Moonshine, Modded Cars & Mexico: Air Suspension in Motor Sport

The iconic Daytona beach race course, the first course to host a NASCAR race

Moonshine runners would take a normal-looking car, then remove the floorboards and all the seats (other than the driver’s seat) to fill it with as many cases of liquor as possible. They’d then mod the engine to give it greater speed, wait for it to get dark and race it to its destination before they got caught.

When air-spring technology was developed in the 1940s, many runners were quick to bag their cars to support the added weight of the whiskey, which was still smuggled after Prohibition to avoid tax

It became so widespread that runners, especially those in North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia, would often race their modified cars on the weekends, which eventually paved the way for NASCAR.

The first-ever organised stock race was held in 1936, at Daytona beach in Florida (see above), with almost all its racers either current or former moonshine runners. When NASCAR was finally born at the same course in February 1948, its first ever race winner (and eventual two-time champion), Red Byron (right), was a former runner.

Some vehicles in the Baja 100 race in Mexico still use air suspension

Air suspension has loads of different uses – it can slam your car to street-skimming heights, raise your motorhome off the ground and give your vehicle a silky-smooth ride – but one of its first ever uses was actually in stock car racing!

In fact, the early years of NASCAR (that’s the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, if you didn’t know) were dominated by cars with air suspension. In the 1950s and ‘60s, almost every stock car racing team in NASCAR used Air Lift springs, including the very best racers.

This air ride revolution didn’t take place overnight, though. In fact, its domination came about because of the national prohibition of alcohol in the US, between 1920 and 1933 (bear with us here).

This is because the Prohibition led to the rise of ‘moonshine runners’. These guys were some of the first ever custom car owners, but they weren’t modifying their rides just for the occasional show. They had a much more important job – to smuggle whisky and other alcohol throughout the country under cover of night.

Red Byron, the first ever winner of a NASCAR race and former moonshine runner

Of course, air suspension was used in NASCAR for two decades, due to its versatility and improved handling and traction, before eventually being replaced by coil springs in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.

However, air ride does live on in racing! It’s still used in time attack events (effectively time trials where racers compete for the fastest lap time), in particular at the World Time Attack Challenge, an annual event in Sydney that is widely regarded as the highest-quality time attack competition in the world.

Air suspension is also used in Baja racing, including the Baja 1000 in Mexico, one of the most prestigious off-road races in the world. It has attracted competitors from more than 27 countries and has been an annual event since 1967 (it looks like fun too – see left!)

To get your stock racing car on air, give us a call on 0800 7720315 or e-mail at enquiries@airride.uk. And, even if you’re not using your car to smuggle whiskey, give us a bell anyway.

Posted by Jack

AirRide’s Nine Top Fitting Tips

If you pick up the next copy of Performance MINI you'll notice a massive, extremely exciting eight-page feature towards the back (page 76 to be precise).

That feature is brought to you directly from the workshop at AirRide, where we talked the Performance MINI guys through the fitting process for an AirRide Gold kit.

Most AirRide Gold kits are fitted in the same way, so, if you're thinking of fitting air to your car, the mag may be worth a look even if you don't have a MINI.

In the meantime, here are AirRide's top fitting tips for AirRide Gold*:

  1. We'll start with a boring but important one - always read the instructions before doing anything! Fitting air is simple enough if you know what you're doing but it's easy to make a mistake if you're not careful.
  2. Always take some measurements before you begin. Place your vehicle on a flat surface and measure the height of each corner from the 12-o’clock position on the top of the arch to the floor. Then plan how much lower you would ideally like your vehicle, considering what seems practical from the measurements.
  3. Start off by installing the management. Installation can be a two-day job so if you start with the management, you can come back and do the rest later (as soon as you take the suspension off, your car will be immobile.)
  4. When installing all your management, make sure to use thread sealant to seal the unions. Unions will seal better if not pressurised for 24 hours so fit them in advance if possible!
  5. When finding somewhere to put your compressor, people often find that boxing it away to keep it safe is a good idea, as it reduces sound and improves safety. However, it will need air flow as it will get hot and could exceed the temperature rating. Use a 12v computer fan for some added air flow, if needed.
  6. When connecting your airlines, use bulkhead fittings if you can. These can go through panels, meaning you don't have airlines noticeably running all over the place, and they prevent the outside of the line from being scratched.
  7. To release an air line after it is already secured, depressurise it, push it in, then push the retaining collar in and, while still pressing the collar, firmly pull the line out. They can be fitted several times but for a good seal cut half an inch off to seal on a fresh piece of line.
  8. Gold kits are four-way adjustable, so remember to set them how you want before fitting. It's normal to have been too adventurous with your drop – just remove the struts and re-adjust. This may take several attempts to get just right! You can adjust the height without fully removing the struts but be careful to count the turns to ensure left and right are even, or just take them off to be sure.
  9. Once the kit is fitted, set the car to about half way between your dropped height and max lift. Take it for a test drive. Does it need to be lifted or dropped? This is very subjective, so the decision is up to you! You can then set the computer’s pre-sets for different ride heights.

Use the car finder above to find a Gold kit for your car, or call us on 0800 7720315 or e-mail us at enquiries@airride.uk for more information!

*Please bear in mind this is not a step-by-step guide, but tips to accompany a full set of instructions. AirRide does not hold any responsibility for injuries sustained fitting air suspension or any consequences arising from doing so.

An AirRide technician using thread sealant
AirRide Gold fitting tips
An AirRide air tank waiting to be fitted
Posted by Jack

5 Reasons To Get A Load-Support Kit

Dunlop load-support kit

Load-support kits are our most popular kits for motorhome, campervan and van owners. We sell kits from household name Dunlop, as well as Australian manufucaturers Boss.

We can do a load-support kit for almost any vehicle, so what are you waiting for? Give us a call or e-mail if you can't find your kit in the kit finder or search bar, or if you're still not convinced, read on...

  1. Dunlop kits are the creme de la creme of air suspension. You may know the name from their shoes, bike tyre or tennis balls - Dunlop even sponosred Steffi Graf and John McEnroe back in the day - but most importantly, they just make really, really good air bags. Dunlop bags are super reliable too - that's why AirRide offer a five-year warranty on all their kits. I know, you cannot be serious, right?Boss, meanwhile, manufacture all their load-support kids for the ruggedness of the Australian outback. Their bags are as tough as they come - not only can they survive the 50-degree heat of Australia's red centre, but the sub-freezing temepatures of Scandinavia too - perfect if you're taking your motorhome around the world!
  2. Load-support kits offer a much more comfortable ride. Load-support kits are fitted in addition to your vehicle's original spring, meaning they literally 'support' the original suspension. This re-inforcement can only mean one thing - your ride gets better. Bumps in the road will be ironed out once more, providing a much smoother experience.
  3. Air suspension is adjustable. This means you can raise and lower the pressure of your air bags to make sure your vehicle always stays level, no matter the load. It also means you can adjust the vehicle's height to load it before raising it again.
  4. Improved stability. Load support makes your vehicle perfectty level, meaning crosswinds buffer each part of it evenly. This makes it more stable, helping at junctions, roundabouts and motorways, therefore making your motorhome nicer to drive.
  5. More ground clearance. Air suspension on the back of your vehicle obviously increases the distance between the bottom of it and the ground, which reduces damage to the underside of the vehicle and makes towing easier.

Remember, give us a call on 0800 772 0315 or e-mail at enquiries@airride.uk to discuss load-support kits for your vehicle. We're happy to get calls and we can even install the kit for you too!

Posted by Jack

Turn your car from Japanese to JapAIRnese

If you're looking to bag your Japanese car, whether it be a Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Mazda, Subaru, Mitsubishi or even Daihatsu, AirRide is the place to come.

We have more than 300 unique kits for Jap cars (or kurumas, as they're known in Japan), including 63 for Hondas and Acuras, 66 for Toyotas and Lexuses and 54 for Nissans and Infinitis.

We even supply state-of-the-art kits for sport cars such as the Mazda RX-7 and Nissan 350Z, and kits for every Evo, from 1-10.

And if those cars are just a little bit out of your price range then fret not, dozens of more affordable cars are catered for too, including the Honda Civic.

Plus, the kits for all these cars (and the 300-odd others!) are bolt-on, meaning they are simple enough for any local garage to fit. You may even be able to fit your kit yourself!

You can find the kit for your car using the car finder above. Just click on it, then select the manufacturer for your car.

And if you can't find a kit for your car, then we can probably make a kit for you! Call us on 0800 772 0315 or e-mail us at enquiries@airride.uk to find out more.



Subaru BRZ
Posted by Jack

Get the Ultimate ride for your T5 or T6

T5 and T6 AirRide Ultimate kit

Just in case you weren't satisfied with the fantastic kits we already had, AirRide is bringing out another kit for the T5 and T6.

This one's different from the others though - you might even call it the ultimate. Well, we did at least - and so let us introduce the AirRide Ultimate kit for T5s and T6s.

This kit uses huge, reversible-sleeve bags for its struts, made exclusively for AirRide by Dunlop, a brand reknowned for its high quality and reliability.

It is these bags, which are reversible-sleeve on the front and back, that give this kit the best ride quality of any T5 or T6 out there, and by quite some distance. You'll think you're riding on clouds, or near enough at least...

However, that incredibly smooth ride does come at a cost. The AirRide Ultimate kit is built for comfort and durability, so if you're looking for extreme drop, it's probably best to look to one of our other kits.

You won't have to look far though - our new AirRide Custom Plus kit will offer your T5 or T6 a staggering amount of drop, and it too is actually pretty comfy considering the drop.

And if, for some reason, that's not your thing, we have six more kits to choose from. Click here to see our product page for Transporters.

Whatever you want for your T5 or T6, AirRide have got the right kit for you. Call us on 0800 7720315 or e-mail us at enquiries@airride.uk to find out more about the AirRide Ultimate and Custom Plus kits.



Posted by Jack

Kits for any Mercedes since the 1960s!

We've recently been inundated with tonnes of requests for Mercedes kits, including the stunning S-Class W116 on the right! As such, we thought we'd take the opportunity to tell you all about them...

We have 36 different kits for Mercedes cars, as part of our AirRide Gold and TA Technix ranges - BUT we can supply a kit for any Mercedes from the 1960s onwards! All our Gold and TA Technix kits are bolt-on, meaning any local garage will be able to fit it and you may be able to fit it yourself.

Gold kits are also ideal if you want a really low ride, as they always come with adjustable struts. These can be altered in four different ways, which means you can set the height of your Mercedes to whatever you like and drop it as low as you want, too.

To find out if we have a Gold kit for your Mercedes, click here and use the 'Model' drop-down menu to search for your car.

TA Technix kits are a great alternative if you're not bothered about dropping your Benz right to the ground - although it will still give it a stylish, low stance if that's what you're after. They're cheaper than Gold kits too; have a look at our range for Mercedes by clicking here.

And don't forget, if you can't find a kit for your Mercedes or any other car, we can probably make a kit for you! Call us on 0800 772 0315 or e-mail us on enquiries@airride.uk to find out more.

Follow us on Instagram as well for loads of great pics and videos of Mercedes and other cars.



Mercedes S-Class W116 with air ride
Posted by Jack

Make your Mercedes more magnificent with a Custom kit

Mercedes S-Class W116

The most recent car to come through our workshop is this gorgeous Mercedes S-Class W116.

This Merc has been fitted with an AirRide Custom kit, part of our bespoke range of kits that are made to order.

The main benefit of a Custom kit, other than the fact that we can make one for any car (yes, any car!), is that it can be made to achieve exactly what you want from your air suspension.

For example, most customers who order one of our bespoke kits for their car are looking to slam it, but air suspension can also be used to provide extra comfort - yes, even on a Mercedes S-Class!

That's why this car isn't skimming the street, but rather off the floor, for the limo feel that only an AirRide Custom kit can offer.

To order your own Custom kit, call us on 0800 772 0315 or e-mail us on enquiries@airride.uk. To see if we already have a kit for your car, use the car finder above.

And don't forget to follow us on Instagram for more snaps of this S-Class and much more!

Posted by Jack

Introducing AirRide’s Magic MINI!

We've been busy in the workshop lately, fitting AirRide Gold to this beautiful MINI R50.

The folks from Performance MINI magazine even came down to have a look, with their photographer taking snaps of every step of the installation process. The MINI will be featured in the May and June issue of the magazine as part of a handy installation guide, so if you want to know exactly how air is fitted, look no further!

But if you can't wait 'til then, drop us a call or e-mail and we can send you fitting steps for your kit. One of our favourite things about AirRide Gold kits is that they're bolt-on, meaning you may be able to fit the kit yourself (or any local garage can if you don't feel comfortable doing so).

To see more brilliant pictures like this one, make sure to give our Instagram a follow, too. As well as great pics of our Magic MINI, you'll also find videos of air suspension in action, snaps of our great range of kits and interactive stories. See you there!

And don't forget, we don't just do air suspension for cars. On our insta you'll find some pics of a T5 we recently fitted, as well as this video. #TooshieTuesdays is definitely a thing, right?

Have a look at the AirRide Gold page for MINIs here. To check out Gold kits for any other car, click here.

MINI R50 with AirRide Gold
Posted by Jack

Follow AirRide on Instagram

Instagram for Cars

AirRide is now on Instagram. We have been so busy designing, manufacturing, supplying and installing air suspension over the past couple of decades that we didn't even spot Instagram as the perfect place to share all the happenings at AirRide! To make sure you only see the content you're interested in, we have created two pages - an Instagram for cars and an Instagram for vans, motorhomes and pickups.

At the bottom of this page you will see a selection of the other social media we use, which are also separated between cars and larger vehicles.

Instagram for Commercials

Posted by Phil

Introducing our XL-ent new page…

We now have a brand new Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for you to check out - AirRide XL.

Our AirRide XL pages are especially for those of you who have, or would like to have, air suspension on heavy vehicles - such as vans, pick-ups and motorhomes.

Follow AirRide XL for special offers, pictures, videos, advice on fitting, and information on the many different load-support kits we offer.

You can find our AirRide XL Facebook page here and the Twitter page here, and the Instagram page here.
Alternatively, you can find them both later by searching for 'AirRideXL' in the site's search bars.

Don't forget to follow our main Facebook page too for lots of extra air ride content!

AirRide XL logo
Posted by Jack

AirRide Gold for C Class

Easy-to-fit air suspension

Our AirRide Gold kits are known and developed to be easy to fit.

A great example of this is the bolt-on conversion for the Mercedes C Class, where the development and engineering of the product are both geared toward making life easy for the installer. The rear is fitted with just one bolt at the bottom, which is more than the C Class's original springs.

To see our full range of more than 600 AirRide Gold kits, click here.

Posted by Phil

12 Deals Of Christmas – Ford Ranger (1994-2011)

Happy New Year Everyone!

For the twelfth deal of Christmas, AirRide give to you... £100 off the Ford Ranger (1994-2011) kit by Dunlop!

To claim on the offer, simply e-mail us at enquiries@airride.uk as soon as you see the kit you want. Keep checking back to see if your vehicle is featured!

All the kits featured are made by Dunlop, meaning they are high-quality and super reliable. Check out the Ranger kit by clicking HERE.

All offers are only while stocks last so act quickly to avoid disappointment.

Posted by Jack

12 Deals Of Christmas – Mercedes Sprinter

For the eleventh deal of Christmas, AirRide give to you... £100 off the Mercedes Sprinter (1995-2006) kit by Dunlop!

To claim on the offer, simply e-mail us at enquiries@airride.uk as soon as you see the kit you want. Keep checking back to see if your vehicle is featured!

All the kits featured are made by Dunlop, meaning they are high-quality and super reliable. Check out the Sprinter kit by clicking HERE.

All offers are only while stocks last so act quickly to avoid disappointment.

Posted by Jack

12 Deals Of Christmas – Renault Master

For the tenth deal of Christmas, AirRide give to you... £100 off the Renault Master (2010-) kit by Dunlop!

To claim on the offer, simply e-mail us at enquiries@airride.uk as soon as you see the kit you want. Keep checking back to see if your vehicle is featured!

All the kits featured are made by Dunlop, meaning they are high-quality and super reliable. Check out the Renault Master kit by clicking HERE.

All offers are only while stocks last so act quickly to avoid disappointment.

Posted by Jack

12 Deals Of Christmas – Iveco Daily S (2014-)

For the ninth deal of Christmas, AirRide give to you... £100 off the Iveco Daily S (2014-) kit by Dunlop!

To claim on the offer, simply e-mail us at enquiries@airride.uk as soon as you see the kit you want. Keep checking back to see if your vehicle is featured!

All the kits featured are made by Dunlop, meaning they are high-quality and super reliable. Check out the Iveco Daily S (2014-) kit by clicking HERE.

All offers are only while stocks last so act quickly to avoid disappointment.

Posted by Jack