Sometimes it’s better to be an industrial dolphin, staying together with the rest of the group. Competitors more or less tend to share technology and technique, offering very little variation between brands. But often, industries are much more like a lemming-run, when it might be a good idea to break away from the pack, to do something different, because everyone else is doing it poorly. Here’s a few ways Borla Performance Industries does everything “wrong,” but still gets everything so right.
These days, huge, fat exhaust pipes are popular among the custom community. If your exhaust isn’t semi tractor-gauge, they say, get off the street. But instead of simply accepting and imitating this trait, Borla took a closer look, utilizing their massive R&D department, and confirmed what racing tuners have known for decades: bigger isn’t always better. Grapefruit-cannon pipes might look threatening, but they actually slow down exhaust gasses on their way out. Cool, slow gasses are not what you want milling around the door when you’re trying to maximize engine performance. Ideally, gasses leaving the exhaust will be as close as possible to the velocity and temperature they are when they first enter it. Flow keeps the power high.
Likewise, fat pipes stand in stark defiance of the Beach Boys, sending out bad vibrations. They’re rather like installing a tuba under your car and then stopping its bell with a flute. You’ll get all of your massive sound inside the car, which like the Beach Boys’ theremin, might start to get on your nerves after a while. But little of that music will ever make it outside. Narrower pipes, like the ones Borla favors, can reverse this.
Ironically, one of the biggest threats to the inside of an exhaust system is the exhaust gas itself. Carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and unburned hydrocarbons aren’t very nice to your lungs, and they’re not friendly with metal, either. On the outside, salt and moisture eat away at the metal like a high school wrestling team at a Ryan’s. Add vibration, a constant shaking whenever your vehicle is running, then cure it all with intense heat. What you’ll end up with is an extremely hazardous environment for metal.
Thankfully, a well-engineered exhaust system needs not fall to pieces at the first hint of use. Borla exhausts are T-304 stainless steel, through and through. Many companies use coated aluminum to save on production costs. But this coating tends to wear off at the joints, and corrosion follows. T-304, however, stays solid despite the inevitable abuse. Borla even guarantees their stainless exhausts for a million miles.
Finally, make a list of every automotive company with a female president. It’s likely a very short list, because the average car or car parts firm prefers to keep a man in the big office, even if he isn’t exactly qualified. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that not as many women are into cars. Right?
Wrong. Alyse Borla has been in this business for over twenty years with her husband Alex, and makes the perfect company president. She not only runs the world’s most winning exhaust manufacturer, she’s an enthusiast, too, driving a ’54 Corvette with a 560 hp, 7 liter V8, all custom built by Advanced Automotive Technologies in Michigan. Most CEOs of either gender prefer a much more sensible Mercedes or Cadillac. It would be a mistake not to keep Alyse.
No, they’re not conventional, but Borla shares that trait with the overwhelming majority of history makers in the automotive world. Most of the time, it’s just better to break away from the pack.