This Toyota Corolla floats on a cloud with air ride suspension

Shabirrie's Toyota Corolla
Shabirrie's Toyota Corolla
Robin Classen

'How low can you go' is a track made famous by American rapper Ludacris.

While the song is a depiction of something else entirely, some petrolheads have taken a literal meaning to this and applied it to their cars.

Introducing Bubblehead

The art of vehicle suspension modification has been around for many years with enthusiasts opting to fit either lowering or coilover kits to achieve more 'lows'.

In recent years, the prominence of air ride suspension or 'bagging' has made a comeback, and is now the new 'must-have' in the local stance culture if you're looking for some instant street cred.

Do you have a car fitted with air ride suspension? Email us, we'd like to know about it.

As far as air ride suspension systems are concerned, Shabbirrie De Jongh's AE92 Toyota Corolla is as low as they come and definitely looks the part as well.

Shabbirrie is a member of the local group Republic of the 92ers that represents Cape Town's finest AE92 chassis that includes the Conquest, Tazz, and Corolla models.

GALLERY | Shabbirrie De Jongh's aired-out Toyota Corolla

His 1992 Toyota Corolla is relatively standard in terms of performance modifications but upon first glance you can immediately tell there is more to it than meets the eye.

shabirrie toyota corolla

                                                                Image: Wheels24 / Robin Classen

It sits pretty on a set of white 8.25j 15-inch Rotiform reps, sourced from Shaba Mags in Goodwood, that breaks the gun-metal paint job perfectly.

Shabbirrie imported a front grille and rear light set from Malaysia which gives the car a totally different appearance, especially when the ride height is adjusted.

Other changes include the fitment of Toyota Avante Twincam leather seats, and electric windows.

Floating on a cloud

Prior to the fitment of the air suspension which Shabbirrie installed in 2018, the car made use of BC V1 VA coilovers but has just been gathering dust since he fitted 'bags'.

He noted that a good friend did the installation work he can't recall the exact details of the brand, only that the components used comes from Brazil.

shabirrie toyota corolla

                                                                         Image: Wheels24 / Robin Classen

One thing that sets air suspension apart from the rest is the smooth driveability it offers. Conventional lowering kits and coilover setups offer a much stiffer ride, and the tendency to bounce when road surfaces aren't the best.

The system fitted to Shabbirrie's car allows him to independently adjust the front and rear height of the car with the touch of a button. You tend to pay more for a system such as that, with the basic function only able to go up and down.

But what do these systems cost? Depending on who installs the system and the quality of products used, the fitment of air suspension can vary in price.

Vehicle specialist, Autowizz owner Moinuddin Gaibe, says: "You get what you pay for so these systems can cost anything from R40 000 to R100 000. Then you even get guys who use truck bags and modify it to suite their cars. Also remember you'll need extra battery power, and that's an additional cost."

Air ride suspension systems aren't fully devoid of issues as small holes in the piping running to and from the compressor and in the bags itself can occur over time. This depends on the components used and the workmanship of the installer.

Shabbirrie's Corolla definitely goes by the words of that Ludacris song and turns heads wherever it goes in the same breath - get it?

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Brought to you by
Voting Booth
Do you think Mercedes will return to form later in the 2022 F1 season after two poor races?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, don't discredit them.
34% - 509 votes
Who cares, F1 is exciting again!
43% - 653 votes
No, it's Ferrari's turn to dominate again.
23% - 349 votes