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The Truth About Airlift Performance

Fitment Industries Author | | March 15th, 2018 |

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    - So when you think about old school cars like NASCAR, Daytona Beach, you're talking about drag cars or even the original Batmobile, what do you think those guys ran for suspension? You think they ran some sort of coilover setup, maybe some basic suspension? Hell no, those guys ran air lift. Today, instead of talking about wheels, we're gonna be talking about the suspension company also known as Air Lift Suspension.
    You can't just pull up to a car show with air lift and just not expect to know any history about it because nobody's ever thought to talk about it. We're here to edu-mu-cate you on this specific suspension brand because of how popular it's become in the past few years, especially in the car culture. So buckle up, take a seat, and let's just delve right into it.

    Air Lift Suspension was actually founded in 1943 and didn't go into the public eye until 1953 in terms of business paperwork outside of Lansing, Michigan. The company was founded by a man named Claude Pemberton. So Claude decided that we wanted to create a product that was an air spring inside of a coil spring to help with load capacity carrying for pretty much any sort of vehicle use. This was produce where I don't even think Claude understood the dynamic of where this product could potentially go. Air lift was used in a lot of the old vehicles in the 1950s to run moonshine and to help those cars actually not look like they were running hundreds of pounds of illegal moonshine in the back of their car because the suspension would actually balance itself out to make it look like there was nothing in the trunk.

    That's right, air lift helped us get our moonshine.
    (bleep) yeah. Although the product seemed relatively simple, not even Air Lift knew the amount of options they could do with this simple product. I mean, if you don't have any conception about air suspension, it's probably a weird thing to think about. But to install this product, you could pretty much use it for anything, and Air Lift coined it that product and used it in pretty much every possible facet they could get their hands on. Air Lift is a family-owned company. The board of directors is third generation Air Lift family and in fact, when the Air Lift company was founded, it had six employees. Now, they're up to about 130 and do business all over the world. And even though we know them as Air Lift Performance for automotive and vehicle applications, they do a ton of work when it comes to RVs, campers, trucks, semis and so much more. So what does make Air Lift different? Well, it's simple, three words. No drill applications, bro.

    Air Lift creates thousands of kits that are a direct bolt on for your vehicle so you don't have to drill, and that's pretty neat considering the amount of variety and customization their products allow you to do to your car. Now, Air Lift is not new to the car scene by any sense. They actually were one of the first suspension companies to get involved in NASCAR. In fact, one of the first drivers was Buck Baker in his 1950 Olds that used air lift suspension to help adjust pressure for their springs in the turns on the left-hand turns because they didn't turn right. Didn't know if you knew this, NASCAR is really predominantly a left turn only style automotive event.

    But it allowed him to actually hug the turns faster and allow him to win a bunch of things. It wasn't until later years that companies started coming to Air Lift asking for the same technology in their track cars. So now we're a fan of boring facts and we're a fan of fun facts, because you know, everybody likes a fun fact like when you're drinking on a Friday night at like 1:30, maybe you're a little bit drunk, you're watching some Fitment Industries videos. Okay, let's be really, probably watching like some Halcion videos, but the fun facts come out. And one of the fun facts is this. The first original air lift suspension product that was used by Buck Baker was actually installed in his car the night prior in a parking lot with a flashlight.
    - What?

    - And that's everything about Air Lift's history, is that these guys were just like run of the gun enthusiast mechanics and just people that were just passionate about the design that they made. And that was the best thing about Air Lift. The fifties were Air Lift's decade. Everything that's founded on air lift to this day is because of what they did in those 10 years as an established and brand new company. This was back in the day where you had to go in with a hand shake, you had to go in with some tools, and you had to go in and sell something face to face. Air Lift was not a stranger to showing up to these drag events and they would bring their products with them. The way that they did it was they would just convince the drag racers to install Air Lift. They would do it for free.

    There was one stipulation, though. You had to put an Air Lift decal on your car. Seems like a pretty good deal, right? Well, it was because it worked. These cars would start winning these drag days and it didn't take long until the end of the day where Air Lift had stickers on almost all of these drag cars. It was word of mouth back then and they dominated the market when it came to that. And Air Lift is a brand that just has that heritage. Recently, you have seen air suspension pop up as a more and more common thing to have on your car. It makes sense. Air life and Accuware and air suspension is what coilovers were 10 years ago, and there's a bunch of hate going back and forward whether Accuware or Air Lift is the better brand. And that's just the thing. If you want us to talk about Accuware, we certainly can. Drop a comment, but there is just a difference of mentality between the two brands. Accuware was founded in 2001, where Air Lift was founded in 1949. That heritage and the experience and what they do are almost two completely different things, even if their products are fairly similar. So what about certification? Air Lift has their ISO certification. They have all the things that make them a good company. They have a lot of boring certifications, they have a lot of even more boring certifications, but the point of the matter is that they're certified, which means the stuff that you're getting actually works. It's not junk, which if you're paying to play, which Air Lift is around three to $4,000, you better get a good product. And that's the thing that's really cool about these products is that they're ever continuous-ing and they're ever updating.

    So recently, you can get a whole bunch of different products depending on the type of car that you have. So once you decide if you want to get air suspension, you can get your front and rear kit. That's just gonna be the stress that are gonna allow you to do all the other fun stuff. But it doesn't just stop there. Then you go into the air management, which you can get a few different options. There's manual options, there's repeat pressure options, and if you wanna ball on a big budget for Instagram, you can also get the 3H option. H is for height monitoring and then P is for pressure. A lot of the systems still run pressure, but there are other systems out there that run. Censor systems and it's just really confusing and it's a lot to talk about, so we're just not gonna talk about it. But from there, you need to choose air line size. You need to choose compressor size. You need to choose pretty much everything else to make the kit work. This is what makes Air Lift and just air suspension somewhat confusing to a lot of people that are just learning the process because you're building your own kit, you need to know what sort of options and sizes that you'll need and want depending on the actual setup that you want. And it's likely that you'll probably mess it up on the first try. Don't worry, it's not unheard of, so if you guys are curious about that sort of stuff, you have questions, we know a guy. I'm the guy.

    So can you run an air suspension system for an HPD or auto cross or something like that? There are a lot of people that run coilovers that say no. A lot of these people have never ran air suspension in the car in their past, and Air Lift know this and Air Lift knows how and what it takes to actually run these suspension on the track. But honestly, are coilovers better than air suspension? No, not really. Nonetheless, you're dialing it in perfect for HPD drive and you understand the full mechanical functions of suspension, which I highly doubt. In case you didn't know, we have a website, fitmentindustries.com, and we have wheels and tires, like 30,000, pretty dope. We have suspension, like Air Lift. We have our own car care line, which if you didn't see in the past two weeks, you've probably been living under a rock.

    But finally, we have updated our apparel line. So we have over four new designs, two of which are Fitment Industries, but we actually have a cool new slogan that we're running, which is Trust Only Those Lower Than Us, which I think is pretty cool. But we want you guys to check it out, help support us. Check it out at www.fitmentindustries.com/store and we may throw in a couple of goodies, you know, like decals and things like that because we love your guys' support. So please let us know what you like to see us cover next. I'm Alex from Fitment Industries. I will see you later, peace.