IN­DUS­TRY SPOT­LIGHT:

Daniel Co­var­ru­bias’ SEKRIT Man­u­fac­tur­ing

Pasmag (USA) - - Contents - Micky Slinger Daniel Co­var­ru­bias STORY BY PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY

In the tun­ing com­mu­nity, the name “Kil­la­gram” is in­stantly rec­og­niz­able. What some peo­ple don’t know is that be­hind the mas­sive name, there’s a reg­u­lar guy named Daniel Co­var­ru­bias, who’s skip­ping meals and sleep to put his dreams to work. When he told us he was launch­ing a design/man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany, with his in­fa­mous chas­sis-mount wings serv­ing as the ba­sis, we were pretty stoked. So, we held him hostage for a while and got him to an­swer some ques­tions about how he’s

mak­ing the tran­si­tion from show goer to parts thrower.

MICKY SLINGER: So far, you’ve had a very suc­cess­ful ca­reer in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try. As a car en­thu­si­ast, what made you want to get into the man­u­fac­tur­ing side of things? DANIEL CO­VAR­RU­BIAS: Es­sen­tially, I could never buy what I was look­ing for. That’s what it comes down to. I wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily want­ing to start a brand or any­thing like that, I just wanted the parts for my car.

It’s all a co­in­ci­dence. Peo­ple man­aged to like what I was build­ing and we just de­cided to go for it. I saw an op­por­tu­nity, growth, a lot of things. It’s pretty much down to the part­ner­ships that we’ve de­vel­oped within the last year who have helped get us to where we are to­day.

I’m not say­ing I’m any­where close to where I want to be, but I think we are able to ac­tu­ally make some­thing suc­cess­ful out of it. What made it pos­si­ble for you to launch an en­deavor like this - es­sen­tially tak­ing on your own brand, your own man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany? I would say it’s not ex­actly a man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany. We are some­thing like a design firm be­cause we want to build ev­ery­thing. We even have a whole other side planned that’s not au­to­mo­tive re­lated. If I wasn’t into cars, it would be pur­su­ing ar­chi­tec­tural and prod­uct design.

The part­ner­ships we've de­vel­oped within the last year have re­ally helped us get to where we are to­day. What’s the mean­ing be­hind the name? It’s spelled un­usu­ally and you’re us­ing ac­cents over some of the let­ters. Is there a rea­son for it be­ing like that, or is just a stylis­tic choice? Why SEKRIT? For SEKRIT, the main thing be­hind it is the fact that we just want to build some­thing orig­i­nal and unique. Ob­vi­ously, that’s the goal with ev­ery brand. A huge thing for me is a quote I live by – I’ve told you be­fore – “you can’t in­flu­ence the world by try­ing to be like it.” If you look “se­cret” up in the dic­tio­nary, this is the pho­netic pro­nun­ci­a­tion of the word. That’s just how I saw it.

We want to do dif­fer­ent things and have a unique style. I’ve no­ticed that a lot of peo­ple ac­tu­ally have the same vi­sion as we do, but in the end, I re­ally feel peo­ple are just scared to ac­tu­ally pur­sue it be­cause they are too wor­ried about other peo­ple’s opin­ions. It’s just an opin­ion. I don’t want to have any­body slow me down.

I WOULD SAY IT’S NOT EX­ACTLY A MAN­U­FAC­TUR­ING COM­PANY. WE ARE SOME­THING LIKE A DESIGN FIRM BE­CAUSE WE WANT TO BUILD EV­ERY­THING.

What is your end goal, or some­where that you’ll be happy to see your­self, down the road with SEKRIT? With SEKRIT, we re­ally want to cre­ate high-qual­ity, orig­i­nal prod­uct and re­ally sup­port our part­ners. We want to in­te­grate other peo­ple’s prod­ucts as well, be­cause hon­estly, they’re the ones that made this pos­si­ble.

I want to build a re­la­tion­ship with these peo­ple. I’m not just here to make money. That’s why I say this is a move­ment. It’s not just a brand or a com­pany try­ing to find where there’s a mar­ket and make a ton of money. I want to sup­port our youth and ev­ery­one else and be able to push them fur­ther. To me, it’s not a com­pe­ti­tion; I want us all to make it. One of your prod­ucts that you’re very well known for is your chas­sis-mount GT wing. When you made that first one for your car, did you al­ways have it in mind that you were go­ing to be mak­ing more at some point? Not ex­actly. I knew we were go­ing to re­vise my per­sonal chas­sis­mount GT wing. Our first one was an inch and three-quar­ters taller, eighth inch thin­ner, and two inches fur­ther back from the car. We ac­tu­ally switched to 6061 alu­minum with our sec­ond ver­sion and we no­ticed that there was a lit­tle bit of shak­ing. It wasn’t ex­ces­sive, but it wasn’t per­fect, so we brought it down an inch and three-quar­ters, made it an eighth inch thicker and pushed it in two inches closer to the car. Now it doesn’t even need trunk sup­port, so we don’t have any braces go­ing to the rear any­more.

There was de­mand for the wing. Many of my bud­dies brought it up and said, “Let’s just do it,” so we tried a few out. Now we have five in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. There’s go­ing to be, shortly, another one in Canada, which will be sweet. I like to in­stall the wings per­son­ally and build that re­la­tion­ship and let them know it means more to me.

I’m not go­ing to be mak­ing a whole lot of these things. We’re prob­a­bly go­ing to make a cou­ple more and then wrap it up with a new design and new ap­pli­ca­tions. What other prod­ucts do you have in the works for SEKRIT right now? Why did you choose those specif­i­cally? We’re de­vel­op­ing a full ex­haust sys­tem for the ZN6 (FR-S and BRZ) chas­sis right now. We just fin­ished the head­ers and we’re de­vel­op­ing our axle-back right now. We’re ac­tu­ally de­cid­ing on ex­actly what ma­te­rial to keep them. Right now, they’re all stain­less, but we’re ac­tu­ally think­ing of go­ing full ti­ta­nium. For me, it’s all about qual­ity, and I would rather sell a few ti­ta­nium ones than a 1,000 stain­less ones, just be­cause I don’t want any­thing on my car or other peo­ple’s cars other than the best.

We’re even­tu­ally go­ing to be do­ing chas­sis braces, full bolt-in cages, shifters, wheels, steer­ing wheels - pretty much ev­ery­thing that you use on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, so you can get the best qual­ity that you pos­si­bly can ev­ery­where through­out your car.

The plan is to -- within the next three years -- switch the fo­cus to BMWs. I am huge BMW fan. I’ll never for­get my roots and where I came from with the ZN6 chas­sis and S13. Of course, we’re go­ing to be do­ing more of that stuff, but within the next few years, we would like SEKRIT to be man­u­fac­tur­ing a lot of BMW prod­ucts.

WE’RE EVEN­TU­ALLY GO­ING

TO BE DO­ING CHAS­SIS BRACES, FULL BOLT-IN CAGES, SHIFTERS, WHEELS,

STEER­ING WHEELS - PRETTY MUCH EV­ERY­THING

THAT YOU USE ON A REG­U­LAR BA­SIS, SO YOU CAN GET THE BEST QUAL­ITY THAT YOU POS­SI­BLY CAN EV­ERY­WHERE THROUGH­OUT

YOUR CAR.

Are there go­ing to be any other plat­forms, like the S-chas­sis and ZN6, that you’ll fo­cus on be­tween now and then? Yeah! On top of the ZN6 and S13, we'll be do­ing some S14 stuff, BMW stuff, we're go­ing to be work­ing on a 2015 STI and some S2K stuff.

Why don’t you take me through your cre­ative process? How do you start with an idea for a part and even­tu­ally phys­i­cally pro­duce it? I nor­mally sketch my de­signs on some graph pa­per, which then leads to ren­der­ing those de­signs in Pho­to­shop. Then we mock some stuff in sty­ro­foam. We just stay cre­ative and start mark­ing some stuff up. Then it gets put into solid works and then we get it ma­chined. It's not all about what I like; we try to get a group of sug­ges­tions so we can please ev­ery­one as well. We don't have too many prod­ucts right now to please ev­ery­body, but it's in the works.

JUST STAY HUM­BLE. DON’T FOR­GET WHO YOU ARE, WHY YOU’RE DO­ING THIS AND DON’T DO IT FOR MORE MONEY.

Is there any ad­vice that you’d like to share with a bud­ding au­to­mo­tive en­tre­pre­neur out there? A lot of peo­ple ask me, “How are you do­ing what you're do­ing? What made you be able to do this stuff?” Hon­estly, it all comes down to build­ing re­la­tion­ships nat­u­rally.

I have this thing about me that when­ever some­body needs help with some­thing, I'm al­ways like, “Yeah, let's do it,” be­fore I even think about how much time I have to do it. But it's those re­la­tion­ships and the peo­ple that I've sac­ri­ficed my time for that al­lowed NAMEme to do IF what THERE I'm IS do­ing ONE now. There are a lot of guys that help me out with the prod­uct. It's not a spon­sor­ship to me; it's a part­ner­ship. I'm go­ing to help you just as equally as you're go­ing to help me.

Just stay hum­ble. Don't for­get who you are, why you're do­ing this and don't do it for more money. You need to fig­ure out what your goal is and see if it's pos­si­ble to turn your hobby into a ca­reer.

Never strive for in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion. Al­ways in­vest in the long-term out­come be­cause that's what will hon­estly make you suc­cess­ful. We weren't born to just pay bills and die. We are here to live a life, and we all choose what we make of it. The mo­ment peo­ple stop com­par­ing, is the mo­ment they will re­al­ize com­par­i­son kills cre­ativ­ity. Al­most al­ways, the cre­ative and ded­i­cated mi­nor­ity has made the world a bet­ter place.

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