Friday, September 19, 2014

Hot flushes - Ramiz Isaacs’ MK5 on Air


Rosey, one of those cars that really no amount of photos can really do justice to how amazing she really is. Ramiz often refers to her as his baby, even though this might be cliche in most instances but in Ramiz’s case it almost literally is. He pampers this car with more products than he uses to take care of himself. He has special allocated times in his weekly routine just to spend time waxing and detailing every little corner and curve. So setting the tone to the amount of love put into this car we bring you the journey Ramiz and this MK5 have taken.


In March 2006 Ramiz was in search of a 2002 Audi S3 but he felt that the prices were still slightly too high and might as well search for a MK5 instead. He went to his local dealership and the only colours they had were white or black but he had his heart set on red and placed a special order and decided to wait it out a few months and finally in September, Rosey had arrived.


Before Rosey even was close to arriving in South Africa, Ramiz had already purchased a variety of parts that would make this MK5 his own. These included Reiger front spoiler and splitters and 18” Work Euroline SL 2-piece split rims and H&R lowering springs.


In 2008, Ramiz decided to get a bit more serious with his MK5 and ordered his air suspension as well as a set of 19” Work VS-XX 3-Piece wheels and opted to go for the Bag-over-coil setup. Ramiz being a member and prowling every informative MK5 forum online resulted in him having the know of every ins and outs on a MK5. This resulted in him being way ahead of the MK5 Game in South Africa (SA), namely because he is the first bagged MK5 in SA and possibly the first Volkswagen too.


Although Ramiz purchased the air suspension and wheels in 2008 it wasn’t only until 2010 where everything was actually fitted. Even with the kit laying gathering dust for two years Ramiz was still the first MK5 on Air in SA. I met Ramiz in 2010 a few months before he actually decided to fit the air suspension. I can still remember clearly picking up the VIAIR compressor and UVAir bags because this was my first time actually getting to hold one of these bad boys.


Few months after this we had a small meet up in Cape Town Stadium and when we rocked up there Ramiz was one of the first guys there and looking at is his car parked it looked unusually low. At this moment I knew he finally got the kit fitted and he totally surprised everyone at the meet up and at probably the rest of South Africa as well. We feature Rosey rocking the 19” VS-XXs a few features back along with Bob’s Static Candy White MK5.


A few years later, Ramiz got tired of this look and the inevitable search for more lows commenced. Ramiz ordered even shorter struts as well as sway bar links from Zubair Sayed (WheelsandMore in Jozi) including some wheel hardware for a current wheel project he is busy building for Rosey’s next look. 


But in the meantime he decided to refurb these 17x8.5J Work 2-piece wheels and these were done by International Rim Repair (IRR in Wynberg, Cape Town). They sprayed the centres in cream Tusk and super high polished the lips and these are held together with black powder coated assembly bolts. Finally they are wrapped up with Falken 912 Rubber, 195/40 up front and 205/40 in the rear.


So currently, this is just a temporary setup until Ramiz finally completes he’s new split wheel project. He intends to finish it for the end of this year. So stay tuned because we’ll surely bring you a feature on Rosey next wheel fitment.



Photos by: Achmat Booley
Words: Tauriq Ajam

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Nithaam Fakier’s Bagged Toyota RunX


We present to you, Nithaam Fakier’s Bagged Toyota RunX. A car that was intended to be built for speed and satisfy his need to have adrenalin piercing through his veins, ironically, it is in fact one of the cars in the South African stance scene that quite simply personifies what a stance car should ideally look like. 


Nithaam resides in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, approximately 650km from Cape Town, the ‘mother city’ of South Africa. A few of his friends and himself began a stance movement; “The Mainstream Crew”. Although separated by hundreds of kilometers, our intentions and ideologies are basically identical. 


The journey to where this car is now begins in 2012 and incidentally, Nithaam had purchased coilovers but not intended to be adjusted to ride low but ultimately to increase the handling capabilities. However, the stance bug bit him hard when he came to Cape Town to attend a local car show - King of Slam by Resistance. In an effort to compete, Nithaam turned his coilovers to its lowest. This event is what introduced Nithaam to the world of Air Suspensions, however he was not completely sold but the curiosity lingered.



In the early days of February 2014, Nithaam attended the Largest VW and Audi gathering in Johannesburg, Gauteng - VW CampFest. Nithaam professed that this was ultimately the weekend that sold the deal for him to go air suspension and leaving the event the only thing on his mind was getting his RunX fitted with air suspension. Not too long after that he missioned once again back to Cape Town. This is where his car was transformed from a static stead into one beautiful bagged RunX that quite literally took the scene to a hole new level. 




Throughout the past few years in the stance scene we have been searching for cars that will really supplement diversification and basically broaden the horizons and dimension of what South Africa has to offer to the car scene on an international level. To our dismay, our searches have often resulted in a bitter unfruitful end. However, there are a few individuals who are really destined to create something special, to do things that will create milestones and benchmarks for others to judge themselves by and strive to work towards. It does not take much to see that Nithaam is in fact one these individuals. Nithaam has set the bench mark not only in Port Elizabeth, but in South Africa as being the lowest RunX around (That statement is open to be challenged). Nithaam was adamant that without the support of his parents, his sister and his creator he would not be where he is now. Especially, when his sister would stay up until early hours of the morning to help him wash and fit new parts to his car. 



Nithaam managed to keep the whole air suspension upgrade a secret and I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to stumble across Nithaam while he was in Cape Town for just a weekend to collect his car and take it back home to Port Elizabeth. This luck was mainly due to his sister, Taybah, as she invited me to meet up with them while they were meeting some friends in Muizenburg. Realising that not many in Cape Town will be able to be of the first to shoot the lowest bagged RunX in South Africa due to the fact that  Nithaam intended to leave the next morning. I jumped on the opportunity and I managed to sweet talk him into sparing a few hours the next morning before his long journey home.





Nithaam’s RunX’s Air Suspension is controlled by an analogue dual paddle switch Airlift system and this allows for front and rear to be raised independently. The 3SDM style wheels are wrapped in 185/35/17 Nankang NS2s upfront and 195/40/17 Falken Ziexs 912s in the rear. The rubber stretched perfectly so that it sits just clear of the fenders when aired out, giving the car a full flush appearance.




It was truly a honour and we appreciate being able to feature this car, especially because we have been waiting for a while for someone to build a local stanced Toyota that will literally take the country by storm. We are excited to see the future progress of Nithaam and his projects as well as the contributions the Mainstream crew have to offer to the scene at large. 
Coincidently, today also is Nithaam’s Birthday and we hope this will be a great way to end his day! We wish you even further success and hope you bring us more stanced rides to shake up the scene!



 Photos and words by: Tauriq Ajam


Monday, September 2, 2013

Less is More

 
Not too many features ago we introduced Mila, the Bagged Mercedes Benz, from the stance capital of South Africa; Cape Town. We were lucky enough to be able to reveal the intimate and personal story on how this game changing Benz shaped its way into becoming not just a materialization of a dream but also and establish itself as one of those cars that have become a symbol of passion, love and motivation for the brand, 'CapeStance'.

By no means should this feature appear or be perceived as bias, show boating or favouritism to this car. Instead it should be acknowledged as an attempt to enlighten those individuals who do not appreciate what 'stance' is truly about, persuade those who despise the whole concept to turn the other cheek, attempt to produce something locally that can be appreciated by the nations who are basically the stance powerhouses of the globe and to get the recognition of those who have the love and appreciation of stance flowing through their veins throughout the world.



At the time when Capestance began there were no movements who were really pushing to unite the South African automotive culture. The scene was very materialistic, egotistical and self-absorbed to put it bluntly. Thesereasons are ultimately the cause for the brand, CapeStance, coming into existence. A brand made by ordinary people for the people whose primary objective (amongst other things) is to remove the negative stigmatism that is associated to automotive scene and an effort to unite the nation of stance enthusiasts. In other words, the brand sorts to improve the condition of the automotive scene at large. Ultimately, everyone who has an interest in cars will have some sort of pride in aesthetic appearance of it and this is ultimately what stance is about.

This brings us to the hugely debated questions, 'What is Stance?'

The term stance is a very subjective notion meaning that to every person the perception of what stance is will not be the same. This is mainly due to vast amount of variables or factors (suspension, wheels and tyres) that when combined produce an overall result; 'Stance'. The dictionary definition states that it is "the manner and position in which a person or animal stands.' In application to the automotive context we can conclude that it quite literally means "the manner in which your car stands." This is achieved through lowering the cars' suspension/ride height and fitment of a wheel and tyre in a certain construction. As it stands here it is quite a very broad concept and subsequently identifying that there is no real specific 'stance mould' that people seem to judge others on.

 
This whole 'stance mould' is something created by the generalizations and the extremist that have been put under the limelight for it sheer ground breaking efforts. But this does not mean that in order to have some sort of stance that you need to push the boundaries to a point where the car becomes unpractical and an inconvenience to drive. Don't get me wrong, there are those who can live pushing those boundaries daily, endlessly swerving for potholes, '45'ing' those infamous speed bumps and avoiding those pestily law officials. If it wasn’t for these individuals there would be little to no progression in the scene. At the same time on the opposite side of the spectrum you have guys who also believe in the smae ideaology that lowering the suspension and fitting a wheel to a car will ultimately make the car a bit more personal and defined. Who is to say just because they are not at the extremes that their car does not have some sort of stance?

This being said, don’t be hasty in assuming that im saying that anything that is lowered and fitted with a wheel is 'stanced'. This will be the complete reverse effect of what this post is trying to achieve. It all boils down to your parts and final execution to these stance builds and projects that have been unveiling themselves. As well establishing a certain minimum standard such that at maximum 5mm space between the tyre and the arch amongst other things.
This finally brings me to the title of this post, "Less is More". This time old expression has become increasingly accurate and appropriate as time progress and the era of simplicity dawns upon is. It’s more than a decade that has passed since the day when the first 'Fast and the Furious' film was release and brought about the wave of extreme modifications and ideology that more things you have on your car the more 'street cred' or 'scene points' you tally up. This fad has DIED HARD and has been replaced with the notion of 'OEM+' era.
 
OEM+ is a simplistic concept where by car is style based on original equipment manufacturer (OEM) the agents of certain official and reputable brands be it big brands like VW, BMW and Honda, etc or the specific tuning houses specifically focused on designing parts and accessories for that brand such VW Racing, Schnitzer, Mugen, etc (respectively) with a bit of a twist (aftermarket suspension and wheels). This OEM+ concept was developed mostly because the brands have such a large scope of business the usually maintain and demand a certain level of quality in the products produced. This means that no matter what you purchase, it will be of a quality product and subsequently when adding it to your vehicle you are not deteriorating the quality/workmanship of the car in its entirety. This is because it was developed on the same level of quality as that of the rest of the car or close to it. (For example this is what occurs when you fit a custom body, bonnet or lights that were manufactured in a small shop somewhere in someone’s workshop or backyard in order to make a quick buck. When fitting these parts your vehicle's overall appearance will substantially decrease in aesthetic quality, value and integrity). Therefore, the LESS UNNECESSARY modifications are added the MORE appealing it will be and this includes POINTLESS stickerbombs.

Now that we have an understanding on the overall concept of simplicity of the aesthetic/appearance is briefly defined, the next crucial aspects would be cover is the suspension, wheels and tyre situation.

With regards to suspension there are many ways to 'skin the cat', it all boils down to personal preference and the applicable budget. The Three common options are; Cut springs, Coilovers or Air Ride.

The most cost effective and not recommended is Cut springs, you achieve the visually satisfying drop on the suspension but generally the driving experience is a nothing short of unpleasant. This could be done from a little as nothing as your time spent on grinding them done or up to R600/1000 at local suspension specialist.
The most common application in SA would be coilover suspension, which is where a lowered shock and spring are designed and manufactured as one unit with thread on the shaft on the shock in order to adjust the right height. The prices vary from R4 500-R19 000.
The latest craze in South Africa is Air Ride; this is where springs are replaced with rubber bags that are filled with air through a compressor and air tank which is installed in the boot. The ride height of the vehicle may be adjust at anytime at a flick of switches inside the vehicle. The minimum amount on these systems cost R15 000 and can go up to R55 000.
Either of these three forms should take you to a point where there is little to no wheel gap between the tyre and fenders. The more it tucks the better it is.


Regarding the wheels and tyres application. Personally, I consider this aspect to a stance build as the make or break aspect. This is mostly because of the OEM+ styling keeping things so minimalistic that wheel choice plays such a pivotal role as it ultimate dictates the look and feel of the car that will distinguish from other models alike. Seeing that there is so much lying on this aspect it needs to be done proper and with the utmost attention to detail. Anyone can go into an aftermarket wheel store and select a set Lenso BSX or Rotiform BLQ Replica, yes they might be nice wide and give that stretch and stance you want. But at the end of the day, how much effort, thought and real dedication has it taken for you to achieve this? Not really that much if you think about.

Saying this, we hear many people saying "everyone has bsxs" and "that dude bought the same wheel as me". Clearly a sign of disappointment at the lack of exclusivity. But do you really expect to get exclusivity from buying things that are readily available off the shelves? Yes, that suites your budget then in that case just keep your wheel choice fresh and alternate and don’t expect to have that look 'patented'. I make this statement because throughout the nation there are guys selling legitimate original wheels. Some that were produced in 80s and 90s. Wheels commonly known as split rims (3 piece and 2 piece) and cast wheels. Wheels that you don’t see very often. These are the wheels that will ultimately separate your car from the rest for not that much of a price difference. Of course they are going to cost more than your average replica wheels cause at the end of the day "you get what you pay for".

We all know that everyone has financially difficulties and priorities and some have better situation than others, this should not be a hindering factor and is in fact a petty excuse. I know people who are making things happen on student budgets and really do sacrifice a lot in order to get what they want. Thats a true sign of dedication, passion and how driven they really are. The amount of money people spend on replica wheels is so close to original/legitimate wheels (even though second hand, nothing a refurb can’t solve) that it doesnt make sense why they are complaining.
There are countless individuals saying that splits are so expensive and can’t find a proper wheel. I say this based on a personal experience, where recently a set of 4x100 16" x 7J, 3 piece, Compomotive CXN, split rims was put up for sale for R8000 negotiable. Wheels that when refurbed can fetch up to R10 000. The seller was willing to negotiate quite generously but there was no real interest in them and I was shocked as there was so many enquiries for 4x100 splits and not one those individuals came forward to actually being 50% serious in purchasing them. All I'm trying emphasize is that guys claim to be interested in achieving results and want something to stand out. But when the opportunity comes to bite the bullet everyone suddenly cant put their money where their mouths are. This was an opportunity that was handed on a silver platter; the wheels could really be purchase for something close to replica money. Perhaps the fundamentals to achieving a good build is not clear enough?

Yes, they are a bit narrow, but nothing a 165 45 16 Nankang can’t solve. They will stretch a perfect amount and would just complete any car. This brings me to the next commonly execution that I have been seeing done wrong way more times than I would have like to have seen. The "Tyre Choice", this is something particularly difficult in our country as we have a pretty restricted tyre selection.
A few things that need to be noted; firstly, that the lower the profile the tyre the more the rim itself will be emphasized. The highest profile you ever want to fit if you really working a budget is a 50 profile. Secondly, any wheel 14 and small you are going to struggle to find low profile tyres for cheap, so just don’t buy wheels in those sizes if you want stretch. Therefore stick to 15s and up, it’s the safest option.

A website that I have found that has been extremely useful in all our planning of wheel builds/fitments is TyreStretch.com.This site will allow you to search for almost any tyre and wheel combination and give you sample pictures to see if that will give you the desired look you seek to achieve.

Based on what has been said above we hope that this feature of Mila just strengthens our point that "the legit wheels are the only way forward!". As it ultimately defines and personalizes the appearance and obviously not to forget the overall stance. Take this feature and the one done a few months ago and compare them and one can clearly see that through a mere wheel change it transforms the car into something abit more special.
That being said, it’s pretty straight forward to achieve some clean results and I hope this has clarified most of the misconceptions and there are many aspects which I haven’t dealt with in detail as I don’t want to over load the content and kept straight to the point. - Keep it simple, but effective! In the next few weeks we will be doing features focusing on certain aspects of stance in particular. But we hope that these 3 simple aspects will be a great foundation. Namely: 1.Oem+ 2. Wheels and tyres 3. Ride height, because "Less is More".

If any of this has left you curious, or interested in any stance orientated products (wheels, tyres, coilovers and air suspension) feel free to email us and we will gladly assist you! Those Compomotives are still up for grabs, if anyone is interested in them contact us!
Photos: Achmat Booley
Video: Lorenzo Lakay (CasualSociety.co.za)
Words: Tauriq Ajam

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Good Cars, Good Food, Good Vibes

A couple of weekends ago we hookup with our good buddies at Casual Society and had an awesome "Stance Saturday". They made a video of the day; its something to emphasize embrace the unity amongst brands and cultures amongst the stance scene. Hope you enjoy!



Video: Lorenzo Lakay

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Unicorn

 
Noor Abrahams' VW Golf Mk3 GTi 3-door
This particular MK3 is no ordinary Golf GTI, although the MK3 is notably the underdog out of all the GTi models to date. This particular one stands out, not only because of it being a rare to SA soil but also due to the extremely particular and finicky nature of its owner, Mr Noor Abrahams.
 
 
Around 2006 I was introduced to Noor, by a friend of mine Raees Amien (12Twentyfour). Walking into Noors' garage and home for the first time was like opening a personal biography, as his home is a true reflection of his MK3 and VW love and his finicky or OCD tendencies so to say. The white golf featured here, stood in this very parking spot above for countless years to date and back then it stood alongside a beautiful Maroon MK3 Jetta VR6, Wolfsburg Edition. Both these cars were immaculately taken care of. Any panel or imperfection was instantaneously swopped out for brand new OEM parts from the VW agents. Walking past the two ladies, only the golf being wrapped up under a German imported car cover (which is softer than most people's underwear) as the Jetta was used more often than not. I was confronted by some of the OEM TT "Fat Five" wheel setup that was just gathering dust. However, the Jetta is now replaced by a MK5 Golf GTI. Entering his home, you are welcomed with this clinically clean feel and unusually neat arrangement of furniture and it was dressed with some personal canvas prints of his works of art. Immediately I could tell that this MK3 was no stroke of luck, it's just an extension of the personality and passion that is hidden in the mind of Noor Abrahams. This car is one of those cars that are basically on of the unicorns of the local scene, mostly because she is kept safe undercover and garaged most of its life. Hardly ever coming out if the weather is a bit overcast or if there is going to be a chance of only find a tight parking spot. So getting to feature this fine example of a MK3 was really an honour.
 
 
The Following are words from Noor himself:
 
"I always wanted a 3-door Golf ever since I became friends with the owner way back when I was in high-school with a German dude by the name of Hans who came to study in SA and brought along his 1989 Golf Mk2 GTi 16v in oak green complete with BBS RS 15in alloys.

After a hunt for a few years, and a serious search for 1year, I managed to come across a guy on the
VWClub.co.za forum who owned an immaculate 1996 Golf GTi 8v in black complete with sunroof but no aircon. After much negotiating he informed me he will contact me when he is ready to sell as he must keep the car for 24months on his name. At the 23rd month I contacted him and was informed this car was already sold. I felt really upset although that soon changed when the same guy informed me he still has a white mk3 GTi with aircon but no sunroof. 3months later this was parked in my garage after being hauled from JHB by trailer. It was March 2007 and at that point I already had most of the parts which was to be fitted. The car was stock standard and original - perfect to serve the basis for a project car. 
 
 
By June 2007, the car had a full respray in Arctic white by Cannings, I had brand-new VR6 Highline bumpers fitted, stubby Cabrio Mk4 mirrors, cabrio Mk4 beadings, and some tasty after-market parts all fitted. I hated the black top-textured bumpers and those textured beadings as after the rain, you find the silicone running down the lower half of the car so therefore wanted these full colour coded items as they more practical and less of an eye-sore. The car was lowered on Traxxion coilovers with Koni sleeves. A brand-new full stainless steel Powerflow system was installed to ensure the exhaust note still maintained that GTi sporty sound with dual chrome tailpieces finishing it off.
 
 
All lighting on the car was changed to Hella Mk4 headlights, in.pro crystal foglights and indicators and FK crystal clear/red tail lights. My theme for the car was based on an Audi since Audi uses the same paint code for their A3/A4 models which looks like a cream base colour. For this very reason I approached Audi and requested where I can get the same leather in cinnamon brown. They informed me most approved re-upholsterers should be able to supply me this and kindly gave me the exact colour code. I went to visit the good guys at Domingoes in Salt River who I used previously on our maroon VR6 3litre and they retrimmed my seats in 2days flat with doorcards!
 
  
Some final details on the interior included a Momo Fighter Zebrano wood/leather steering wheel, Momo leather gearknob, audi TT aluminium pedals, cabrio Mk4 chrome door handles, cabrio Mk4 chrome tip brake handle, Sony Xplode headunit, Macrom split speaker set, Bazooka 8in basstube to finish off the sound. I also had a full tilt/slide Webasto sunroof fitted as supplied to our local Mk3's when they were sold here in SA.
 
 
All the above work was completed over a 3month period from start to finish. The last and most important feature of the car was my very first set of BBS wheels which are the very rare BBS RV208 in brilliant silver (only 2,500 sets ever made globally in 17x7.5J ET35). To get the rear stance perfect I fitted 7mm aluminium hub-centric spacers. As an alternate setup I also ran genuine Audi TT wheels from time to time to match the Audi theme running throughout the car.

Future changes are that I am still searching high and low for a new set of super rare Hella Colour Magic all-red tail lights to ensure the car remains true to the OEMplus theme.
 
 

 
Although Noor say the car is far from complete, it was still worthy of being given some special attention and a feature and we were lucky enough to get Lorenzo Lakay (link to the video on CasualSociety) to join us to capture a video of this beauty. This is especially because, even though Noor owned this car for so many years no one was really able to secure a proper feature until now. We hope to hear from Noor soon, especially because he has a new wheel setup that we are dying to expose. Its something that has a bit of a Porsche smell to it. So keep tuned, you'll sure be seeing more of this infamous MK3!
 
 
 
 
Photos: Achmat Booley
Video: Lorenzo Lakay (Casual Society)
Words: Tauriq Ajam and Noor Abrahams

Monday, May 6, 2013

Shaakir's Beetle, Flip feature on StanceNation.com


 
 
Today marks the day, that South African stance scene is officially recognised internationally! This all thanks to the passionate stance enthusiasts - Shaakir Dollie and photographers - Achmat Booley and Lorenzo Lakay (Casual Society). The blood, sweat and tears these guys have been putting away soley for the love of what they have doing has taken not only them, nor CapeStance but the entire African Scene into an intentional category! This great trio of individuals to bring you the exclusive feature on legendary, StanceNation.com!
 

 
Photos: Achmat Booley for StanceNation.com