Following his passion : Auto enthusiast turns a Benz family sedan into a sporty mean machine

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Doing what one enjoys is a way of satisfying human needs, and this is the case for Kittipong Chaiwatana-sirikul, who has been a committed auto enthusiast since he was young.

Kittipong, who is the marketing manager at communications-equipment firm Centralnics, also runs his own business: a car-care service.

“When I had the opportunity to create my own business in addition to the satellite-communications firm, which belongs to my family, I chose car care. I’ve loved cars since I was young and always taken care of all of the cars owned by my family. I used to fancy two-door sporty cars, but when I grew older I realised most of them had price tags over Bt10 million,” he says.

This is why he decided to buy a 2004 four-door Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2.6. Since falling into his hands, the imported sedan has been converted into a sports car.

He began by using some Barabus body parts and changing the wheels to 19-inch mags. His only engine modification so far has been unlocking the car’s speed control, in order to allow the engine to pump out its full capacity. And because of the higher power, he needed more rigid suspension, so that was set up, as well.

“I also changed the braking system on the front and rear wheels to eight- and four-pot callipers, respectively, to raise my confidence in the brakes,” Kittipong says. “I was concerned about this because I see many customers’ cars at my car-care service that have larger wheels than standard, but there’s no change to the braking system. Let’s imagine you change to 20-inch wheels, but the disc brakes are designed for 18-inch wheels. When you’re driving fast with bigger wheels, is it possible for the existing brakes to stop the car?

“I often drive my car at high speed during weekends, to allow the engine to run at its full capacity. If I don’t do that, the engine may not run smoothly, and the battery may go flat very quickly. When the battery dies on a current-model car, you have to set up most of the car’s systems again. I’ve also installed a solar-power system on my car to generate additional power.”

Kittipong also plans to fit a supercharger to his car to boost its speed.

“I’m a car lover, so it’s not surprising I’m engaged in the car-care business. You feel happiest when you’re doing what you enjoy, and my business is like a school. I can teach my clients that there are many unknown things about autos,” he said.

Thanadol Rila

The Nation

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