By Andrew Lee
When Joey Friedrich â09 cruises in his 1987 Volvo station wagon, neon strobe lights glow underneath his car as bass resonates down the block. Friedrich saved the archaic vehicle by installing subwoofers, amps, under glow, and interior neon lights.
âMy car became a never-ending project,â said Friedrich.Â âMy work became popular among my friends, and there was always something to work on and improve.â 17 upper school students have spent between $500 and $12,000 on after-market upgrades.
The most common modifications on their cars are exterior body work, sound systems and new wheels. Students tune up their cars to provide better performance and appearance.
âAdding exterior body work improves the look of the car and gets a lot more attention,â said Jason Mow â09, who added a body kit to his Audi S4.
The aerodynamic aspect of modifying vehicles directly relates to the handling as well as the appearance of the car. Five of these students installed exterior body kits and spoilers.
âI aimed to create better handling for my car by adding a European flat bottom steering wheel, racing suspension and sway bars,â Alistair Belton â09 said. Though car tuning often relates to racing, none of these students modified under the hood to increase speed or acceleration.
The after-market products these drivers used enhance either the handling or appearance of the car.
âMy parents were completely cool about the parts I ordered, they even helped me pay for it,â Adam Maltz â09 said. He ordered $5,000 worth of modifications just before he totaled his Volkswagen GTI last June.
Maltz was never able to install the parts he had ordered for his GTI, but hopes to continue his project when he gets a new car next month.
âI love my car because itâs a creative project I can always work on,â said David Berry â09, who installed a refrigerator and LCD screens on his Scion.
âItâs all about personal enjoyment and how you want your car to look,â said Danny Rudyak â09. âThe rims on my 550i BMW complete its bat-mobile appearance.â Five out of the 17 students added new rims to their cars, which can vary in size and colors.
âMy sound system enhances my ride because it turns a small compact car into something everyone wants to ride in,â Jakarri Hamlin â08 said. âSchool security is always hassling me because my music is too loud.â
Madeline Leonard â09 breaks the trend in a male dominated activity as the only girl on the campus to tune up her ride by adding black rims.
Â âIt feels great to be the only girl to do this because it reflects my individual personality,â Leonard said.
âI add or change things on my ride to give it a better appearance,â said Ben Katan â09, who painted his entire Honda Civic black. âI first think about what I think looks good to me, then what my friends will think about it.â
Meanwhile, Friedrich enjoyed working on his souped-up car while it lasted. Last June, Friedrichâs antique Volvo was stolen while on a family vacation. He believes that the car was stolen for the merchandise inside.
âI donât have an imposing personality, but my car displayed a more aggressive and flashy side of me,â Friedrich said. âIt wasnât about the money. All the work and time that I put into was gone.â The loss of his car did not stop him. He adopted his sisterâs 1995 Volvo station wagon and is on his way to replacing the gratifying pastime that he had lost.