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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
downest said:
It really gets to me when people jump all over parts that are functional but may be a little weird looking or out of the ordinary. Matt's front end is a good example of this. Yeah, it might look weird, but there IS a performance gain, however small, and that's what it's about.
I moved this discussion over to a new thread since posting it in the other thread would have been getting REALLY off topic, (as if it wasn't already).

Regarding form and function: Tom's quote above is where I disagree (and I'm speaking in general here, not about a particular product or Tom himself, just a larger attitude in the import community). Parts, at least the type that we're discussing, *should* be functional. That's their job. If they don't function, they are a failure. But, a part's functionality doesn't, to me, automatically give it some sort of carte blanche with regards to appearance. In some cases, sure. If I'm in the market for a camshaft or some connecting rods, with all things being equal, I'll buy the ones that function the best, appearance isn't important because I don't have to look at them.

Likewise, if I was running a car in a racing series and was looking for every advantage, every hundredth of a second REALLY mattered...I would be more likely to choose the most functional product without regards to appearance.

Now, I like my car to perform well. I've driven plenty of cars with engine swaps and turbos and spent tons of money on upgrades of all kinds. But, in a street car, especially a daily driver, appearance most definitely comes into the picture. A "performance gain, however small" isn't, to me, what it's *all* about. It's a great thing, but there are always trade-offs to consider. If a supercharger gave my car 350HP but, as a result, it only got 8 miles per gallon, I wouldn't buy one. Likewise, if it required a 8 inch cowl-induction hood to fit, or if it made the car much less reliable or required me to spend much more money on maintenance and repairs, it might not be worth it.

A performance gain isn't always what it's all about. A small performance gain at a large aesthetic (or other) penalty isn't a good trade-off to me. A small performance gain with a small aesthetic penalty, maybe. A large performance gain with a small aesthetic penalty, sure. It's just a very strange argument to respond to "well, that's certainly ugly" with "but it WORKS". Yeah, I *expect* it to work...does it work well enough to overcome it's appearance?

I think part of the issue is the fact that a lot of people (not on this site, but in general) act like various 20-year-old 105-HP 4-cylinder sporty Japanese economy cars are the epitome of a form-follows-function car build philosophy -- honestly, that's a large part of why Hondas have a bad name in a lot of the automotive world. I very rarely see daily driven Mustangs, Corvettes, or Camaros with the interior fully stripped down to bare metal. Why? Because the performance gain is *very* minimal, and for a street car, it's simply not worth the trade off -- the car is noisier, louder, it doesn't look as nice or complete...why trade off 20lbs of weight when they are that important? But Honda guys do it all the time, because this philosophy of performance gain, however small, being the determining factor in a decision. There are guys out there running only a driver's seat in automatic-transmission-equipped Honda Accords because a performance gain, however small, is what it's all about to them.

Please remember, I'm speaking very generally here -- this is very much NOT about the shifter from the other thread, or Tom's exact stance on things -- he's got a very nice looking car!

"Rice" is generally accepted as being the practice of modifying a car while being more concerned with the look of going fast than actually going fast...a philosophy of form over function. But, sometimes, it's this: the attitude that performance is paramount, worth any trade-off, in a car that's obviously NOT the pinnacle of performance.

Now, every decision, every trade-off, takes thought. Even if you tend to go by a certain philosophy, you weigh the various aspects in making a decision. And that's why I'm writing this. Someone CAN jump all over a part even though it's functional, because function is NOT some kind of magical trump card. All pistons, brakes, shifters, intakes, etc. should function...but that doesn't mean people can't dislike another aspect of them.

Someone running fiberglass doors and Lexan windows in a 15-second daily-driver will probably get jumped all over by some, because while it's certainly a performance benefit, it's absurd on a car that's driven every day and has a stock engine. If a 10-second purpose-built drag car had the same parts, nobody would say a thing, because it makes sense. The tradeoffs are different in that car since it's not taken to work or through the Wendy's drive-thru, dropping a tenth can be a HUGE difference, and the car's engine, for instance, might be as close to the maximum level of performance for it's class. It's about a performance gain in both cars, but the tradeoffs aren't equal.

OK, enough rambling. Thoughts?

EDIT: This isn't to say there's no gray area between a daily driver and a full-on race car. Obviously, there are a lot of cars that see part-time auto-x duty, etc., and that is taken into consideration when that person weights the pros and cons of something for their car.
 

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M...F.....I had a really good message typed out and about 3 sentences before hitting reply the surge protector came loose.... :evil:

Anyway, Ill try again...

Everytime I drive my HF, Im brain storming on what I want to do with it, lately its been considering removing all the heat/AC components and stripping the rear interior as I plan to get more into drag racing this summer. Its alrdy light, why not make it lighter is the thought train.
Hence why Im want to pick up something like a 4 door beater civic.

My problem is on days like today, I get up, hop in the CRX, run to work, think the whole time I cant wait to just drive and then I go and pick up a friend to help him look for a house since he sold his place. I ended up putting just over 200miles just crusing around in my HF looking for places.
I loved it! I then went with the same friend to work on his 90 HF, its ricey as its got a molded blitz bodykit, and his style is almost opositie of mine. But its stil a honda, its still a CRX and it comes apart the same way, minus all the fiberglass LOL. I still enjoyed every min of working on it.

On the way back home, we switched places and he drove while I ate a BK double stacker. He got off the highway and took the little HF through the mountain and I know he was enjoying just driving it. He hasnt drove his for over a year. Not to mention the whole time we are talk about what we are going to try to do with our cars this summer.

After just cruising around in the little crx all day, It got me rethinking my plans.....until I drive it again tommrow with that crazy HF trans. :lol:

My point being, everybody has different ways of approaching how they modify their car. Others like them stock. Its just what YOU want from your car, not what everybody else wants. YOU being the person whos going to be in the drivers seat 99% of the time. Theres so many ways to look at form and function, its not even funny.

Okay Im outa caffine and I hope that makes sense....Good night. 8)

Also, really great post.
 

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Good post Ryan!

First off, I think it's a little silly because initially, we were talking about a shifter. It's not something you're going to be showing off, or even something a lot of people can see. It also doesn't require other mods like removing the boot or the console around it. Anyway though, on to the point...

I think you make a valid point that something so small on a relatively stock car doesn't make sense. Personally, I know a lot of stuff on my car doesn't do well for a daily driver, but I live with it because I like the benefits in that little time I get to use them. I don't think anyone should be driving around with the spring rates I have, with crazy turbo swaps, harnesses, carbon fibre body panels, racing brakes, summer-only tires, sunroof plugs, missing pieces of the car (AC, wipers, etc) if they are using their car only as a daily driver. If I didn't autoX my CRX I might have nicer rims and a lowering kit on it, but you can be damn sure I wouldn't have a swap or near-track spring rates and polyurethane bushings.

Most people don't NEED any of the mods they put on, functional or not. Still, we do it because we like it. You'd be surprised what little things will do too, I couldn't believe the difference in feedback and quicker steering I felt when I installed my smaller wheel, it's simple but it makes a big difference.

Still, most functional mods, alone, do very little. It's when you add them all up that it changes something. I gave the example of the intake in the other thread. Almost everyone here that mods their car has an intake of some sort on it (I said almost ;) ). An intake alone makes very little difference, but coupled with other parts, like cam(s), header, exhaust, it adds up to something better. The shifter is like that, it makes one small part of driving the car quicker and more comfortable for the driver, and in some way that will help out, if only to keep your hands on the wheel for a few tenths of a second more. Now, if we were talking about a big aluminium wing that *may* provide downforce, yeah I would agree with you, but as Angry said, to each his own. Maybe someone else would be cool with that, like I am with the shifter and maybe like you are with an intake.

I don't think that every functional piece just gets a carte blanche to go on the car, purely because of its functional status. I agree that in a daily driver, a lot of that stuff is impractical and ridiculous, but it's because everyone draws the line at a different point. It really just depends what you're willing to put up with, and what you are doing with the car. I have a lot of friends with heavily modded cars, and they all serve different purposes; some are race cars, some for weekend fun, and a few daily drivers. I've also been in stock cars that were a lot of fun, including my old CRX when I first got it, before I got the bug. The point is, everyone likes something different, and that's cool, otherwise we'd all have the same CRX, and there would be no point to the community.

A good example:
There's a guy who's on staff here at RPI, who recently moved away, but used to occasionally autoX with our club, and does a lot of it with SCCA groups up here and in New England. He drove a 92 Si, and it was built almost perfectly for STS (street tire class in SCCA). The engine was stock, but had all the bolt ons allowed, Hondata Tuned, Quaife LSD, Konis on ground controls, powerslot brakes, Azenis, all the strut bars you could want, sway bars, everything gutted from the front seats back, Corbeaus, harnesses, shift knob (but you can't mod the shifter :O ), pretty much a textbook build for an EG for STS. I really think this guy went out and found a list on HT or something about how to make a competitive STS EG, and just bought everything and put it together. I drove the car, and it was fun, and it was damn fast around the cones, but I don't think he got much out of it personally. Yeah, he won (sometimes), but his car was done, he hadn't tried anything out, and he was just driving it around, because he thought that's the way this Civic should be. If everyone went out and bought the *best* parts for their EG for autocross, they would all be like that car, and the tuning world would suck.

Wow, I'm getting long winded, how unusual :p

Now, as for the whole scene... it's really unfortunate how many people are like that, driving around auto accords with one seat and a wheel. I've driven more than a few gutted cars, and I have to admit it's fun. I sure as hell wouldn't want to do it every day, but most of the ones I've driven have been race only cars, and of course not mine, so I don't have to drive them all the time. But, if someone likes that, let them do it. There's a local guy rolling around in a mostly gutted EK coupe, and I'm sure he doesn't care when people laugh at it, because there's a K20 under the hood. I think most of us who are rocking swapped and modded cars could care less about what other people on the street think, we do it because we really enjoy modding our cars, and who cares what the slower cars think? 90% of the people on the street I see are driving vanilla cars, minivans, SUVs, crappy beat up sedans and the like. Once in a while I see an Integra or a Celica or something and I get excited, only to see an old guy or some college girl on the celli driving it (or that MILF in a Type-R last week...).

The fact is, almost everyone (strangers) you see out on a daily basis don't really care about what your car looks like, it's just another car on the road. My friends give me crap all the time, but it's my friends, and I give it right back to them. We all have different ideas about what a daily should be. One of my buddies has a seriously built 13B Turbo II in his first gen RX7, suspension, gutted, Sparcos, the whole deal, but he doesn't think a daily should be modded, so he drives a Ford Festiva (and you don't drive a Festi, you wait in it). I opt to mod my daily driver beyond what most people would tolerate for normal use, especially in the potholed Northeast. I have other friends with 2 or 3 cars, all lightly modded. I keep coming back to it as I'm ranting here, but it's all about what you like in your car, and most people aren't even going to be looking at it anyway.

I guess I'll finish up so I don't make anyone fall asleep. The thing that irks me about the shifter specifically is that it's functional to some degree, and it's not altering the interior significantly. SiR front ends, on the other hand, and JDM seats, RHD, spoilers, sidemarkers and the like are all non-functional equipment, but I have never seen someone say anything negative about that, they are the cool thing to do. Why? The FLP shifter is an alternative to a short throw shifter, and how many people get those? They are perfectly acceptable because they look closer to stock, but they give less practical advantage!

Ok, ok, one last thing, because I keep re-reading your post :p

I think part of the issue is the fact that a lot of people (not on this site, but in general) act like various 20-year-old 105-HP 4-cylinder sporty Japanese economy cars are the epitome of a form-follows-function car build philosophy -- honestly, that's a large part of why Hondas have a bad name in a lot of the automotive world.
First off, I have told many people that I think the CRX was a mistake. I don't think Honda built it to be a sports car originally, there was no 84 Si. It was because of the minimalist aspects of the car that it became so popular to modify that they introduced the first gen Si, and then made the second gens more performance oriented. Honda meant to make a cheap, reliable commuter car, and accidentally ended up with a damn good platform.

I wouldn't say they are the epitomy of function-follows-form. Still, how many cars today can you get for a couple grand or less, throw in a few aftermarket parts, and drive them to and from the track, and race while you're there? The CRX and EF/ED/EE (there you go nitpickers) chassis is perfect for that, and so are other similar low powered, light Japanese economy cars (Gen1 MR2, AE86, Celica, Prelude...). If you want a sweet car to cruise around in comfort and pick up girls or whatever, you shouldn't be driving a CRX, find something with more seats, power windows/locks/steering, and maybe some torque.

Ok enough for now, until somebody else posts!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Good replies guys...just FYI, Tom, I definitely don't have a problem with small mods on daily drivers...or shifter mods, for that matter. My cars have always had shifter bushings and/or short shifters, as well as intakes, headers, exhausts, the whole bolt-on deal (engine swaps are a bolt-on in Hondas, right?). Right now my car has a previous-owner installed ITR shifter that I like pretty well.

What I was getting at was that a daily-driven car usually isn't at that level where *only* performance matters. Where you strip an interior to save a few pounds because the noise, heat, and appearance don't matter on the track, for instance.
Now, my center console, armrest, shift boot, rear interior, and carpet do nothing for performance. I have them in because I drive the car every day, and I want it to look and feel and drive a certain way, even though it could technically be "faster" if I pulled all that crap and put it in the garage. The trade-off isn't worth it. And, I think people that totally gut their interior on a 100% street-driven Honda give Hondas a bad name. All the track guys do it...but not on their street cars. They'd say, "don't you have to get to work in that thing?". Maybe it's a cool idea, when you've done everything else. But, if you have a gutted interior and you're running a stock engine with plastic airbox and a factory exhaust, maybe you didn't think your plan through that well. But hey, it LOOKS like a track car! Let's put a big tach by the window -- who cares if it's an automatic!

It's like when guys pull the A/C to save weight. I've seen domestic guys guilty of this one. You can always run a short belt at the track to bypass the compressor, but that 40 pounds of weight or so seems so important to some people. Again, on a track car, it makes sense. On a street car, you just gave up a lot for those pounds. It got to the point where it was hard to find a modded car for sale with the A/C intact. Maybe because it was hard to make work after the engine swap, but maybe because of a poorly thought-out trade-off. My car is one of these cars, from a previous owner's decision.

Anyway, point being, I feel the same way about that shifter. Maybe I could shift a little faster because my hand is closer to the knob, but to me the trade-off isn't worth it. I'll get to that stop light a fraction of a second slower if my car doesn't have to look a way that I don't like.

Now, some will say that they are 100% performance...but if a company made a set of hot pink wheels that were 2 ounces lighter than the bronze or gunmetal or black ones, I think we'd see a trade-off at work :) There are just too many cool-looking cars here for people not to consider aesthetics in their decisions.

I know everyone has different priorities, and that's what makes this place cool...so I don't expect everyone to agree with my exact opinions on this. I mostly wanted to discuss the concept of "it helps performance, even if just a tiny bit, so there's nothing else to consider". Make sense?

Thanks for the cool responses, guys. I was a little worried about a more heated discussion...I guess I forgot where I was for a minute! Let the discussion continue. :)

EDIT: Regarding "what other people think". I don't know if it's because I care what random people on the road think or not, but I certainly care plenty about how my car looks. It's why I clay-bar, polish, and wax the paint; why I clean up the wheels, spray shiny stuff on the tires, and keep the plastic trim clean and shiny. It's why I have aftermarket wheels, why I painted my center taillight section and the trim around the taillights. I'm a graphic designer with an architectural background (my college degree is a B.Arch.), so you can probably guess that I'm a very visual and design-oriented person -- and why I've got a lot of opinions on the relationship of form and function. I could talk about the similarities between the concept of "rice" and the Modernist architects' rejection of all apllied ornament, but I'm not sure that would be that interesting ;)

My windows are tinted and people don't really see into my interior, but I still want it to look a certain way. Maybe it's a bigger factor to me than it is to some others, but I definitely want my car to look "right" to me. If something doesn't fit into that look, it's going to have to REALLY make a huge difference in some other way, or it's not going on the car.
 

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What a great thread!

I think we're all talking about personalization. We all like to personalize our cars and other things we own. We all curve the bills on our baseball caps, just to our liking. I have my computer screen "personalized" - I'm originally from the UK and have a British flag stuck on it. Why? What purpose does it serve? I honestly couldn't tell you but it probably helps remind me why I don't live there any more! I don't have British flag sticker on my CRX though - to me that would just wreck my good original paint

When I think of the goals I have for my CRX, they're pretty simple. I don't want to race, I want to keep it stock looking. I want it to be fun to drive and a surprise to people who line up next to me at traffic lights, see an old guy with gray hair and think it would be fun to leave him in the dust. But I also don't want to spend a lot of money getting there.

So while other people may laugh at my after-market rims (cornering), my ZC with the powder coated valve cover (performance and looks), my JDM armrest (comfort), my clean engine bay (why not?) and my I/H/E (performance), I don't care, really. The 138hp I get gives me enough to hold my own and the fun I'm looking for.

You won't ever see real rice on my car and, to me, it's stock. It's not a stock USDM CRX, though. It sure looks like it but keeping it entirely USDM stock won't help me meet my goals. I respect the people who designed the car and I honestly don't think there's much I can do to improve it.

To me, people who strip the interiors on their street cars, run high order spring rates and put massive HP conversions in just have different goals than I do. They're making a decision that, for them, helps them meet their personalization goals. Good luck to them, I say.

There is no right or wrong here, it's a question of personal taste. What I do think is a real shame, though, are people who destroy their street CRXs by ricing them up with big spoilers, racing seats that'll never see a track, sound systems you can hear on the moon and paint schemes that should be in the modern art museum. There are few enough good CRXs left and one day I might total mine and need to buy another one!

Despite my opinion, though, it's still up to them, whatever they do.
 

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Interesting topic, form vs. function. I think all of us have seen CRXs with 3 foot tall wings, 17" wheels, or dumped onto the ground. Form over function. It's the owner's choice to sacrifice speed (big wing = drag) or ride (big wheels and dumped make the ride horrible) because it looks good in their eyes. Same goes for heavy fiberglass body kits (the ultimate form over function).

On the other end of the spectrum you have function over form. These are the guys that can have beaten exteriors, stripped interiors, but the engine will be clean enough to eat off of. They spend major money on things people will never see - suspension or internal engine parts.

Now I have to defend some of the guys with bare interiors and AC removed. 90% of guys with stripped interiors do it for the race car look, the other 10% do it for the weight savings. In a car with <200 hp that weighs <2,000 lbs. every pound counts. Now if you strip out the interior of a Mustang with >400 hp that weighs 3,500 lbs that's just silly. Finally the guys who remove their ACs do so not to save the 40 lb. it weighs but to rid the engine of the parasitic drag from the compressor.

I'm somewhere in the middle.....I wanted a better handling so I bought Koni/GC. Now I could've raised the car to nearly stock height with them but like the look of a 1.5" drop. I have a short shifter because I wanted shorter throws but the leather EP3 shift knob and red stitched shift boot are strictly for looks. I wanted a leather wrapped steering wheel with a thicker grip so I bought a Momo, form and function. I also have a SS Tenzo R exhaust with an idiotic 3" tip. Believe me that's strictly function over form, I got tired of replacing OEM exhausts every other year. It's all about choices, some people want to go fast, others just want to look like they do.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ti Rider said:
Finally the guys who remove their ACs do so not to save the 40 lb. it weighs but to rid the engine of the parasitic drag from the compressor.
Can't you just remove the belt at the track so you don't have the parasitic drag? I used to hang out with a ton of 5=liter Mustang guys who would run a short belt (serpentine belt system) to bypass the compressor at the track, then throw the long bel back on for the ride home. Hell, guys would bypass the alternator for a pass if it would drop their ETs.

Removing the system altogether is for the weight, unless I'm missing something, you can lose the drag by ditching the belt.

I just don't understand some of the compromises guys make in the name of performance on a daily driven street car...but there's nothing inherently WRONG with it. This conversation was just a response to the idea that you can't question something if it's done in the name of performance.
 

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ryan_long_01 said:
Can't you just remove the belt at the track so you don't have the parasitic drag? I used to hang out with a ton of 5=liter Mustang guys who would run a short belt (serpentine belt system) to bypass the compressor at the track, then throw the long bel back on for the ride home. Hell, guys would bypass the alternator for a pass if it would drop their ETs.
Four cylinder versus eight, I don't know about you but I can feel my engine's power drop when the AC compressor kicks on. When I'm driving for fun I turn the AC off. I could see why someone concerned only about engine output (with a minor weight loss benefit) would remove their AC.

I just don't understand some of the compromises guys make in the name of performance on a daily driven street car...but there's nothing inherently WRONG with it. This conversation was just a response to the idea that you can't question something if it's done in the name of performance.
Me neither but it's all about personal choice. Hey more power to you if you want drive around in a hot, rattley, bare interior, car that rides like a go cart. If you enjoy power and handling that much, great. If you're doing it because you think it looks cool and gives you street cred, I personally think your a fool. Like I said I'm somwhere in the middle - I refuse to give up my AC, carpet, stereo, etc.......
 

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Where i stand.
My Crx is not going to win any awards, it's unfinished with flat black front end and crappy factory pinstriping, but it is fun as hell to drive.
-Currently it sports, complete, not MINT but very decent (for it's age) interior,
-"Ek" armrest (to rest my arm)
-sidemarkers, amber corners & bumper lights (because i like the look of the amber)
-88-89 EDM tails (again, I like the wrap around amber)
-clear center garnish, painted black (because the bakc up lense is more clear than the stock rear center piece)
-1st gen Integra lfront lip modified to fit the rear bumper.
None of those things do ANYTHING for performance, but it still looks very OEM like, just lightly enhanced.

My goal for my car is to have a clean, lightly modded, OEM "light cosmetic enhancment" Crx that does not stray very far from OEM. Nothing flashy, no big rims, body kits, crazy airplane wings or extreme drops. I personally dislike cars that scream, looking for attention.
I appreciate a clean OEM Crx more than i would one that has $30k(or however much) of crazy paint/body mods/ AV equipment done to it.

The SOHC ZC in it now pulls it around fine right now, i have a DOHC Zc for it, plan on getting that put in and i will be content with that.

Bottom line, for me, the car is FUN to drive, distinct looking and there is NOTHING like it on the road today.
 

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for me the form and function will always depend on the car. For my crx....it is never gonna be a full purpose race car......its gonna be a daily driver but I want it to be a daily driver that I can have fun in and am not afraid to take to the track. I want my cars to be what I call "a driver's car". I want it to look decent but I don't care if it's the best looking car in the parkinglot. I want it to be fast enough to have fun in and burn the tires off at a moments notice. But I also like the getting 30mpg part of it to. I'll make some sacrifices for preformance but omly to a degree. I dont mind not having A/C but thats mostly because I like riding with the windows down. If putting in racing seats will make it faster but uncomfortable.....I'll say forget them. I'll try and find something in the middle. A bit better than stock but still ok to sit in for a 5 hour drive is great for me. I could go on but I gotta go to work so maybe I'll post again later.
 

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My car was gutted for the weight savings. It is quite a bit quicker stripped down to the bare bones. I don't care how it looks, I just want it to do more with less. I stayed with the D motor. A very fun car.
 

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Great discussion so far. A refreshing change.

Currently I am battling in my mind over form and function. I have some money saved, and some I'll get from the accident last month, that I want to spend on my car.

Even before the accident, the car could use a paint job, and there are a few minor cosmetic things I could fix / get fixed at a shop. So, I have about enough money to either make the car look nice with paint, wheels, and a few other minor fixes
OR
enough to upgrade suspension, redo the rotting exhaust, and maybe put nice tires on it. Pretty much have to choose straight up form with the cosmetics, or function for the suspension, although a slight drop would improve looks too I think.

I'm still undecided on these points on my car, but in general I think of form and function together. If I am looking at a car and its parts, ideally I want each piece to have both form and function. I would put on bling wheels if it was to gain a different, more performance sized tire, when bigger steel wheels or cheap alloys would work. However, body kits, stickers, and things like putting JDM pieces where USDM ones were previously is not me.

With the original item, the shifter from the other post, it falls in between form and function, and that's where the debate lies. Sure it has functional gains, which could be utilized better by some than others. But its form is very different from the "normal" shifter, and I think that most people would notice it right off looking at the interior of a so equipped car. So you have function that some may not understand or want, and looks that exist because of the function. Here's a question: if you flipped the change, and the steering wheel could be moved somehow closer to the shifter, would you consider that mod?

That's what I love about cars and their owners, everyone has a different image and idea of performance and what they'll use to get there. I love my old rex and am happy to spend to make it better. A good friend of mine bought a used S2000 yesterday that he can't really afford, but that's what he wants (or thinks at the moment, but that's another story). I'd rather have a crx in a year or two built custom by me & my friends, rather than spending a wad on a OEM spec fast car.

My vote is for form and function to work together. Neither should edge the other out.

P.S. oh and I thought I'd mention - I have the A/C parts on my car, but the belt is removed. 8)
 

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I'm trying to balance the form and function with mine.

I'm adding amber corners and JDM sidemarkers. The sidemarkers are for the slight safety gain, since hopefull that extra turnsignal will help a bit to be seen better. The amber corners are just for looks. The plastic lens of the stock corner doesn't match the color of the glass after 17 years, so, go all amber.

I'm recovering my entire interior. Why? The vinyl gets hot in the sun and is beginning to dry out and crack. Some nice micro suede will not only look better, but be more comfortable.

I'm adding 2 "wings" to my car. One, the solar wing (goes at the top of the hatch, tinted and translucent) looks cool, but also shields sunlight from heating up the black interior. The other wing is the EDM flush mount, OEM style, and OEM function.

I'm thinking of adding LED tail lights, and custom headlights. The form won't be stock, but will aid in function.

I'm also toying with the idea of adding power windows at some point. Thats obviously a form thing, since the window cranks function just fine, but what is going to be the main function of this car?

Basically, thats what it all boils down to. What is the intended function of your car? What do you want it to do, for YOU?

I have no problem with show cars, as long as you know that wing and system kill your performance. Oh, and the car hast to be clean and tasteful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ti Rider said:
Four cylinder versus eight, I don't know about you but I can feel my engine's power drop when the AC compressor kicks on. When I'm driving for fun I turn the AC off. I could see why someone concerned only about engine output (with a minor weight loss benefit) would remove their AC.
Well yeah it obviously makes a difference on 4 cylinder or V8 cars, but I was talking about just not running the belt (or running a short belt, depending on if it's a serpentine belt system or not) when tracking the car and putting it back on afterwards. The same performance benefit at the track as removing the entire system (as far as parasitic drag goes, anyway) and you can still have AC on a summer road trip.
 

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Isn't form a type of function if that's what you are aiming for? ;) Art does have function. If the look of something pleases you and brings you a bit of inner peace, is that not functional?

- Stick, Devil's Advocate
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
rex2nr said:
I'm also toying with the idea of adding power windows at some point. Thats obviously a form thing, since the window cranks function just fine, but what is going to be the main function of this car?
Eh, people get power windows pretty much entirely for the way they work. I don't think there's much of a benefit aesthetically to having power windows...you lose the crank, but you have a hole to plug (unless you use the chance to swap some different door panels in). That reminds me, wanna buy some EDM power window switches (LHD, so the master is on the drivers side)? :) They make rolling down the window easier to do, rolling down the passenger window a LOT easier to do, I'd say that's entirely a functional thing. Not function as far as making the car go fast, but function nonetheless.

Ya know, one interesting thing to note about all of this is that form and function aren't ever really two separate things. You can't really break anything down to being one or another, although something can be primarily to improve the car's appearance or primarily to improve it's performance. Every part, every group of parts, and the whole car all have both form (a shape, appearance) and function (a job to do, and how well it does it).

The reason people use those two terms (form and function) was due to a movement in architecture around the turn of the century. A lot of things were changing at that time, and Chicago was really the epicenter of it all: steel was becoming an available material, as was reinforced concrete. The industrial revolution brought about tons of new ways of building and tons of economic growth. The Chicago fire had razed a lot of the city, so there was a ton of rebuilding to do as the city grew. The elevator had recently been developed. So, all of the sudden, buildings could be a LOT taller, and some architects were trying to decide what these new taller buildings should look like.

Up until that time, buildings had been, for the most part, form-driven. Houses, for instance, were often symmetrical on the facade -- so the floor plan was actually determined by the composition of the exterior, not by what actually needed to happen in the house! There was also a ton of applied ornament in buildings of that era. That was all to change. Louis Sullivan proclaimed that form should ever follow function -- that the look of something should be determined by the job that it does -- and that applied ornament was something to be avoided at all costs.

So, buildings began to express their structure, and express what went on inside the building, and how people moved through it and lived and worked inside.

That idea was applied to architecture for the first time, but really it has always existed in some sense. Some of the most beautiful (man-made) things are often designed as purely functional pieces, and end up beautiful as a result. Look at the parts of a nice, clean, cylinder head. Or at a piston and rod assembly. Look at a motorcycle or bike -- something built purely for efficient transportation ends up beautiful. Look at the way aerodynamics influence car shapes, and how nice looking they end up. Look at Indy or Formula 1 cars, the results of wind-tunnel testing, the lightest components put together in the simplest, lightest, strongest way to make the fastest car that they can...their goal is pure function, but it ends up a real work of art. Look at an airplane...from a lightweight glider to a fighter jet, they're all designed mainly to generate the proper lift and all that business, but they end up looking absolutely beautiful. Frank Lloyd Wright, who worked under Sullivan in his early years, later said it better than Sullivan had: "form and function are one".

So, that's where it all comes from, anyway.
 
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