LOVE OF THE LOW

NZ Performance Car - - Editorial - Email: mar­cus@per­for­mance­car.co.nz In­sta­gram: mar­cus_nzpc­magazine

t’d be hard to boil it down to sim­ply one choice, but if I had to choose my favourite as­pect of car mod­i­fi­ca­tion it would be low­er­ing. For me, a car’s aes­thet­ics are ex­tremely im­por­tant, and so heav­ily in­flu­enced by ride height that this alone can and of­ten does make or break a build. I don’t care if it’s static, bagged, hy­dro or what­ever, there’s not a car on the planet that won’t look bet­ter sit­ting a lit­tle closer to terra firma.

Ex­actly where this love of low came from is hard to pin­point, but I’d have to imag­ine it’s linked to my early ob­ses­sion with door slam­mers, fol­lowed closely by ’90s tour­ing cars.

So it made sense that as soon as car own­er­ship came into the pic­ture, my first quest was also low­er­ing. We were broke teens, still at school, and barely had $2 to rub to­gether, but if we had that it was put straight into the fuel tank. A set of coilovers? Man, no­body I knew owned any, they were the kind of stuff re­served for ex­otic race ma­chin­ery. We were like most oth­ers in the scene, our only av­enues were King Springs or cut­ting the springs. The re­ally brave (or dumb) took the springs out al­to­gether.

I can vividly re­mem­ber the first set of springs we cut, un­der the watch­ful eye of a mate’s dad — Steve — who for a slab of Rhei­neck was ea­ger to help the boys do things as safely as our bud­gets would al­low.

I was thank­ful to have some­one like Steve to steer us in the right di­rec­tion, some­thing he is still do­ing to­day as head of a lo­cal hot rod club, where he helps the young guns find their feet.

What we were do­ing was il­le­gal, but he knew we would do it any­way, and thought it bet­ter to show us how to do it as safely as pos­si­ble, teaching us how sus­pen­sion ac­tu­ally worked in the process. When I look back I ap­pre­ci­ate that more now, as we never had hor­ror-story shock blowouts, cracked strut tow­ers or any oth­ers among the long list of com­mon dis­as­ters. At the time our lo­cal po­lice were crack­ing down with an iron fist on such mod­i­fi­ca­tions, but we were young, care­free, and in many re­spects hav­ing some­thing low was all we cared about.

Fast for­ward to to­day, and be­ing low still mat­ters a lot to me, al­though times have changed and parts to do such work are cheap — cheap enough that even my 16-year-old self could have af­forded to do it legally.

It might seem a bit rich of me to sit here and preach about do­ing stuff by the book, but times truly have changed for the good. What we have now, which we didn’t then, is an ex­tremely large amount of freelyavail­able knowl­edge about how to do things the cor­rect way, in­clud­ing plenty of good stuff from the LVVTA, the guys I’d liken to the gate­keep­ers of the free­doms we en­joy when it comes to be­ing able to mod­ify fac­tory cars. It has never been eas­ier to do it safely — to have some­thing slammed that still han­dles, and is safe.

So which­ever way you’re build­ing your car, to the let­ter of the law or as il­le­gal as they come, what­ever you do en­sure that what you’ve con­jured up in the shed is not putting you, your mates, or in­no­cent lives at risk.

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