As we approach the closing months of 2014, it’s clear to see that the ‘stance culture’ has taken Trinidad by storm this year. Tuner style wheels are in high demand, with hundreds of people asking a question not familiar to wheel dealers locally; “What’s the width and offset?” Everyone’s trying to get their specs together, and paying ALOT of attention to wheel fitment… by now almost every car enthusiast should understand the importance of these ‘mm’ figures, and how much difference an ‘inch’ plays in getting that perfect setup.
But the truth is… Is this ‘stance culture’ simply ALL about how wide you can go? – who has the deepest concave? …. or perhaps how much stretch you’ve got? Everything in life is about perception, and as the old age saying goes “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”… however most may argue, “my car is a representation of myself” – but the reality is, that there will always be a right way and wrong way to do something. Everyone may have different tastes, different ideas and various versions of how they portray their personalities through their vehicles, but it’s the cars that can capture the attention of simply anyone – be it a child, an elderly person or someone who doesn’t give a jack about cars… those are the cars that are ‘doing things right’, the type of cars that make us want to do a full feature; take some nice pics, and give the owners a chance to tell their stories.
There’s so much more to this new ‘stance culture’ than JUST wide wheels, with low offsets… It’s about doing it ‘proper'; meaning proper calculations from back spacing, brake clearance, fender clearance, proper camber and appropriate fitment for desired ride height. Every car, will require a different formula for every different application. Ultimately, it’s the end result that counts… the entire presentation, NOT just poked out wheels with stretched tires – with the popular ‘hellaflush’ and ‘illest’ stickers, in neon colored livery. If this is your perception of ‘stance’, we’re sorry to tell you – but you may have it all wrong, in fact you are almost 5 years late… with a dying trend.
Meet 19 year old Griffin and his CK-2 Lancer, as the front windshield banner says “Nothing is Perfect” – but what is your perception of “perfection”? …What does it take for a vehicle to capture YOUR attention? – we definitely can’t speak for others, but the day this car came out of the paint shop, and pics started leaking – it took our attention and just killed it ! So much character and style, under it’s aggressive facade – yet this Lancer seems to pull off such a clean look. Griffin’s formula is definitely on point with a winning combination, on a low budget build. It just goes to show that money has nothing to do with taste… Many seem to have the wrong perception of ‘stance’ and what it really is, and somehow they seem to stray away from the car itself. Probably it’s due to the huge craze right now for width and low offset figures, but regardless of this… the focal point of building a car should always be the car itself, the final product is all that matters. Either way, when was the last time you saw a CK look this good locally? If my memory serves me right, in the “Import Era’ of the early 2000’s – there was Shane Sawh’s “Snow White” CK Lancer… Now in the “Stance Era”, we see the return of such an old chassis – looking so good, and so clean !
This CK sits perfectly off the ground on a custom static suspension, known to many in it’s previous form – Griffin decided to change things up a bit with his make over, from wheel swap to color change… from his factory grey paint job. I met Griffin through facebook some years back, and I remember his car from it’s early stages leading up to what you see today. He says it all began when he visited RaceTrac Wheels, in the early months of fixing up his Lancer… he went in search of tires for a set of 18’s he had back then, after meeting Andy (the owner) he was introduced to a set of 17×9 wheels. They test fitted them onto his car, and Griffin fell in love immediately… from there it all began. Fenders were pulled, and the car was slammed… from here onward, everything for Griffin changed.
He explains “I like the fact that I was different, and f*ck away with the normal chrome wheels up in fenders. I wanted my car flat down, yet setting a trend and so I said f*ck away with what society thinks”. After a couple months of rocking his first set of 17×9’s , he noticed that RaceTrac brought some new wheel designs – so he purchased a set of 17×9 deep concaved wheels in matte black. Griffin explains that he was experiencing some rubbing issues, seeing that it’s a wide wheel for such a small front wheel drive car… and the lower offsets required some modifications. They even shaved the wheels to +35mm and still got some rubbing on the trailing arms. Eventually, the amazing folks at RaceTrac hooked him up with these 17×9 RTW Mesh wheels , with a +25 offset all round. No problems, and no more rubbing issues… even though Griffin’s CK is now slammed.
After going through a few sets of wheels, Griffin’s Lancer started to gain lots of attention both online and on the streets, pics in it’s previous grey started floating around – making this car quite popular, in an infant ‘stance culture’ that was slowly gaining momentum. As the months passed by, he decided to try something different once again….. Griffin described to us “I wanted to create the illusion of my car floating off the ground, but some what of a stealth look”. So he approached the folks at Central Automotive Refinishers Ltd. ,where everyone there welcomed him and were very eager to help in creating his vision. There was a slight twist to his plot though, Griffin explained to them that he wanted it done in 3 days time, and that he didn’t want anyone to know his plan. In agreement, they didn’t hesitate at all… his Lancer was painted in this matte green system, both exterior and engine bay within 3 working days. “We worked until 4 am for all 2 nights until the car was done, in the end I was really happy!” Griffin exclaimed.
Griffin’s mixture of green and black sets that aggressive contrasting tone, while his re-sprayed silver wheels carves that fine line between ‘clean’ and ‘mean’ – giving the car that perfectly refreshing and classy look. The use of dished wheels instead of main stream concave, sets it apart from the usual ‘stanced’ fwd… especially seeing that there’s 3 inches of lip tucked neatly inside those fenders, wrapped in a set of Atrezzo’s also courtesy RaceTrac. From all angles, this Lancer sits just right… with attention to many fine details. As you can see, Griffin went with a tactical theme to blend with his new color scheme… so the exposed rivets, under skirt splitters and canards all flow well, not to mention his vented Evo-4 bonnet swap in CF vinyl.
He smilingly goes on about people’s reaction to his car, and the amount of compliments it has received since it’s makeover… He takes part in all the local meets, and candidly follows ‘GarageFresh’ online, he’s also a member of the ‘GearHeadz’ team… if you walk around his car, you can see that he supports all the local groups. He says “You should see the reaction of people faces when they see my car, floating through town”…. and “I will never stop loving the reaction of people, from old to young… everyone likes it.”
Griffin eventually went lower with his Lancer, and after more rubbing issues and unwanted stress, he visited the folks at Penal Alignment Center… where they built a custom camber kit, for him to exceed his factory camber. What you see in these photos, is his end result. TintBoyz is responsible for his vinyl work and his final production, those of you who know Griffin will also be aware of his relationship with TintBoyz. This car is a perfect example of a low budget project, done with proper taste and ideas. It’s really hard to be different, in a game that’s already saturated by the same cars and the same wheels – so it’s very pleasing to the eyes sometimes, when you see something unusual, but most importantly… done right.
Griffin concluded with “That’s about it, hope my next ride is as hard as this one… and it’s going to be daily driven also.” This car was sold the day after we took these photos and did this quick video… Griffin sent me a whatsapp message later that day saying “And that’s it there, I said goodbye to my car the guy just came and picked it up.” I could tell homie was sad… but so the game goes sometimes, buy it, build it…. then move on to the next level.
“I wanted to bring out the stance thing and let people out here realize, that chromes and bright colors isn’t the only thing out there… and that you can always be different in your own way” ; wise words as he ended his chat with us. It’s nice to see a whole new generation of car enthusiasts doing things differently, as opposed blowing money behind speed or loads of car audio… don’t get me wrong – “different strokes for different folks” , but there are kids out there who just want a fresh looking ride, that sits low, with a proper setup…. and the rest of the car is a portrayal of sheer personality. It has absolutely nothing to do with money… because there are many people with big budget rides – that still won’t grab half the attention that Griffin gets (got) with this sleek looking CK. Despite what ever visible flaws this car may have, within it’s own class; this is our perception of perfection. We do trust that the new owner will keep her in good hands, so look out for it prowling these mean streets of Trinidad & Tobago… adios!
Words, Photos & Video by : Riaz S. Ali
Shot on Location : Usine, Ste Madeline – T&T