September 2, 2013 admin

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 4×100 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 4×100 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 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 (
Words: Tauriq Ajam

Comments (4)

  1. Your style is unique compared to other people I have read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you ave got the opportunity, Guess I all just bookmark this site.

    • That is true. In my first job I had a shi**y old car during a witenr but with brand new summer tyres. I was able to go faster than trucks in heavy snow conditions.I saw people acting stupid in those conditions, like not leaving enough distance between them and the car in front of them like they were driving on dry clean roads.Pedal to the metal on ice, always using the lower gears (manual gearboxes), braking really hard, throwing the steering wheel left right left right VA:F [1.9.10_1130]please wait VA:F [1.9.10_1130](from 0 votes)

  2. sifiso

    Yerrr. An old lady like her on sneakers. What a beauty this is. Marvellous. Keep her looking de way she is now. Cheers mate.

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