CARS

21/01/2013

Opinion – Form > Function vs. Function > Form

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Written by: Zen Garage
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In the first of our Opinion Series (where we invite people from our community to discuss a current topic related to our scene) we thought we’d tackle form over function versus function over form. Be sure to let us know what you think too in the comment box below!

I PREFER FUNCTION OVER FORM. If it performs well, you will stand out and look good anyway. There is no point having form if it doesn’t function because you will end up looking like a fool eventually.
Catherine Coleiro (Driftcat) – Chequered Tuning

Form or Function? Well for me, I believe both can work together. A lot of people ramble on about it being one or the other, but for me, I want to prove them wrong. The direction I’m going with my WRX will be to have decent street power and have the whole stance side covered at the same time.
Kevin Smith – Ballr Inc. Photography

I prefer form over function. I love stanced and low rides! Losing my license for speeding made me realize that it’s not easy or practical to use crazy amounts of power on Aussie roads.. the fact that my car is low and I therefore have to slow down for potholes and speed humps all the time is probably what saved me from losing my license again.

If I ever want to use the power I can just throw the stock wheels on and take it to the track and use the power. But for daily use I prefer to cruise around looking good.
Stephen Wassef – Acquired Taste

I believe a mix or balance of form and function is best. Personally if I had unlimited money i’d go function over form because I prefer driving my cars hard and to be able to do that you need function.

I think the whole form > function and function > form just separates the community but I believe that each to their own and that people should tailor their car to their tastes, that’s why we are all enthusiasts.
Jason Victor Tjoeng – Turbos and Turbo-Spec

Id say depends on the car, im very much a mutual party and i believe you can have both, but all depends on the cars purpose to me, i mean whilst a stanced evo looks phat, its kind of a shame to have literally destroyed a cars racing pedigree and heritage i just think car builds have to have a clear purpose… you can’t stance out a car then complain it scrubs and can’t be tracked…same goes the other way.. but drift world has it right and proves, you can run stupid offset, stupid height and the rest of it whilst still using the car… i mean look at half of Hit and Run’s cars :O
Joel Rodrigues – slam.poke.tuck.dope

I don’t think it matters. It’s all about the love of the car scene. I think it’s about appreciating another person’s hard work, efforts and thoughts. Innovation is what creates this car community and keeps it alive today. I don’t think there should be a preference between the two options, you cant be judgmental about either, you just have to appreciate what everyone does.

We can’t be like little kids like, “My car looks so sick, I all about form over function” or, ”I don’t care that my car looks like a rat’s ass, it’s so fast, I like function better than form”. As long as you show appreciation for other peoples dedication, that’s what matters.
-Sammuel Tran – IL-357 EVO

The ways in which we modify cars has evolved significantly in the past few years at a dramatic rate, fuelled by the vast exposure of social media outlets. You’re no longer just king of just the neighbourhood. Blogs, Facebook,Iinstagram, forums have meant that the exposure of a photo put on line is now international.

The result is that now a decent shot of a mean looking car can have your car’s image being the wallpaper of many phones, and computers worldwide.
With such a large audience now, and so many examples of almost every model of every manufacturer online he pressure has increased to stand out. No longer does a nice fitting set of rims with coilovers get the same respect as it would have in the 90′s or early 2000′s. Its so much harder to get recognised and appreciated. Getting the lowest is so important for many these days for many, and the ‘bagged’ scene is growing because of it. It’s no longer enough to go to a wheel shop for a set of rims and sitting back and enjoying, its now about how low your offset is, how wide your wheels are, and how close they sit to your guards.

The result is that the more we push to get our cars to stand out the more extremely we modify. The Function vs. Form dichotomy has grown even futher apart. Its gone past the Fast and Furious days where a set of chromies, a heavy fiberglass bodykit, hotdog muffler would have panties dropping down the street at you drove past. Its now overstressed suspension parts grinding on each other due to lack of clearance, subframes bent out of shape, scrapes and holes ground through the undercarriage from attempting to drive aroynd in these form>function vehicles. And the less you care about this the cooler you are. Its encouraged! Man you’re a badass throwing sparks down the street!
Only question remains is how much further we’ll go.
James Duffy – FD Civic

Form can result in function. And often good function has its own appeal from its form. So i would say function> form. Eg a sexy coilover. Not a particularly sexy component. But when its top level with external res, it gains a form appeal from its function.
Mark Pakula – www.markpakula.com

I think you can have both in one car. I don’t see why people look at a car and because it is has fitment it has to be done for form not function… to me having to chose one is pretty closed minded and well just stuck in the old days. The amount of products on the market now gives us the option to have both in one car.

But every car is different.

I think I have made the wagon to have both Form and Function but then my BMW is just Form.
Zak Denman – Streetkarnage

With the car scene rapidly evolving by the month, it’s difficult to maintain your status and position, as well as the identity to your
vehicle. While we all strive to keep our individuality and build our cars themed around what we always imagined it to be, another example
often comes forward and we try to adopt their ideas to merge with ours.

While the current market is leaning towards a more fashionable approach in decorating your vehicle there are still plenty of veterans out there who still strive to keep their car performance driven with few visual modifications.

Build your car to your own specifications and don’t let anyone else’s ideas deter you from becoming your best. You don’t need 500 horsepower and 30 lbs. of boost to have fun; likewise your car won’t always blend in at every show with the new bodykit fascia or wheels you just purchased. Never lose your character to what want or recommend; park your car the way you built it and stand tall and firmly by it because that spot in automotive history is
yours forever.

Dipesh “Super-Dipz” Gohil – Versiontwo Laboratory

Two of the main reasons that people build cars is to either drive them hard and fast or slow and easy. Form and function serve both types of cars very well depending on desires and driving style, and the great thing is that form and function can be seen in extreme measures on the same car make and model.

For example, lets take a Nissan 200sx as our example car. If the owner wished to drive the car hard and fast, then the best functional add ons to this car would be a light weight alloy wheel, stiff suspension, engine modifications, larger brake package and the necessary bracing etc. Now if we take the car to the extreme with these mods, then the car would be horrible to drive on a daily basis, but be unstoppable on a track. A low-slung front diffuser and aerodynamic rear wing would break in the daily commute, the ultra stiff suspension would break your back, and the soft and sticky tyres would break your bank.

On the other hand, if cruising and being seen was the owners poison, then a low offset wheel choice, lowered suspension, bodykit and flashy paint would be had. But take this on the extreme again, and a low offset wheel will scrub your guards and cause damage on a continuous basis, your stretched tyres wouldn’t handle to great around tight bends, your bodykit will always be littered with stone ships and cracks and finally your show quality paint job would either need constant repairs from damage or wear.

Let us not lie to ourselves, but either of the above options would also see unwanted attention from the local police in any case. Function in itself is where the mainstream manufacturers are getting it right lately with the Toyota 86, Hyundai Veloster Turbo, mercedes C63, Chrysler 300c Srt-8, HSV and FPV, VW R32 Golf and Renault Megane RS etc. These types of cars all take function over form but still give a thrilling drive to the owner. They all receive the larger brakes, larger wheels, bodykit, lowered suspension etc but maintain the everyday driveability. But for us, the modifiers, in the end it will always be form over function with most choices.

We will always get the low offset wheels, the suspension lowered that “touch” too much, the low slung front splitters and stereo which can be heard from your local neighbouring country…why do you ask??? because let’s face it…no one wants to go half assed to their next meet and be shown up by the next guy.
Chris and Alex – Concord Customs

Well I have 2 cars so that’s why I’ll say form>function. Form is better than function because the reason why you modify is to get form, right? If you’re going to modify, it should be 100% concentrated on form and no function haha! It’s straight out dope when you have a sick looking car which you enjoy driving.
Areis Mo – OOOFT Civic

Form > function. Not because I detest a properly well-sorted car but at this point in my life, I can only afford and keep one car, i.e. a daily, and why not make it a head-turner?

Choosing airride was an obvious one as I like my cars low, but contrary to the overwhelmingly popular opinion, it didn’t mean I had to sacrifice my car’s handling. I run a Bagyard suspension setup that is based on a shortened Bilstein B16 strut with Continental airbags; dropped spindles which correct for the roll centre by levelling out both the control arm and tie-rod angle when slammed; and custom tubular arms with rose-joints which allow me to roll low without losing out on handling due to bushing flex/failure, and helps me clear the chassis.

With a bit of thought and perserverance, both form and function can be achieved; but being the attention whore that I am, if I had to choose only one, it’d be frame-laying form.
Raymond Chan – Raw Works

Cars do not necessarily have to conform to meeting either function over form or form over function. A balance of form and function can be achieved once the owner is aware of the capacity and capabilities of their car but this is an understanding you realise overtime with the ownership of the vehicle, feedback from others, your own research and creative input.

As with my car, the original concept was to meet function over form so in came the airbags, competition level stereo, and 1641 dual carb engine & 1500 gear box. My ideal preference was to have the car low and static but this would not serve the purpose of driving over speed humps, exiting and entering the steep drive way at my house and also being able to drive low so bags were installed to meet both requirements and the car is also completely engineered.

Over time however the car developed to be a balance of function with form with the addition of accessories and cosmetic enhancements. So with the right balance of function and form my car is now where it is now.
Bhathiya Welaratne – BUGGIN

For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in cars and all forms of Motorsport. I started riding motorbikes at the age of 6 and then progressed into racing karts competitively at 14, so everything that is designed to go as fast as possible, or ‘functional’, around a racetrack is of interest to me.

I think that everyone can appreciate a car that has been built for looks, and if the owner doesn’t intend to use the car on the track then I don’t see why people get so fired up over it if the car isn’t causing people danger. It’s their car so let them build it how they want it to be, and build yours to your taste. Sure people can take too far to the point where the cars are verging on undriveable just for looks and thats when it starts to get stupid IMO, but it’s their choice to do so and they can deal with the consequences of their actions. The best way to enjoy your car is through driving it, so if you impede this through your style of modification I feel that you wont be able to enjoy your car as much.

To conclude, it’s your car, your money and your choices. Whatever makes you happy is what you should do, build the car you want, not the one that people are telling you to build. For me function is > form and thats how I’ve always felt, even before I knew about this debate. I also believe they can both complement each other when done correctly, which Justin’s R32 GTR is a prime example of. Everyone has different tastes, and for many people who build their cars with a performance mindset are able to gain both function and form since it suits their taste, which is all that matters.
Ryan Suter



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