It was 3:15 on a Friday, and school just got out. Some students rushed to a sports practice, some visited a teacher for extra help, some filed dejectedly into detention, and others gathered in room 229 for the first meeting of a new club, Car Club.
The way Junior Carmen Facciobene tells it, the original premise of Car Club was simple: “to gather automotive enthusiasts into a group where they can talk about their passion.” However, Carmen said things changed when Junior Dillan Graf-Suleman sent an instagram video to a group chat of some kids making a race car out of spare parts and a motorcycle engine.
Carmen was in this group chat with Dillan, Junior Cole Cohen and Junior Drew Steinman. His general thought process was this: wouldn’t it be “kinda cool” to build a racecar?
This idea specifically resonated with Facciobene, who plans on majoring in mechanical engineering in college.
“I’ve always liked cars, since I was a kid,” said Facciobene. “it’s always been sort of a passion, and I think building one would be pretty cool.”
Quickly a group formed dedicated to the mission of constructing a homemade race car, even though many lacked practical engineering or design experience. This did not deter them.
“The first step was to break the project down into pieces and then try to accomplish the pieces one by one,” Carmen said. “So there was the original design element, but before that there was the general idea of what we wanted to go for.”
They would need “an engine from a motorcycle (a sportbike preferably), steel tubing, an ECU (electronic control unit), and various other scrounged car parts.”
They would also need to learn new skills like wiring, engineering, designing, and putting it together. Carmen learned to use CAD modeling to create an exact digital design for the structure of the car’s frame, and the places for the various components. He is also currently learning to weld so he can create the steel chassis for the vehicle.
The car measures about 5-feet wide and 10-feet long, with a tapering hood to create an aerodynamic body, and the plan is to achieve a speed of between 60 to 80 miles per hour. The car is still in the planning and development phases, and Carmen revealed that they “went through a couple different iterations of the design until we found one that we thought would be the best fit for the project”. The team members are currently still trying to source parts and tools, as well as finalizing the design.
Henry Freytag ’24