If you’re into cars, you’ve probably heard something about the “Lowered Lifestyle,” or at least seen vehicles where the edge of a car’s or truck’s rims are tucked so closely beneath the fenders that you could barely slip your driver’s license in between them. What’s up with that?
To answer that question, we met up with Matt Phillips, the guru behind the Lowered Lifestyle website to find out more about this growing contemporary subculture—and its appeal. From the get-go, it became clear that Matt is addicted to the lifestyle. “At 3:00 a.m.,” he confesses with a laugh, “my very understanding girlfriend will tell me to give it a rest and stop working on my car or my website. I will have completely lost track of time.”
On the surface, the car stance movement is pretty straightforward. DIY’ers work on their vehicles to achieve tight fitment through the tweaking of suspension—that’s why you see such a tiny gap between wheels and fenders. Some people accomplish this through air suspension, where the air pressure is adjusted so that the car can be raised and lowered; sometimes the car is lowered so much that the vehicle isn’t drivable until it’s partially raised again. Other people go a cheaper route, using shortened springs, which aren’t adjustable.
This simple explanation doesn’t begin to cover the many creative ways that people accomplish their goals. For that, check out the amazing shots of cars with lowered suspension found on Lowered Lifestyle. “There’s a real thrill in doing something new with your car that’s never been done before,” Matt explains.
The car stance movement is more than a group of people working on vehicles.
It’s a real family, and the environment is welcoming and empowering.
“In one way,” Matt says, “this movement is obviously about cars. In another way, it isn’t at all. It’s about friendships.”
Matt points out the diverse groups that come together in stance, from a young guy with not much pocket change doing interesting things to his ride, to an older enthusiast who has the income to transform the most expensive of vehicles. “Bottom line, though,” Matt says, “is that everyone invests blood, sweat and tears.”
People reach out to help one another in this movement. Matt remembers how, in high school, he was the guy who didn’t know how to change his own oil and so he’d have to ask a friend to help. Now, Matt is at the center of the car stance movement, with a growing Facebook page that includes nearly 12,000 “Likes,” just a few months after launching. Ironically, through Facebook, he met up again with the same high school buddy who used to change his oil.
At car shows, like the upcoming SimplyClean4, people don’t compete with each another. The car culture is not about who has the nicest set of wheels. It’s about a passion for the projects.
Where is this contemporary subculture is going?
After a few years of stagnation, Matt started noticing a real change in the movement. People used to focus on creating crazy paint jobs and installing giant sound systems. Now, a classier, more understated look is popular in these cars with lowered suspension, but it’s hard to know what will happen next. “Just when I think the outer limit of what’s possible in stance has been reached, someone thinks of a brand-new way to work with suspension, or finds a fresh way to take wheels that should be way too big for a car, and makes them work.”
Editor’s note: The car stance movement is all about doing it yourself—and choosing just the right quality auto parts to make it happen. Find what you need at Advance Auto Parts today.