From The Outside: StanceNation NorCal

It was almost exactly two years ago on a cold, damp day in California’s Bay Area when I first met Elvis Skender.

I was shooting my first-ever roll of film, Kodak Gold 200, with my grandfather’s trusty old Nikon FE2. I don’t remember why I was in town — a job interview or something equally unmemorable — but I saw that there was a big Toyo sponsored event happening nearby. Seeing that I was still going to school up north, and keen to get a look at a proper meet as there was no such thing where I was living, I made time for the event.

It’s funny looking back at these pre-Speedhunting times as I really had no idea who I was meeting or even what I was really looking at when I showed up to a parking lot dominated by low-down Japanese and European cars. As you’ve likely discovered, I often still don’t have any idea what I’m on about, but that’s beside the point.

A certain Lexus rolled into a spot and the owner stepped out, looking back at his LS400 after air suspension leveled the car onto the tarmac. I rushed up and introduced myself, excitedly asking a few questions about the build.


“Nice to meet you, I’m Elvis… Yeah, it’s an LS400,” the owner answered with a smile. It was a completely unexceptional interaction, almost forgettable. But looking back on this moment, a notable dynamic was at play; Elvis and his car were famous. And yet there was no ego involved in this conversation, no arrogance, and not even an iota of irritation that I didn’t know who he was.

It wasn’t until later when I realized that I’d met StanceNation‘s founder that I really appreciated the way he acted — like any other guy, happy to share his passion with someone new to the scene. This mutual respect should be the status quo, but I’m sure we’ve all experienced the pride that so often comes with popularity in any culture, cars or otherwise.


Regardless, this quick and simple exchange always stuck with me in the back of my mind. Having previously only enjoyed StanceNation through Dino’s eyes at their shows in Japan — along with various other coverage of events across the States — it was high time to get an inside perspective.

[You can find a full feature, shot in Las Vegas in 2013, on the LS400 here.]


Last weekend, my wife and I cruised over the Santa Cruz mountains and revelled in the atmosphere of something we typically don’t enjoy all that much: a static car show.

It’s pretty obvious who was at the San Mateo County Event Center for StanceNation as opposed to whatever other events were happening on Sunday, and before we even made it inside I found myself snapping away.


The show itself is was full of pleasant surprises, and was just big enough that you could reasonably spend all five hours taking in the details of the cars. At the same time, it wasn’t so huge where you feel rushed or — like I often feel at SEMA — hopeless with the realization that you can’t see it all.

Still, I’m sure we missed at least a few cool builds. We also caught up with dozens of friends we hadn’t seen in ages, spotted number of cars we’ve featured in the past, and found a few more to set up in the coming days.


On the way out I had to grab a few more shots of the random goodness I found scattered through the parking lot. Proper coverage from inside the show is on its way, but I couldn’t help but share this little anecdote that’s stayed with me over the years.

A good attitude can make all the difference, a fact I ought to take to heart.

Trevor Yale Ryan
Instagram: tyrphoto



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I've had a pretty similar experience with a BMW enthusiasts club here in South Africa. A few friends and I traveled half the country, before we got into college, just to watch the ultimate national BMW drag day where drivers from all provinces gather to race. I met so many brilliant people in one day, that I established friendships which turned into people becoming like family and have now even become one of the regional and national events coordinators.

It's become an important part of my life, all because of the welcoming social interactions of others. I built up on my photography skills, and even improved on my own previously socially awkward self through our events. I've been to places and been in cars I never thought I'd even see through it

The effect of a simple conversation and impression that an event with like-minded people can have is highly understated. It's been 5 years now, and I now see this club as a part of my everyday life

I've related so much to this article, because just like you, whilst shooting, I had an interaction with a driver/coordinator on the day. I was randomly approached by him, as he was also into photography, gave me some great tips and even whilst in the queue for the next run, walked me through some of them

Interactions like these are great for helping the future of the car scene, instead of just washing somebody's curiosity aside. It's led me to approaching people in the same way, and hopefully those small conversations lead on to a spread of people doing the same. Secrecy kills the car scene, whilst good-natured conversation can help achieve greatness within it


I know exactly what you mean. Like I mentioned in the story, car shows aren't really my thing but it's the people at the shows (and behind them) which really make it what it is. Thanks for sharing your experience, I'm sure it resonates with everyone here.

connor kennedy

I have always been a muscle car guy because they are very original. These gorgeous machines can tickle the soul. while they can still look mean enough to kick in the crotch


Plenty of people think all muscle cars look the same and that everyone has been modifying them the same way for years. It just depends what you're into (I own a '66 Mustang which I daily drove for a few years, btw).

And for what it's worth, StanceNation's founder Elvis built a 6th gen Charger before he had the Lexus -


My god that LS400 is so beautiful. I hope to one day build something like that, on bags, and with a 6 speed manual swap just for lols. That car honestly deserves its own feature one day, bc I keep seeing it pop up on my IG feed often.


Yeah it's such an incredible build. Larry featured it on here back in 2019, I'll link it in the story.


Too bad he sold it a while back, one of my favorite "stance" oriented cars out there


Hey guys, I recently acquired a 1990 Nissan 300ZX, does anybody know where I could get a nice good looking widebody kit for it?


I would personally recommend the TwinZ kit. I'll have a spotlight on a car running one of their kits posted here soon, keep an eye out. I think the only place you can get one in the US is Z1 Motorsports out of Atlanta.


Alright, I will check it out, thank you so much


Trev/Other posters:

I've been a "car guy" longer than anyone(I'm sure) on this site! I'm 59 years old. Grew up with REAL muscle cars...Chevelles, Novas, Corvettes, Camaros, Cudas, GTXs, etc. Been into German cars for over 20 years. Really like some JDM cars but JDM people seem to think JDM cars were invented by God or something. Don't understand what that is about. That Lexus just looks stupid to me. It's too big and what do cars with those crazy wheels ride/drive like? Don't the tires wear out prematurely 'cause only part of it is on the asphalt? And isn't it dangerous? And how do they go through inspection? Trying to understand...


"invented by god." Do you muscle car guys not act the same way about what you're into? I go to as many domestic car shows as I do foreign because I love it all. I wear my Shelby shirt to a tuner show or Concours and no one says a thing, but when I wore an "I love Honda" shirt to Goodguys, camera in hand so I could capture some of that gorgeous metal, I had several people yell "ricer" at me.

JDM cars are simply the performance cars of our youth in the same way that muscle cars are of yours. Just look at what America was doing in the late '80s and '90s compared to Japan and Europe. Out of the box, our offerings were crap. They looked boring, had these massive engines that made NO power, and the suspension did little more than keep the car off ground as it drove along (god help you if you tried to throw it into a corner). That's hardly what kids are going to daydream about. Meanwhile, Japan was churning out cars like the NSX, FD RX-7, Skyline GT-R, and rally-bred sedans that did it all from the factory. As for stance... it's just like lowriders, rat rods, slammed pickups, etc. It's all for show, for those people that only care about looking a certain way. Not everyone's going to be interested solely in going fast in a straight line, but if you know about stance, surely you're aware of the import drag scene with its 2,000hp GT-Rs and 6-second four-cylinder Hondas.


Dave, that was a lot of info you dropped on me there man! Didn't know any of that. I'm REALLY into German cars and have been for little over 20 years. I think JDM cars appeal to a younger segment of the car scene. I would NEVER scream/say anything to someone wearing a shirt at a car show. That person is just stupid/mental. I have been into Formula 1 for over 20 years. Don't think ANYTHING can touch F1! Not a speed freak either. Unless you're at Bonneville Salt Flats. Think as people get older their mentality changes. Something you thought was cool at 25 is now dumb when you read 40. Young people have their thing. Older people have their own thing. But I am sticking with the JDM cars are the best" of everything mentality because I see it where I live. Everybody driving a Honda thinks they're a race car driver. Yes I know GTR'S are highly tunable 'cause my buddy's brother worked for GTR tuner in Columbia, Maryland. To each his own. Thanks for the info. Was never into video games.


I know where you're coming from David #1, but as David #2 said the 80s-00s we're pretty awful for American cars. A couple exceptions, but not enough drool-worthy stuff.

The same way you feel about these cars is how many feel about what you're into: impractical, unsafe, unreliable, unrelatable, slow (around a corner anyway).

It all depends on perspective and what spoke to you in your formidable years and how driving the cars and the culture around them makes you feel.

Btw, I own a 66 Mustang I daily drove for three years and a 99 Miata which I drove for two years and just sold. On the fence about what's next, but it'll likely be 90s and Japanese...


Oh, and video games blew up in the late '90s and early '00s. Video games about street and circuit racing, where Japanese cars were more often than not the heroes.


Hella trill, fam


I had a lots of fun just hanging in the parking lot. Met lots of youngsters in the game. It was great to share what I’ve built over past 4 years. Thank you for included me. Good vibes.
Gold s13 @rickoslife


Really looking forward to reading more


I see the Illiminate crew made the cover photo. I've been subscribed to their channel for a long time and I have the biggest respect for them for how hard they work to get what they want.


Who's Mustang is that? That thing looks sick!