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Low Car Limbo: The Perfect Sport for a Lotus (Or a “Stanced” Car)

I recently unveiled my completed 1992 Acura NSX at the Aspire car show, which took place a regional airport taxiway here in the Wichita area. The event was certainly tuner car focused — but a local supercar group I tag along with was also invited to join. I was allowed to park my NSX in the hangar with other supercars, which meant my car only got an occasional quick glance as people crowded around the Lamborghinis. I still had a great time — especially when I got to experience my first “low car limbo” competition.

Slamming the suspension on a Civic or Scion comes with consequences, such as cringing at every speed bump, ruining your spine and severely compromising the handling characteristics. Track days or autocrossing would be very challenging and probably dangerous. Until the invention of the low car limbo, there was no competitive sport for stanced cars.

What you’re picturing in your mind is exactly how it seems. The cars drive under a limbo bar and continue around in circles as the bar is steadily lowered. If the roof of the car hits the bar, it’s out. Mazda RX-7s and Miatas, with their stock ride height of only 48-in, tend to dominate these competitions. I don’t think the event organizers expected the supercars to participate — but much to everyone’s delight, they did.

Slowly the bar was lowered, with most failing to pass through as it went under 4 feet. Cars like the NSX, with its 46.1-in ride height, hung on for a bit longer — but it finally came down to three VERY low cars. One was a Miata, which had been stanced to the point of being a whisker away from scraping constantly. Another was a magnificent 44.1-in Ford GT. And rounding out the field was a 45-in tall Lotus Elise.

I was invited by the owner of the Elise to hop in to add weight– along with 2 other people. The clown car effect succeeded in making the Elise even lower — enough to knock out the $300,000-plus Ford GT. The Miata responded in kind by piling even more people on it. One very large man laid across the trunk while another couple sat on the fenders — making the Miata literally drag itself across the finish line. The Lotus owner tried to match it by letting air out of the tires, but the rear pillar clipped the bar as the Elise passed through. The Miata had won the day.

In the end, this was a very fun atmosphere with my new ricer brethren. I found myself finally able to embrace the tuner lifestyle after this show — but don’t expect to see me cutting springs on the NSX anytime soon. Find a Lotus for sale

Low Car Limbo

Tyler Hoover went broke after 10 years in the car business and now sells hamburgers to support his fleet of needy cars. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.

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