"Carbon fiber has literally saved my life." It's a phrase we don't often come across at eurotuner.com but is true nonetheless. When we heard the story of Navin Kumar, our ears picked up. You see, Navin suffered from a rare congenital heart condition since birth. He's undergone five open-heart surgeries in his lifetime and the last one, in 2001, was the closest to the bright light doctors thought he could possibly get.
Luckily for Navin, he emerged from surgery with a new lease on life, which came in the form of mechanical heart components made of carbon fiber. After his recovery, Navin married his fiancé and fulfilled a dream that doctors previously said would be impossible for him to realize. He finally had a family of his own and the birth of his two girls proved the skeptics might have been wrong in their calculations.
So how does his BMW 323i come into play? When Navin embarked on this project, he started with his daily driver, as many of us do. Wheels, body panels and minor performance upgrades found themselves on the car and before you knew it, Navin had a respectable car that did fairly well on the show circuit.
However, the material used to make his lightweight hood, trunk, bumpers and various interior bits was the same carbon fiber that keeps him alive. The carbon components help Navin enjoy every new morning and drew people to marvel at his creation, going so far as to collect Best in Show at the 2012 Bimmerfest East.
Navin's discovery of a deeper connection to his car prompted further exploration. When it time came to select a new color for his 323i he searched for something with meaning. From a color symbolism standpoint, blue actually symbolizes open communication, while green actually symbolizes the heart, hence blue/green together symbolizes open communication of the heart. It happens that during the time Navin's car was going down the assembly line, BMW developed an exclusive blue/green paint called Atlantis Metallic - a BMW Individual option that was $5000+ on a new BMW and would now adorn Navin's custom creation.
But why stop there? Navin's constant battle had taught him one thing, to fight for the very best and never stop until he achieved exactly what he wanted. After all, life was short...
Once he discovered what a supercharger could add to his motor, the decision was made to install a twin-screw ESS supercharger kit. This took the power to 300hp with 7psi of boost.
While most 323i models were equipped with an automatic gearbox, Navin decided to swap for a five-speed manual he found with only 12000 miles on the clock.
Getting the car to behave on the road took the least amount of effort. A set of KW Variant 2 coilovers and Rogue Engineering rear shock mounts keep the car balanced through the turns.
Hidden behind a set of staggered (19x8.5" front, 19x9.5" rear) custom DPE reverse-laid carbon fiber, forged SL-5 wheels is a Vorsteiner-edition Brembo six-piston carbon fiber brake kit up front, with a four-piston rear upgrade. Keeping the power in constant contact with the tarmac are 235/35 front and 255/30 rear Toyo T1 R tires.
Having achieved his performance goals, Navin focused on the car's exterior styling. Since the E46 is one of the most widely respected designs, it's easy to overdo it with aftermarket aero kits, so he stuck with tastefully selected AC Schnitzer sport mirrors custom wrapped in carbon fiber, carbon fiber GTR-style sideskirts, CSL-style carbon fiber trunk, and Vorsteiner carbon fiber hood, all with custom paint schemes.
Inside, retrofitted heated leather seats were fitted with custom one-off carbon fiber outer seat covers. Nearly every interior trim accent was also swapped for AC Schnitzer carbon fiber interior trim pieces to keep with Navin's theme.
It's a wonderful thing when a car can unite a community and this machine has gone beyond its numbers and good looks. For Navin, his E46 323i has inspired people to find out more about his mission for people to take care of their hearts with regular check ups and to cherish the time you have with the people around you.
It could be family, friends, a significant other, or even your local car club buddies; but one thing is for sure, in this small community of car enthusiasts, we're all family and should look out for one another's well being.
2000 BMW 323i
2.5-liter, six-cylinder, 24v with ESS twin-screw supercharger, Contitech heavy-duty serpentine belt, hydraulic belt tension conversion, electric fan, retrofitted OEM Onboard Computer
five-speed manual transmission conversion
Vorsteiner-edition Brembo six-piston f, four-piston r calipers
KW V2 coilovers, Rogue Engineering rear shock mounts, Benfer black carbon fiber strut brace
Wheels & Tires:
19x8.5" f, 19x9.5" r, DPE SL-5 wheels, 235/35 f, 255/30 r Toyo Proxes T1 R tires
AC Schnitzer carbon fiber mirrors, BMW carbon fiber MTech2 corner splitters, front bumper, brake ducts and alternator duct, black window trim, 3M Di-Noc carbon-look roof vinyl, carbon fiber kidney grilles, headlight trim, badges, license plate frame, door pillars, foglight rings, Umnitza smoked LED tail lights, Depo smoked front indicator and side marker lenses, Umnitza Predator Orion V1 6000K LED Angel Eyes, OEM Xenon headlights, window tint, car painted BMW Atlantis Metallic
AC Schnitzer carbon fiber steering wheel with Atlantis Metallic trim, BMW Individual sill plates, OEM black leather Interior with heated, power sport seats and carbon panels, carbon fiber dash gauge panel with VDO boost, oil temp and oil pressure gauges, Turner Motorsport carbon shift knob, AC Schnitzer carbon interior trim, instrument cluster trim, steering column cover, seat backs, e-brake handle, trunk tool box, pedals, vinyl carbon shift and e-brake boots, retrofitted OEM compass mirror and onboard computer
Pioneer AVIC N4 multimedia nav touchscreen head unit with carbon trim, TView 7" dual headrest monitors, Pioneer Bluetooth, iPod adapter, Custom Atari 2600, A/V port installation in center console, JL Audio Stealthbox 8" subwoofers, 250/1 monoblock sub amp,
Kamini, Kareena and Rohini, Pat Blissett and staff at S2 Dynamics for handling all my mechanical needs including supercharger install and manual tranny swap, Mark Figliozzi and staff at Raail for the great work they did changing my car paint color from silver to Atlantis Metallic, my teammates on Europrojektz, and finally my family, friends and sponsors.