When is it OK? If you insist on doing your part for evolution, by all means, thin the heard.
We worked with Kris over the course of several weeks fine-tuning our violations, and we had a ton of good laughs in the process.
Violation: Scraping frame while driving
The cause: We have no beef with laying frame in a car with a properly setup air suspension system. In fact, RideTech has one of the most capable suspensions on the market with their AirRide series. You get where you’re going, park, then lay frame. People will marvel how you did it. Driving around with a laid frame, however, will result in undercarriage damage, and front suspension geometry that’s out of its proper camber curve. Are you perma-laying frame without an adjustable air suspension? You’re asking for scraped headers, a smashed oil pan, bottomed-out shocks, unpredictable handling, and uneven tire wear. We like “low” in a traditional non-adjustable spring-type suspension, but too low is dangerous and silly looking.
The cure: Get the AirRide with adjustable ride height.
When is it OK? If your car is strictly for show. It comes off the trailer (good luck with that!), into the convention hall, and then back on the trailer.
The “Narrow Track”
Violation: Tires sucked too far into the body
The cause: Bad planning, a lack of fabrication skill, and poor aesthetic sensibility are the biggest causes here. Wheels that hide from daylight are often the product of a rearend that’s too narrow, wheels with not enough outer lip (backspacing), cheaper chassis kits that aren’t designed for a specific body or frame, a poor conversion from a Pro Street car to a Pro Touring car, fabrication chops that aren’t up to snuff, or deciding on the wheel/tire package too late in the buildup. This violation is most often committed in pro-built ground-up projects where the “pro” part is more wishful thinking than reality. Stock-style suspensions usually skirt the issue because wheel manufacturers usually have something that looks good that fits (you’re still on the hook for ordering the right offset wheels). Swapping in a narrowed rearend that’s too small for the car can also result in disaster.
The cure: A true “pro” builder doing a chassis car will always mock up the desired wheel/tire in the wheelwell before turning on the plasma cutter. Don’t cut steel until the UPS guy delivers the tires! When he does, build the chassis and suspension geometry around the proper visual placement of the tires.
When is it OK? If you want to look like a woolly mammoth tiptoeing through the tulips, this is your strategy right here.
…check your pride at the door, load up on some levity, and keep an open mind.
The “Wide Track”
Violation: Tires sticking out beyond the fender lip
The cause: Dude, you totally bought the wrong rims! Yeah, those 14-inch-wide cheater slicks on autodrag rims seemed like such a good deal at the swap meet lying there forlorn in all their 1988 Pro Street majesty. The price was good, and they were whispering hypnotically: “buy me, buy me…” The guy gets ’em home, they don’t fit under the fender lip, so he runs to the Western Auto to get some spring spacers—or heaven forbid—a shackle kit. “Now them suckers fit!” he says gleefully as he pops his 11th beer. It’s hard to see the violation when you’re seeing double and thinking half.
The cure: Just don’t be a dumbass, OK? If you put these on your car, you’re not entitled to a car that looks cool.
When is it OK? If you’re headed to the Car Craft Summer Nats, or attending a burnout contest in Australia.
Violation: No dish on the front wheels but plenty on the rear