Monday, April 8, 2013

Praise The Lowered

Slammed. Scrapin'. Dropped. Draggin'. Dumped. Bumpin'. Bagged. There are many words that all describe the same thing... Lowered! Lowering the suspension is nothing new, gearheads  have been doing it for decades. From traditional low riders to NASCAR look-a-likes, nothing quite says cool like a slammed ride, as long as it is done right. While some cars are so low they almost seem to ooze by as if they are only floating on a thin layer of air, others navigate the road a little more freely due to their perfect stance. Stance can make or break a vehicle and achieving the perfect stance on your ride is not always easy. Stance not only includes the suspension but also the rim and tire combo. Getting those wheelwells filled just right is a crucial component of stance. For most it is trial and error but there are a few that nail it on the first try.

The stance was nailed perfectly on this Mercury.
Some folks live by the creed "low and slow is the way to go" while others equate lowness with speed. With the advent of Pro Touring came engineered lowered suspensions that were designed for speed. Pro Touring replaced Pro Street (where stance played a huge part) and took off like wild fire. Now you could look good, go fast and carve corners all at the same time. Unfortunately, I think we are starting to see the beginning of the end of Pro Touring due to the fact that the cars are just getting too serious and technical. What started out as a cutting edge trend has turned into a check book writing contest to see who can one-up who. The latest crop of Pro Touring cars are basically full blown track cars that have more in common with a race car then a street car and I see them going the same route as Pro Street cars went. Remember out outlandish they got?

Who can forget Rick Dobbertin's outragous Pro Street Pontiac J2000?

 Now-a-days you can't talk about a dropped ride without mentioning air bags. "Bagged" suspensions seemed to be all the rage for awhile, complete with on-board compressors and banks of switches that allowed for full suspension adjustment. While the versatility of these systems made them a popular choice for many, I have never viewed them as a permanent component of the suspension, mostly due to the fact that the only thing between the weight of your vehicle and the road is an air bag. I'll take a good ol' set of coil springs any day over bags, but that's just my preference.

The common thread here among all the vehicle trends is ride height, or more precisely, the lack thereof. I don't think low will ever go out of style as it is just too much of a game changer when it comes to looks. So weather you like low and slow or low and go, the big question here is, how low will you go?

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