Whatever your position on stay at home orders might be, the simple fact is we are all ready to return our lives to some measure of normality. We have missed many of our favorite car shows, events, track days, and even simple nights out for dinner thanks to national lockdowns. Fortunately, as the country begins turning its gears once again, we are able to see the fresh light of dawn as it peeks over the horizon. The evidence that we are heading in that direction was clear this weekend in Nashville, Tennessee, as an incredible turnout for the Slammedenuff Nashville 2020 show displayed the general consensus we car enthusiasts share: let’s party.
For regular readers of our ECS Tuning blog and this new weekly series, it is likely no secret I am originally from Nashville. I look forward to my periodic trips back home to see everyone I know, see the progress on their cars, and make new friends all while enjoying my home for a few days. This year has severely hampered my ability to go back while we have been under lockdown, as have they, and Nashville has recently experienced some of the most explosive protests as an epicenter of civil unrest. However, I was quite surprised to find a massive attendance at SE.
Slammedenuff has been an on-again-off-again show for me over the past few years. I attended Stoopicold and past SE Nashville events, but have not made it to Gatlinburg or some of the other major shows they host around the South East. I’m not sure why, though, as they certainly know how to party. That much was shown by the unbelievable number of attendees.
I arrived early Sunday morning with Karey Houck, my host for the weekend, to help our friend Sinh set up his vendor booth, which gave me the prime opportunity to both park my car in an excellent spot where it was featured in the outdoor showcase as well as watch all the ‘top tier’ indoor cars trickle into the Wilson County Expo Center interior arena.
There is something surreal about watching high-budget stance cars, VIP big bodies, and dedicated time attack monsters park inside a building. It never gets old. Many of my friends, like Bogdan, the guest photographer for this issue, were featured indoors thanks to the dedication and work they have invested in their cars. Bogdan’s bagged 190e Mercedes was an absolute treasure of this show, and the reason we met several months ago at Riverside Chattanooga.
Among some of my favorites were Chris Neranjan’s Voltex-bodied time attack Subaru STi, Adam Johnson’s F80 M3, and Ryan Miller’s bagged/swapped E30. All of these fellows are fantastic inspirations and demonstrate a truly passionate side of car enthusiasm. They take their interest seriously and it shows in their work.
That level of quality among builds was consistent at the show across the different genres and styles of cars. Even the spectator parking, which overflowed from the massive Expo Center parking lot, was full of cars any enthusiast would break their neck over were they to see it on the road. What was most surprising was the sheer volume of attendees.
I have been to some massive shows. Import Alliance in Atlanta back in 2011 was perhaps the biggest event I have attended, with thousands of cars and tens of thousands of attendees. That was no surprise, as it doesn’t have a direct focus like Slammedenuff. SE appeals to the stance movement, or what it has become in the past few years as the genre has evolved. Fitment, wheel choices, fit and finish, details, and pristine cleanliness are not easy to come by. It takes a certain kind of enthusiast to fall down that rabbit hole of meticulousness. In the wild, that kind of build is incredibly rare to run across. Here, though, it was stance Mecca. In part because this is the first ‘official’ show since lockdown, but also in part thanks to the evolution of the stance movement.
It seems as information has become so widely available and companies have found ways into that market that allow enthusiasts the options and choices to achieve their goals through several different paths, we are now seeing that community grow and expand, albeit, differently than I think the stance movement began.
In 2010, I remember being a young car enthusiast with my 1994 Integra GSR, learning from some of my older coworkers about fitment and stance. All I had cared about before was making a fun car for bombing the mountain roads where I lived. They showed me what it meant to create a work of art from your car with no care for how it performed. ‘Form over function’ was the style in-vogue and that influenced much of my interest in cars over the past decade. Now, however, there is much less distinction in styles and build directions. That much is clearly demonstrated in a ‘stance’ show like Slammedenuff.
Here, you will find functional track cars sitting next to an imported Nissan President with -17 degrees of camber, both clean to a mirror finish down to the wheel hardware. The lines between form and function have blurred as the movement has evolved and technology has improved. The dedicated stance builds have become much more absurd while the reserved builds straddle the border between perfection and performance.
What a show like Slammedenuff provides is a window into trends. More than that, it shows you how to appreciate a spectrum of build styles, which in turn, is how we have arrived where we are in the enthusiast culture where there are elements of touring car roots, IMSA-style liveries, barely functional camber from the stance movement, paint work and chrome reminiscent of low-rider and hot rod culture from the 60s and 70s, and a bit of modern flair mixed in with a sprinkle of JDM inspiration.
That inspiration was something I think those of us who attended and those of you reading this now needed desperately. I have felt deprived of new ideas, or at least at a significant loss for them, thanks to my inability to be around other creative car builders. Just the one show was enough to reinvigorate my drive to get back on my grind and start improving my BMW yet again. For those of you who are with me, let’s all stand together and look forward to more shows and more return to business as usual. In the meantime, while normality ramps up, be sure to use this as an inspiration of your own. Check out some of our past articles on intakes, wheels, exhausts, coilovers, and all the best upgrades to start building towards your next showcase. Don’t let yourself become stagnant. Be that inspiration for someone else. Build your dreams.
All photography graciously provided by Bogdan Kharitonov @boogie_bk