Slammed Cars: Understanding The Different Sub-Styles Within Stance Culture

Car Culture / 12 Comments

Static, bagged, hellaflush, poke, tucked... What do all these terms mean?

Be it in a high school parking lot or at car shows of some sort, each one of us has probably come across a heavily lowered Honda Civic or something similar in our time. In fact, we've all probably seen numerous slammed cars, each with its own level of extremism. Some are lowered beyond the point of practicality, while other owners take car modification even further with slanted wheels that use a tiny percentage of the tire as a contact patch. Some have wheels extending beyond the arches, while other car enthusiasts prefer their rims hidden within the bodywork, tucked away.

Everyone has their opinion on each, but what you may not know is that each of these variations on the so-called stance culture has its own relative theme and subculture. Let's discuss the differences between the lowered car types you may encounter.

cars that look good slammed waz_tsc/Instagram

What is Stance? Slammed Cars Don't Have To Be Sports Cars

A car's stance refers to the height of the car's suspension as well as the fitment of its wheels. Therefore, the term applies to all sorts of vehicles, from a humble hatchback to a relatively tall truck, be that factory fresh or madly modified. However, when someone refers to a 'stanced' car, they're generally talking about the latter, something that has been altered after leaving the factory. While many sports cars and race cars are lowered somewhat as a means of improving handling, the slammed cars we refer to alter their height purely for aesthetics, although this can negatively impact looks when a front bumper gets destroyed by a speed bump.

Rocket Bunny
Rocket Bunny
Liberty Walk

Within the genre of stanced cars/slammed cars/lowered cars, there are different things that separate subcultures, but each is achieved safely using one of three methods: coil suspension, air suspension, or hydraulic suspension.

Static suspension refers to a setup that lowers the car using coilovers or lowering springs, for example, where the car is set at a certain height from the ground and then doesn't change while on the move. Air suspension and hydraulic suspension, on the other hand, can be adjusted on the fly. If you'd like to know more about the differences between coils and air, check out our explainer.

There are three main styles of lowered cars - tuck, flush, and poke - and then again, more subvariants within those. They all have one thing in common: the more a vehicle is lowered, the more negative camber comes into play.

cool waz_tsc/Instagram
slammed cars ferreira_m3guy/Instagram

Tuck Fitment On Slammed Cars

This is fairly simple to explain. A car with tuck fitment has its wheels literally tucked away within the arches; the wheels and tires do not extend beyond the bodywork in any way. Sometimes, depending on the platform and how much the chassis has been lowered, a car can tuck its wheels without one needing to roll the arches or cut the fender liners to create clearance for the rims and tires, but the more extreme the altitude reduction, the more work one will have to do.

There are two ways of doing this: the right way and the wrong way. Some cars have tuck fitment simply by accident because the owner did not correctly calculate offsets for their specific build before ordering their car's new shoes, but when it's done perfectly, the wheels barely miss hitting the fenders or arches by mere tenths of an inch. This requires a bit of math, but the result is a clean look that damages no bodywork (besides the undercarriage if the car is lowered too far).

This is also arguably the most comfortable kind of slammed car to drive.

slammed classic cars thelowdownco/Instagram
slammed car the.full.heat/Instagram
ground devin_m_rs3/Instagram

Flush Fitment For Lowered Cars

Flush fitment refers to a setup where the wheels and tires are perfectly in line with the bodywork, neither extending beyond the arches nor hiding within them. This is arguably the most difficult to achieve, as it, too, requires millimetric precision in your calculations relating to all levels of the suspension travel, either when selecting widths and offsets or when widening the bodywork through a body kit, bolt-on overfenders, or other custom work. Rarely does one end up with a car with flush fitment by accident.

Keep in mind that this style is possible to achieve whether the car is slammed to the ground or has its factory height. What defines the style is the position of the wheels in relation to the bodywork.

A stanced Porsche with flush fitment jedreksolinski2.0/Instagram
Slamming car thelowdownco/Instagram
Stanced cars may not always be suitable for public roads thelowdownco/Instagram

Poke Fitment On Slammed Cars

Poke fitment is where the wheels and tires physically poke out beyond the bodywork. If you've ever seen cars getting prepared for the Liberty Walk or Rocket Bunny treatment before wide-body kits have been bolted on, you'll have seen a car with extreme poke. Once the wide arches are fitted, the bodywork encloses the wide wheels, so the car's wider wheels no longer poke out.

Much like tuck fitment, poke fitment can happen by mistake. Originally, it was done intentionally to fit larger tires on muscle cars and hot rods, but it's now become its own subculture within the stance scene. It doesn't take much to achieve this - simply choose a set of wheels with a much lower offset than stock, and your wheels and tires will stick out beyond the arches. If the car is quite low, this will likely result in serious rubbing over bumps, but if there's enough suspension travel, poke fitment can mean better handling and performance thanks to a wider track. Whether it looks good or not is up to your personal taste.

The term is also used to describe fitment of an excessively stretched tire, causing the wheel to poke out beyond the sidewall.

Fuel Garden
wider wheels grantpeffer/Instagram
Detaiing World Forum
sports car Stance Nation

Other Terms In Slammed Car Culture

Whatever one of the above sects of stance you ascribe to, there are tons of terms you may hear in the scene. Here are a few descriptions to get you up to speed:

Bagged: A car with air suspension, like the recent Liberty Walk Ferrari F40.

Static: A car with fixed suspension that cannot be adjusted on the fly.

Hellaflush: This is a style of stance where the wheels are aggressively cambered and the top of the rim still just about aligns with the top center of the wheel arch.

Hellafail: A more extreme take on hellaflush. Here, the wheels feature excessive negative camber and the contact patch of the tire is minimized so much that any form of driving feels ridiculously unstable. This wears out hubs and bearings much more quickly than any other form of stance, requiring creative custom fabrication and unique suspension components.

Liberty Walk
Liberty Walk
Liberty Walk's stance Ferrari F40 on bags Liberty Walk

Fender to lip: Typically seen on (but not limited to) bagged cars, this refers to the fender dropping directly onto the wheel lip or stopping a millimeter or two above it at maximum compression.

VIP: A severely lowered big-body sedan (usually running hellaflush, fender-to-lip, or otherwise cambered fitment) featuring VIP accents like flagpoles, rear seat tables and screens, curtained windows, and heavily tinted windows. Three-piece chrome wheels are usually a staple, and the car itself is almost always painted black. A luxury car from Japan, like a Lexus GS or Toyota Century, could qualify, but a Merc S-Class could too. An Audi A4 would not.

Drifting style: Where the front wheels are more cambered than the rears. This has real benefits in for race cars, but some owners pursue the look purely for aesthetics.

At the end of the day, each type of slamming comes down to personal choice, and each owner believes they have their own take on automotive perfection.

ground Stance Nation
japan VIP Modular Wheels
race car ferreira_m3guy/Instagram
japan ryo_photograph0105/Instagram
stand ryo_photograph0105/Instagram

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