10 Years Defiant: Fitted Lifestyle 2019

It’s been 10 years since stance, aggressive fitment, Hellaflush, stupidity – whatever you prefer to call it – began to gain mass appeal among the global automotive community.

Powered by social media, in very short order everything low and wide became all but inescapable on both the internet and the streets.


Rising like a star, detractors were quick to write the whole thing off as a passing fad, something that would fall twice as quickly as it climbed.

However, as one year stretched to two, two to three, and three to five, it became clear that the unique styling approach wasn’t going to go anywhere.


I love low vehicles, full stop. No shame, no excuses. That said, even I am somewhat in awe of not only the genre’s longevity but continued evolution.

Automotive culture moves quickly and often unpredictably, so I’d assumed something else would come along to steal the spotlight before the odometer rolled over to 10.

Name almost any popular aftermarket automotive event and somewhere on the premises there’s likely to be a car with wide wheels, polished lips, and a few under carriage battle scars. Defiantly, it continues to be an inescapable aesthetic.


So this year while I was at the Fitted Lifestyle’s 10th anniversary event, I attempted to observe exactly why this community continues to thrive where others have waned.


The forecast for the 10-year shindig was grim to say the least. Weather is the uncontrollable variable that can tarnish any event, but the popularity and anticipation of Fitted prevailed in the end and attendance was still quite good. It was another reminder of how devoted this community is.


Even vehicles that had just been completed – like this Florida-imported S124 wagon – made the trek knowing full well another entire detail would be required immediately afterward.

So again I was left wondering why – why do events like these receive the support they do?


Well, as Sara and Trevor touched on during their trip to StanceNation NorCal earlier this year, accessibility plays a large part of it. As cars become more technologically advanced, working on them beyond the superficial becomes quite the challenge for your average garage warrior. Some venture forth undeterred, others turn to classics, while many simply stay within the realm of style.

Still, I think there’s a little more to it than just simple convenience.


The organizers of events like StanceNation and Fitted have done an exceptional job of building and embracing the community around their events. They’ve created something people want to be a part of.

Operating on an approval model each year, cars need to meet a certain criteria to be accepted. This criteria is subjective and the concept might seem divisive, but it really isn’t.


Venues have a fixed amount of spaces, so obviously some – not everyone – can get premier parking. Being accepted is seen as a sort of badge of honor, a small appreciation for the effort a builder has put into their car so far.


On the flip side, those who don’t make it often take the rejection in stride, attending the event anyway to see what they have to do next year to be included.

It provides a goal to work towards as they continue to modify their car, focusing on the most minute of details while also working on the bigger picture.

This system generally keeps things ever progressing year after year. Combine approvals with everything else that makes a show great – music, R/C drifting, friends, family – and you’re left with an event many just won’t miss.


At least that’s my take. I’d love to hear yours.

Taking It All In

Philosophical musings aside, Fitted’s 10th anniversary event was made up of a varied mix of vehicles.


With an event focused on wheel fitment, you’re going to end up with cars that sit on the more extreme edge of the spectrum. These are the cars that generate knee-jerk reactions and endless social media debate due to their aggressive wheel and camber specs.

Typically, the owners know the shit-storm these cars will cause and revel in it to some degree.


Where there’s yin there’s also yang, and on the other side of the spectrum there were plenty of cars that struck a more harmonious balance between wheel width, ride height and camber settings.


Aired out, this W108 Mercedes-Benz 280 SEL lives right up to its cheeky vanity plate. At ride height, things return to a much more reasonable alignment spec.


I thought the custom, owner-built split wheels were magnificent and keeping the interior as true to factory form as possible was a downright excellent choice.

Knowing when not to add anything is sometimes just as important as knowing when to add.


Playing a game of subtleties is not for everyone, however, as I would soon learn when I was lured outside of the building by the distinct sounds of a 2JZ just below limiter.

Following my ears, I noticed that neither of the two cars with crowds around them should have been making the noises they were.

SR20-powered Mercedes-Benz 190E or 2JZ-powered Hyundai Genesis – which do you think would be more fun to drive at a venue of your choice?

Here’s To 10 More

Will Fitted Lifestyle and ‘stance’ in general make it another 10 more years? It’s honestly hard to say.

Not helping the cause is the fact that some municipalities are already cracking down on certain modifications through legislation. The law being at odds with modifications is nothing new of course, so time will ultimately tell, but getting your plates pulled is a bit of a logistical hassle.


As much as I wish I did, I don’t have a crystal ball, and thus no way of telling the future.

But if I were a betting man, I’d say hate it or love it, the scene is here for both a good time and a long time.

Dave Thomas
Instagram: stanceiseverythingcom

Cutting Room Floor


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A lot of it is just down to personal preference, until it starts being stupid like the BRZ and S2000.

When you start compromising safety by having such a small contact patch, you endanger everyone around you, and that's just not cool.


Excessive horsepower has killed far more people than excessive camber


I agree, but a lot of high-budget show cars aren't driven on the street anyway.I


So what's the point in building a car that can't be driven, only looked at? The whole 'stance' scene is just a bit immature; the look-at-me stickers, the way the cars that actually are driven crash and rattle down the street. Some of the cars in the feature are legitimately cool, like the Merc, but the rest are clown cars.


Whats the point in fashion? What is the point in paintings.

The answer is the same as your question, because people like it. Stop trying to tell people what to do and how to do as its their choice and not yours.

Ivor the Engine Driver

I'm not telling anyone what to do with their cars. I'm just telling the stance crowd they have shit taste in car mods.


Yeah, no. I can still call out high fashion for being total unwearable bullshit. In fact 'fashion' is quite a nice little analogy for the whole stance movement, they're all wearing the emperor's new clothes.


I still don't really understand the whole stance thing to be honest. They look totally undriveable, like they got dropped flat from high height and just snapped everything in half. On a side note, that Golf rockin the Mercedes-Mclaren SLR wheels. Wonder how much those cost?


Not SLR wheels. Mercedes Alphards. Not too expensive.


"Stay Tuned. Relaunch coming soon"


They switched to events basically. But I think this year is the last FCF so who knows. SN on the other hand is running along gangbusters.


It's all good, its surprising to see what different people like & dislike,.. at least there is an outlet for it - it would be a shame to lose it!


Stancing. Proof that idiocy has the numbers on it's side.


I have no problem with low, but the crazy excessive camber is dangerous and does nothing for ride, handing, or safety.


I actually am inclined to agree that camber of late is getting quite excessive. I think eventually things will come back around to a middle ground.


come on Dave, you know that the majority of those cars are not driven on Canadian roads. The potholes would rip out a corner, then there is the constant construction in southern Ontario with protruding manhole covers and ground up asphalt. Then we can get around to the OPP who love these cars, mainly because of the number of tickets that they can hand out when they pull one over.

Why do people actually think that cars with excessive camber are driven on roads regularly? Driving a car like that would lead to massive repair bills and not to mention huge maintenance costs (bearings anyone?) and that's even before we get to the police who are just looking for reasons to collect more revenue.


You'd be surprised. I know some of the cars in this post are driven fairly regularly in the summer. Some were trailered sure, but many driven in.

The black LS400 with the VIP plates for example drove in from Detroit, and it's static. The red civic also drives to and from the event every year.

But yeah OPP does pull a few plates every year. A few years ago they pulled plates at this event in fact.


define fairly regularly please, I mean daily? weekend warriors?

For me, i consider regular use to be a daily driver. If someone is just driving it to shows or sometimes on the weekends then it isnt regular, i also consider regular use to be at least 3 season use as well.

That also ties in to giving the OPP more opportunities to pull them over.

To bring it around to another genre of cars, there are unsafe things ive seen done to American muscle or rat rod cars that are driven on the street (like skinny fronts) that get nowhere near the amount of hate that
onikyan gets. Maybe its because people understand that those cars (ratrods, and american drag cars) are not driven daily or even regularly enough to make a significant statistical change in risk for anyone else on the roads but i do find it amusing the different levels of hate given that they have similar tire contact patches.

Either way, they hated ricers, then they hated the euros for stretch and poke and now its camber. It all reminds me of another post on here (i think you wrote the words) about people hating on other people as a way to make themselves feel better. Live and let live i say and if i see an unsafe vehicle driving on the roads i give it lots of space, "saftey third" - Mike Rowe

Ivor the Engine Driver

To bring it around to another genre of cars, there are unsafe things ive seen done to American muscle or rat rod cars that are driven on the street (like skinny fronts) that get nowhere near the amount of hate that onikyan gets.

Could be because they are nowhere near as stupid.


Weekend/evening drivers yeah. But most of the diehard static guys tout the drivability of their vehicles. Some "claim" daily and while I have my doubts I'm not about to follow them around and prove it one way or another. I know this car in particular gets spotted fairly often: https://www.instagram.com/86senseii/

Live and let live for sure, I've recognized that I'm the older dog in this crowd and try to not be a curmudgeon about it.

Ivor the Engine Driver

How much fun can driving a car like that be? What's the top speed on city streets, 30 kph? And how long does it take to stop from that lofty top end? And if you can get it stopped, how long before your eyeballs stop vibrating?


Most mods on a street car that that 'helps' ride or handling are pointless. Why not hate on them?
Removing airbags for 'better' steering wheels and bucket seats aren't safe, why not hate on them?
Installing turbos and go-fast mods to get to the next red light first but gives your car more problems? 'Pointless' too.


Being 'pointless' is very different from being unsafe.

Your point about airbags and seats, from my point of view is they only effect the person whose car it is, so they can do as they please. Excessive camber has the possibility to effect everyone on the road around you, and that's the issue.


I hate stancing. Full stop. No excuses.


More of that Mazda Protege!


Here's the owners instagram:



That guy in the main photo is just having the biggest sniff of SR20 goodness in that Mercedes!


I want to see a feature on the W108. That car is perfect.


Dully noted :)


>building cars for instagram likes


As long as young people drive cars, there will be slammage. Whether you're young chronologically or young at heart, rolling low means living in the moment, and there's something great about that, as silly and compromising as it certainly feels sometimes. "Low" has always been a lifestyle that celebrates today, rather than worrying about tomorrow.

Federico Barutto

I don’t and can’t find cool a car so low that scrapes on flat tarmac and with so much camber that a small dot of rubber is the only contact patch. I find them ridiculous in a bad way, and a waste of money. But I agree that everyone has his personal tastes.
Anyway, I like cars made for street and track use, so I like a functional stance: a bit lowered and with the right little amount of camber. That to me is what enhances the aesthetic of a car if we speak about the stance.