It is with great honor that I have the privilege of coming to you all today as the featured owner/car here on E46Fanatics.com
I still remember as if it were only just yesterday how back in the fall of 2000, simple internet search of "AC Schnitzer sport sedan mirrors" brought me to the online store here on e46fanatics. It is there that I met E46fanatics site owner, Tim and started my love affair with all things E46. Prior to joining this site I knew absolutely nothing about cars and having met and spoken to a lot of members over the years and reading up thru so many archived postings, I can proudly say I've learned quite a bit about E46's and cars in general.
It is here on our site that I first learned about carbon fiber and later realized that it's the same material that my mechanical heart components are made from and that are keeping me alive. I was born 38 years ago with a congenital heart condition that required a total of 5 open heart surgeries to correct. My last one was in 2001 exactly 9 days after the 9/11 attacks. I was engaged to my wife at the time and my doctors didn't expect me to survive since with each heart surgery you get more and more scar tissue which can make your anatomy unpredictable in the sense that scar tissue actually shifted the position of my heart closer to the sternum where they would have to saw it open and possibly risk cutting my heart with the saw.
But with a lot of love and a lot of prayer from family, friends, and temple priests, I beat the odds and survived my surgery, and lived to see the days I married the woman of my dreams and hold my 2 baby girls for the first time after they were born.
To show my gratitude and appreciation for life, I have modified my now twin screw supercharged 2000 BMW 323i with the same carbon fiber material that is keeping me alive in the hopes of inspiring the folks I meet at car meets/shows to live heart-healthy lives. So far my heart awareness mission has been a positive one by having met so many people, including one person who was so touched by my story that he decided to permanently give up smoking. I'm truly humbled that I could inspire him to make such a positive decision in his life.
My heart experiences have taught me not to take life for granted, to think positively always, and to face difficulty and adversity with a smile. Perfect example... this year has been a difficult one for me in terms of having knee surgery, having a testicle removed due to diagnosis of possible testicular cancer (turned out not to be cancer, thank goodness) and then getting laid off from my federal government IT job due to government wide budget cuts. I could sit here and cry/complain over what I've been thru this year but I choose to see the glass as "half full and not half empty". In other words I can proudly say that this was the year I had knee surgery to finally fix ongoing issues I've had with my knee, and how this was the year I survived a possible scare with testicular cancer and hopefully find a better job than the one I'm getting laid off from. It's all about staying strong and positive during the difficult times.
I am truly lucky to have the wife that I have. When I found out I was getting laid off from work, I was all prepared to put my BMW up for sale so that we could use that money if needed for house payments, etc. but my wife refused to let me sell my car. She knows how much my car is a part of me and my heart awareness efforts. She knows how sentimental my car is to me. This was the same car I brought both my baby girls home from the hospital after they were born.
In addition to the carbon fiber, my car and I share a lot more in common. Both my car and I started off as "slow" in the sense that my car started off as a 323i with automatic/steptronic transmission, and I started off as someone with low physical capabilities due to a defective heart. Technology made my car faster in the form of an ESS Twin Screw Supercharger and 5spd manual transmission. Likewise, technology has made me "faster" with my mechanical heart components and dual chamber electronic pacemaker. I feel like the "bionic man" and enjoy the times I get to go in and have software updates downloaded inside me, just like how my car had software updates made earlier this year when I had multiple issues that included non-functioning instrument cluster and non-functioning EWS module which rendered my car completely dead. I'm happy to say that all those issues were resolved and both my car and heart are functioning well within normal parameters.
Some of you may recall that my car was originally titanium silver in color. Last year I underwent a full paint color change to BMW Individual Atlantis Metallic which is a blue-green teal sort of color. Depending on the lighting conditions, the car will actually change color from a pure blue color to a teal color. I chose this color for the reason of color symbolism. Blue is symbolic of open communication and green (in India) is symbolic of the heart, hence "open communication about the heart" which is what my heart awareness efforts are all about. Teal also happens to be one of my favorite colors plus it really makes the carbon fiber on my car pop out more so than what the titanium silver did.
My favorite mods have to be the AC Schnitzer carbon fiber steering wheel (lucky enough to find one of the last brand new ones years back sitting in a display cabinet at their U.S. distributor), ESS twin screw supercharger, 5spd manual tranny swap, Vorsteiner edition Brembo 355mm BBK with the carbon fiber overlayed calipers, and of course the Atlantis Metallic paint color change.
I have truly enjoyed my time here on e46fanatics, both as a member of this site and a current member of the Europrojektz team. I have reached a point in my modding where I plan on enjoying my car as is and continue forth with car showing and my heart awareness efforts. I wish to thank all my fellow e46fanatics members for 12+ wonderful years here on this site, and I look forward to meeting many of you at the upcoming Bimmerfest East on August 25,2012 in Aberdeen, Maryland.