This I Believe

Daniel - San Diego, California
Entered on November 26, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Function over fashion has always been a philosophy I used towards making modifications to any vehicle for any use. Function is more important than fashion in the automotive industry because to have your car outperform the rest, it must have all parts functioning in unison. Function is the building block for all automotive design in the endurance and race car world. This philosophy has dramatically shaped all the aspects in which I view cars.

Ever since the 6th grade, I have had a love for Hondas, especially the Honda Civic. This car is definitely not the fast, quickest, or most aerodynamically sound car by any means. What the Honda Civic has on its side is its light weight and suspension. These two variables allow for the Honda Civic to have the potential to be faster and quicker than race cars over five times its value.

When I purchased my Honda Civic, I installed an Acura Integra motor and upgraded the suspension with full coil over suspension kit. I also removed most the interior with the exception of the two front seats and the radio. These modifications adhere to my philosophy of function over fashion. Most people when purchasing a car purchase it because they like it the way it is. On the other hand, I like to make the car my own and make it stronger, better, and faster than in its previous state. The modifications I made were clearly not for fashion.

After having the car for a while, I learned its likes and dislikes in regards to road racing. One of my friends had a very nice 1996 Ford Mustang GT and always bragged about how fast it was and how good it handled. So we put our cars to the test on a local race track. From an outsiders view, most everyone thought I would be beat. I mean my car was slower than his, has front wheel drive, and the engine I had had less than two liters of displacement. His car had faster acceleration, was rear wheel drive, and he had a 4.6 liter engine, all the advantages need to win a road race. Since I adhered to my philosophy I knew I had the true advantage.

Once we got to the track, all my senses were heightened, my heart was racing, my pulse was high, and I could feel the adrenaline in my veins. We decided that we were going to race 3 laps and whoever finished first would be declared the champion. The last words I remember hearing were, on your marks, get set, and go. Now, the race had begun. We had both began to push our cars to their limit. After 3 grueling laps, I had one, not by a fraction of a second but nearly twenty seconds. Twenty seconds might not seem like a lot, but in racing twenty seconds translated into a quarter of a lap.

By staying true to my belief, I knew that my car had much more function than his car, which gave me the true advantage. This philosophy has forever molded the way I view cars. From the way they are constructed to the advancements made by auto manufactures, I always try to learn from their knowledge. It has also encouraged me to learn more and try to understand the advanced techniques of aerodynamics and how the slightest modification could have unlimited benefits. Function over fashion is truly a revolutionary idea.