Why Hellaflush Sucks
Let me be clear here: I’m talking about the “hellaflush movement” in car culture, not about Fatlace. Fatlace is a design studio that’s also one of the most respectable car/footwear/urban/”street” resources on the internet, and they absolutely have my respect for that. They actually cover all kinds of fun stuff, but this post isn’t about Fatlace. It’s about the mindset that has evolved under their loving care, and has since run amok and become its own term. If you aren’t already familiar with Fatlace, check them out.
Depending on where you’re from, you may know this movement as Stanceworks, but I’m going to keep calling it Hellaflush because that term pretty much sums up everything I dislike about it.
First, let’s start with the etymology of the word.
The word “hella” is an adjective. It supposedly originated in the San Francisco Bay Area, and judging by the overuse I see every day, I’m inclined to agree with that. It can mean anything from “very” to “lots of” (this car has hella power, this car is hella powerful) and is sometimes even an adverb (he’s hella runnin’ from the cops!). In my native tongue (Boston-language) we’d overuse “wicked” in place of “hella”, and we often do.
Flush generally refers to the fitment of wheels and tires with the chassis and fender flares. The closer the wheels are to being flush with the bodywork, the more “hellaflush” that car is. This generally requires an obscene amount of camber combined with a stretched tire, which changes the angle of the sidewall of the tire.
There are a few ways to score extra points in the hellaflush world.
- Get your car as close to flush with the ground as possible
- Increase the backspacing of your wheels. More.
- Stretch the narrowest tires possible on the widest wheels (don’t forget your backspacing!) possible.
- Shave door handles, trunk latches, keyholes, gas tank covers, and everything else that keeps the body of the car from being “flush”.
- Try to tuck your entire wheel and tire into the wheelwells. Ideally, it should all be shoved up where nobody can see it.
Why it’s hella dumb
Cars are made to be driven. They’re transportation. Hellaflush is solely cosmetic, at great expense to driveability. Hellaflush cars look interesting and aggressive when they’re parked, but it’s a facade. They aren’t aggressive. They aren’t allowed on self-respecting racetracks, have troubles on the highway, and if your driveway is graded, they’ll park on the street.
Essentially, I see the hellaflush movement as a direct replacement for the show car movement. Both are idiotic in the same, undriveable, RICE ways.
How to do it right
The early 1960’s model of Ford Falcon came out of the factory hellaflush’d. It looked mean and the suspension geometry wasn’t intentionally wrong. With a little more work, the bumpsteer can be removed and camber curve cleaned up without modifying static camber. I hope to have a new image to update this with (new, wider wheels are on the falcon), but for now this snapshot from when I was doing body work on it should suffice. This was a great chance for me to brush up on some body work, since my cars always seem to miss out on cosmetic love (I’ll help a friend out from time to time though).