So What The Hellaflush Is This Stance Stuff All About

Increasingly We Hear More and More About Stance But What Exactly Is Involved and How Is It Defined?

As an import and performance enthusiast I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been genuinely confused over the last several years at this proliferation of the “Stance” movement. Maybe at 32 I’m just getting old but the logic of this “tuning” approach has been completely lost on me… So what does it mean to be “hellaflush” or “stanced”?

Subaru stanced
Jaycee Ceron’s Slant Lipped Subaru with airbag suspension, courtesy of StanceWorks

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Where to start?  The Urban Dictionary has this to say…

1. stance

(verb) – to adjust a car’s camber, ride height, and spacing, so that the sidewall of the tire sits as flush as possible with the fender/quarter panel. A common trend and style impersonated on drift and show cars alike, originating from the older Japanese domestic market.

2. stance

To destroy a cars handling abilities by having it lowered an excessive amount. Typically, the tires are tucked way inside the vehicles fenders. But in order to have a hellaflush stance and run the required excessively wide wheels with tires that are stretched just to fit onto the wheels, the car has to have an excessive amount of negative camber. If you stand behind one of these cars don’t be surprised to see the rear tires looking like “/ “. The rear tires are probably bald on the inside and the outside still looks brand new, and there’s probably only an inch of contact patch with the ground. A hellaflush stance car can’t even pull into a driveway without bottoming out and ripping the bumper off or cracking the vehicles oil pan. Some stanced cars are so extreme that you can’t even turn the vehicles steering wheel fully in either direction without the tires rubbing.

“Eric, look at that stanced car, it looks so damn retarded. I don’t understand why these kids do it, they are killing the performance and asking to get pulled over. Shit, if they get pulled over, they are gonna get deported!”

“With all that money he spent stancing his car, he could have actually made it handle well and be pretty damn quick. Instead he can’t even go over a speedbump without using 2x4s.

Ok, that was not only humorous but for the most part sounds about right, but let’s take a deeper look at what this all means and take into consideration the opinion of the requisite “stance” experts; StanceNation.

What is Stance:Nation all about?
Simply put, we are here to promote the “aggressive fitment” movement and showcase some of the latest and greatest cars that are pushing the aggressive fitment limits in one way or another. Stretched tires, low offset & wide wheels is nothing new, people have been doing it throughout Europe and Japan for decades now. So, don’t get confused, we’re not taking any credit, we’re only here to make it bigger and better.

What exactly is an Aggressive  Fitment?
When you see us use these words, we’re referring to a few things.  One would consist of negative offset wheels. Whether you’re running a crazy concave or a nice deep lip on your wheels, as long as it’s wide (usually starts at about 9″ goes up to 13″) it’s right.

StanceNation stance diagram

In order to tuck your tires inside your fenders while your rims sit flush with the fender (or poke slightly), you’re going to have to have some kind of stretched tire. Some stretch their tires more then others but at the end of the day it’s all up to the owner to decide how much he wants the rim to poke past the fender, and how much he is going to stretch that tire. Here is an example of a mild, and a somewhat Extreme stretch. The drop is about the same.

StanceNation stance diagram

Lastly, lowering, the most important thing. Your top two options are coilovers or air suspension. One of the biggest discussions is Coilovers vs. Airbags! From what we can tell (on our site/forum and various other sites) running true coilovers will get you more respect/attention if you can pull it off. One of the biggest downsides for running coilovers is being limited from driving everywhere.  With bags however, you can avoid any bumps/curbs trouble and just raise the car up and go.  At the end of the day, it really is just a personal preference.

StanceNation makes a good argument and certainly validates what it is they are looking for in stanced vehicles, a hierarhcy that places a balance of performance and appearance at the apex. We can appreciate that. So to review let’s take a look at the various stages and incarnations of “stance.”

Stance Chart

So while I can clearly appreciate the appeal of “Dropped” (8/10 of an inch can make a huge difference!) I still however have a hard time with the “Hellaflush” aesthetic approach and mind-set. No matter how you slice it, by radically playing with camber and caster you’re changing and most often severely limiting the size of your contact patch, the very design element that tire manufacturers invest millions of dollars each year into, all in an effort improve performance and longevity. Wheel gap is a miserable thing, we’ve all seen a stock Mustang and cringed before but throwing performance and safety engineering principles out the window explicitly in favor of appearance denigrates all of the hard work and legitimacy that import performance enthusiasts and tuners have accomplished over the last forty years or so. The bottom line is this, is this a fad? At this point I’m inclined to say yes. This is not to disrespect those enthusiasts that are fans, different strokes for different folks. Now having a better, broader understanding of the “Stance” movement I am however still inclined to label this a fad in no small part due to the purely aesthetic nature of the modifications.

Opinion stated, let’s take a closer look at the actual engineering principles at play here that are being altered most directly; caster and camber angle.

Camber and Caster diagram

and lastly but certainly not least, tow-in and tow-out.

tow out diagram