them to. And here comes the solution which is chassis notching: cutting non-structural sections. And a more extreme approach is channeling: you’d lift the body off and rework the chassis mounting points and voila- when you reattach the body it gets lower to the ground without messing the suspension.

Camber

Camber is the distance from the centerline of the wheel relative to the road’s surface and negative camber is when the top of the wheel angles inward toward the center of the vehicle and if the top of the wheel is away from the axle, it is called positive camber.

The Camber angle plays a major role in handling the qualities of suspension design. When done delicately, negative camber enormously improves the handling characteristics of the vehicle. This is done by keeping the center of the wheel perpendicular to the road when the car is turning. This is true for the outer tire while turning, the inner tire will benefit more from positive camber. Caster angle( is the angular displacement of the steering axis from the vertical axis of a steered wheel in a vehicle) can compensate this to a degree, as the top of the outer tire will tilt slightly inward and the inside tire will respectively tilt outward. When the camber angle is zero and tread is flat on the road, we can attain the greatest traction for maximum straight-line acceleration. Negative camber basically improves grip when cornering, this is because the angle made by the tire respect to road is more accurate. And transmits the force through vertical plane rather than a shear force across the tire. Accuracy of the camber angle plays a major role in suspension design. Cars with double-wishbone suspensions( it is a suspension design using two wishbone-shaped arms to locate the wheel) have the leverage of either fixed or adjustable camber angle. But in MacPherson strut suspensions(it uses top of a telescopic damper as steering pivot), it is generally fixed. Maintenance requirements may be reduced by the elimination of an available camber adjustment, but if the car is lowered by shortened springs then the camber angle will change. And excessive camber angle may lead to impaired handling and increased tire wear.

Front Camber setting

Drive LayoutSuspension TypeCamber Angle
FWDMacpherson Strut Double Wishbone2.0° 1.5°
RWDMacpherson Strut Double Wishbone2.5° 2.0°
AWDMacpherson Strut Double Wishbone2.5° 2.0°
4WDMacpherson Strut Double Wishbone1.0° 1.0°

Rear camber setting

Drive LayoutSuspension TypeCamber Angle
FWDMultilink Trailing Arm Twist Beam1.0°
1.0°
1.0°
RWDMultilink Trailing Arm Twist Beam1.0°
1.0°
1.3°
AWDMultilink Trailing Arm Twist Beam1.0°
1.0°
1.0°
4WDMultilink Trailing Arm Twist Beam0.5°
0.5°
0.5°

So the whole idea behind having wheels at crazy angles is all about how tight a fitment you can get on your car, or that you can drive the lowest out of everyone.

In Japan it is more likely to see that the rim of the wheel is literally touching the arch but in the UK and Europe, it’s more about Volkswagen and having as flush a fitment as possible. Particularly there is no one type of car for this kind of modification, every single car you can think of has been lowered with low-profile tires. So now, when someone’s building cars for various car shows or cars which make a loud roar in the modified world, they are opting for different types of cars and slamming them to make a noise.

Toe Angle

When viewed from the top, how far inward or outward the leading edge of the tire is facing is called a Toe angle. It is measured in degrees. It has a great impact on how the car reacts to steering input and at the same time on tire wear. Feathering can be seen on tire surfaces because of the aggressive toe angle. There are two types of Toe;

 Toe-In is when the leading part of the wheel is turned inwards towards the center of the car. This improves the straight-line stability of the car when traveling down the road at high speed.

Toe Out, is whenthe leading part of the wheel is turned outwards away from the center of the car. This makes the tire to separate from each other. Toe out is not recommended because it will make the car oversteer at all steering angles but in the accurate setup it can help.

Fitment

study of stance

There are mainly four different styles of fitment  which you will observe pretty much looking at any car.

  • Tucked Fitment

This involves the wheels sitting behind the fenders. This creates a magnificent look to the vehicle and wider in appearance. You can find this in tons with air suspension vehicles. Wheels are usually high offset, flat profile tires for tucked fitment, which makes sense when trying to put everything behind the fender. And if you are up for tucked fitment then you are likely going to have to roll your fenders because the metal in your fenders needs to be swoop upwards so that you will have the clearance that is needed. And a lot of stock fenders will swoop inward, preventing from applying tucked fitment.

  • Flush Fitment

Flush fitment means that the wheel is perfectly aligned with the fender and it requires very precise accuracy in measurements and can be a little tricky when going off the rails with tires/rims. This is the most common fitment from stock.  You can end up with Tucked or poke look if you got off just by few millimeters. But there are plenty of benefits: maximization of performance, lower costs, good appearance, and least controversial if you like to lay low.

  • Poke Fitment

People casually joke about how nobody deliberately ends up with poke fitment. When somebody messes up with their fitment is they end upon poke fitment but there are also legitimate users of this style and also some cars or builds which go really well with poke. In the old days, people would use giant tires on their rear wheels to run at the drag strip, leading to wheels poking outside and hence tires using by people got wider and wider. This is which lead muscle car owners to opt for this style. Poke fitment gives your car a more aggressive look but you have to look out for your suspension thrashing your fenders/tires due to them scrapping against each other.it is wiser to get a stiffer suspension so that it doesn’t tear your rear tires when you accelerate.

  • Stance Fitment 

Negative Camber is generally referred to as Stance fitment. In these the wheels are tilted to the side. This is an aesthetic fitment style, it doesn’t help with your lap times, stop light racing and curvey back road driving, but will surely turn heads when done right. You need to work on a variety of different things like camber, air suspension, toe, drivability, and adjusting to get the perfect fit.

The Parts

Running lower and wide is vital in motorsports as it lowers the center of gravity which eventually makes the car more stable and less wallowy and the width gives extra grip. This is the reason behind sports cars are low and wide too, and also why most want to emulate that stance with projects and for many modifiers, lowering a car isn’t just about showing off, but enhancing the drive.

Spring and Struts

The most economical way to lower the car is to swap the stock springs with lowering springs. And if you get progressively-wound ones then they will be soft and compliant and also firm at the same time when you are being aggressive. The advantage of having stiffer springs is you get less body roll in corners and also less compression when harshly breaking or accelerating. Next is to replace the dampers. You can opt for either adjustable dampers or Coilover units. Either way you will be able to place the height of the car right where you want it to be.

Tread carefully

Tires are the most important thing here, that’s because it’s the only part of the car in contact with the road. The negative camber angle needs to watch out, as the camber improves the grip under cornering. One can’t run slicks on the road, but Nankang AR-1 is the next big thing. Something firm, low-profile, and square-shouldered will reduce compression under cornering. Lightweight wheels reduce unsprung mass (the mass of everything not attached upwards of suspension) and hence suspension will have less work to do and performs more efficiently.

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