One of the biggest trends in the custom or resto mod segment of the car hobby is to lower the ride height of a vintage vehicle.

The main purpose of this factory engineering reset (aka slamming) is cosmetic, with a dollop of handling upgrade goals thrown into the mix.


Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder when it comes to the concept of a slam because some car guys like slightly lower slams while others like their vehicles low enough to hit tall ants. The ride height choices are in their hands, but we at MyStarCollectorCar believe car guys need to ask a few important questions about their decision before they turn their vintage ride into a belly-crawler.

We acknowledge that modern air ride systems have given infinite ride height possibilities to vintage vehicles, but many slam decisions are written in stone when the cutting and torching begins on a factory suspension.

Therefore, our first question is whether you intend to drive the lowered vehicle or show it. The answer to this question is critical because there are many road conditions that must be factored into a lowered resto mod or custom.

Road maintenance is a crap shoot on its best day so a smart builder will factor in the post-project game plan for his vintage vehicle before it hits the street.

The second question is a valid extension of the first question: Will the oil pan on your slammed ride clear the pothole on the road? The assumption here is the owner intends to drive the car after is it is slammed and driven on typical roads that are mostly uneven by nature.    


There are few sounds that are more horrifying to a car guy than automotive metal scraping asphalt afflicted with a bad case of road acne that resulted in deep potholes. If the owner is lucky, the tearing sound will be the painful removal of the exhaust system-but if the owner is unlucky, the tearing sound will be any bottom end reservoir formerly fill with vital fluids like engine or transmission oil.

The third question is also a valid extension of the first question, but it is meant for trailer queens. In short, will your lowered ride clear the ramps leading up to the trailer? The finished and slammed vehicle may never have been built for active use, but even the micro-trip from the garage uphill into the trailer may be too steep for a lowered vehicle.

Consequently, the car guy with the slammed ride may face a car trailer mountain too high to climb if he wants to avoid cosmetic damage to the undercarriage of his vehicle.

The fourth question about slammed vehicles involves wheel and tire size. Does your lowered ride limit the number of wheel/tire choices available for the vehicle? Bear in mind the decision to lower a vehicle is primarily a cosmetic choice intended to enhance its cool factor, but a limited selection of shoe choices for the finished custom ride may work against its ultimate coolness.

The fifth and final question for a slam project is pretty simple: Is your vehicle truly designed for a slam or did it become an ugly duckling after it became a pavement-scraper?

As mentioned earlier, beauty is definitely in the eye of a beholder, just ask a male dung beetle during mating season.      

Jim Sutherland


BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.