A Stance Hyundai i20… More interesting than this car itself is how the owner and I met. So I had returned from Cape Town (where MzansiRides was founded) to my home town, Nelspruit. When I left Nelspruit in 2010 the stance game was literally non-existent. On my return in 2017 it was much of the same thing. Some of the lowest cars had 40-60mm lowering springs and 205/40R17 on 17x8J wheels.
When I came back home I was driving a stance car, and everywhere I would go people would either ask me if I knew a certain i20 from around or they would compare which is lower between this i20 and my car. I literally ignored this because I was just assuming it was probably another car with 40mm lowering springs. So I would always politely smile and say “I should see it”, without actually having the intention to.
So one Sunday afternoon, I had decided to drive to eKasi to have my car washed there and braai some meat. While enjoying the meat just opposite us there was a huge argument between the car wash guys. The argument, I quickly learned, was caused by someone saying my car is lower than that i20. Now for those that may not know, in the hood cars have fans, these are people that love a certain car and would defend it with their last might.
So the raucous comes up to me and the boys at the car wash summon me to come back the following weekend and they would invite the i20 owner too and the argument would be put to bed. I take down the i20 owner’s number and say I will talk to him. My main intention for actually taking the number was so that I could have someone who we would, together, build the local stance scene with. I drive back home after having promised the car wash guys we would be back and they will get to witness the duel.
The week goes by and I actually forget. It’s not until Wednesday afternoon when I called the owner of the i20. I introduce myself; we end up talking for 30 minutes! And after our conversation I realized that this is a stance guy to the core essence of the word. We spoke about camber, offset, stretch, fender pulling and flaring. Now this may seem pretty much like every day normal stance talk but since I had been back I had never been able to have that conversation with anyone.
Rather than going back to the carwash we had agreed to have a stance convoy on Saturday. I was a bit wary about this because that left us with 72 hours to organize a stance convoy! He calmly tells me to relax he has it covered. I trust him. I proceed by speaking to a local car shop and they agree that we can come back to their premises after the convoy where they will organize for a bar, braai stand and other stuff to be available for us to utilize.
All along I had intentionally not asked for pictures of any of the cars that will be part of the convoy mainly because my intention was to get people with passion and then we would build from there so how the cars currently looked was immaterial. Saturday comes by; I was a judge at another event 2 hours away from town so I was slightly late for the convoy.
When I got to the place we had agreed on, I literally got the shock of my life. I was in disbelief. There were about 11 cars, but that was not what shocked me. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that about 5 of these were actual stance cars, and very sexy ones at that!
The star of the show was without question this i20. I finally meet the owner of the i20 he introduces himself to me as Njabulo and coincidentally he tells me he had also been hearing about my car. We then drive to eKasi for the convoy [to see some of the craziness that went down on that particular day go on Instagram and search MZRstanceconvoy and click on the hashtag that pops up]. After this day him and I have been very good mates and have influenced each other when it comes to building cars a lot. We actually never returned to that car wash were they wanted to see which of the two cars was lower…
More on the car, this is a 2012 Hyundai i20 1.4. However it is clearly a one of a kind. It
started off its stance life with what is called the ‘school boy look’, basically this is when a car is lowered then fitted with black steel wheels (without the plastic wheel caps) that come standard on many entry level models. The steel wheel itself is called “school shoes” which is attributable to its stock-standard sort of look.
The school shoes were later removed and a variety of aluminium wheels have been fitted and replaced. It currently has Rotiform TMBs, which look absolutely sexy on the car. We posted this car on Instagram with three different wheels fitted on it. These wheels were OZ Turbos, HRE Vintage Series 501 and The TMBs. After over 100 people chose the one they preferred it was clear that the MzansiRides Instagram community also agrees that these are the sexiest wheels for the car.
Now to what is one of the most important ingredient for stance, the size of the wheels. These are 17x8j in the front and 17x9j at the back the offset is obviously on the positive around 25-35. It has been stretched on 185/35R17 rubber for the front and 195/40R17 rubber at the back [after the shoot the back tires were changed to 185/40R17]. The fitment is really fantastic, particularly at the back.
To allow the 9j to fit without rubbing Njabulo flared his rear arches; a move which I still think was not the best. See, when flaring the arches what happened was the arches were bent upwards at the bottom to allow the wheel to turn without rubbing. If he actually pulled the fenders using a telephone book, heat gun and jack he would have achieved this without bending metal and the plus is that the pulled arches allow for better looking fitment as they would cover the tyre and expose the lip of the wheels giving him more of that very desirable fender-to-lip fitment.
The wheels originally came in a chrome finish which Njabulo later changed and powder coated the centre to a grey colour which matched his car beautifully the lip was then high-polished giving it this gloss finish it currently has.
To allow for better fitment at the back, he dialled in some negative camber, what is a stance car without negative came though. The camber is set at around -2.5.
Now when it comes to what makes stance what it is: ride height! This car like almost all stance car in Nelspruit is static. The springs have been compressed, by how many mm in total? Well we are not quite sure because Njabulo has lowered his car numerous times and hasn’t really been keeping tabs of how much it is all in total. What I do find quite interesting and it is a plus for anyone wanting to build an i20 stance car, is that fact that although this car was lowered by a lot more than 60mm on standard shock absorbers it still doesn’t have a violent bounce. See, when lowering a car and you want to go more than 60mm lower you have to change the shocks to shorter ones otherwise you’re inviting all sorts of problems chief in which is horrendous comfort levels and a bounce essentially caused by the fact that the spring is too short and the car is solely riding on shocks. Fortunately this is not the case here and the car rides very smoothly. Definitely not a Maybach but good enough for daily driving. Many people assume that this car is a garage queen. That, I can guarantee you, it is not. It breaks necks on the roads on a daily basis.
The front Hyundai badge has been blacked out which really works well on this car and in keeping with this theme the side mirrors, too, have had that black effect. A Seat Cupra R OEM lip has been added to the front bumper. One of the most recent upgrades to the car which also took place after the shoot is an OEM Hyundai hatch lid spoiler.
I asked Njabulo the question which I am pretty sure is in many of your minds too. “Did you intentionally go to the dealership looking for an i20?” his response is both a yes and no. No in that he initially drove up to Pretoria looking to buy a Chevrolet Utility but along his car hunting journey he saw an i20 with crazy rear camber. He then immediately went i20 hunting.
The interior is left pretty much factory standard except for an upgraded sound system.
We have had discussions on what he would want his next mod to be and we both agreed on what should be the next thing that he does. I unfortunately can’t reveal it right now but stay tuned to MzansiRides and you will find out.
This car has everything that is essential to building a stance car with perfect propositions on each. I wasn’t sure how the Mzansi public would respond to a stance Hyundai but it has over the past few months been a favourite for many on the page, consistently getting above average likes. I commend Njabulo on taking a road less travelled and totally killing the execution. This car is a breath of fresh air from all the same cars that we (me included) buy and build up.
Well done brother keep scraping hard!
Hyundai i20 Owner
Photography: Bongi Mabuza