x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

My car: Tuning up his car

It might not have been the car Afif Jabbour wanted, but he was more than happy to modify it

Afif Jabbour had the roof painted black, tinted the windows and purchased spoilers for the vehicle from eBay.
Afif Jabbour had the roof painted black, tinted the windows and purchased spoilers for the vehicle from eBay.

"This is not the car I wanted to buy, to be honest with you," says Afif Jabbour, a 21-year-old business student at the American University of Sharjah. "I was going for a Mustang or a Chrysler at first. A Mercedes sounded too grown up for me."

Jabbour got his 2005 Mercedes-Benz E320 as soon as he acquired his driver's licence two years ago.

"I went back to Kuwait, and went out with my father to buy the car, and I was primarily looking for one with a V8 engine.

"It was very important to me that the car I got can be tuned. There is nothing I enjoy more than to custom tune my car the way I like."

After reservations from his father regarding the strong performance of a V8 engine, Jabbour settled for a V6 E320.

"The way I see it is that, I got to please my father and get the engine he picked, and at the same time, I could tune the car with anything I want. Things added up in the end."

Jabbour knew what he was buying, so there were no surprises when he took the car for a drive.

"It's not that powerful, and it wasn't made for racing. That much I expected," he says.

Known for its luxury more than anything else, the Mercedes-Benz E320 has a mix of lavishness, performance and safety, equipped with a 221hp, 3.2L V6 engine.

After Jabbour brought his new car to the UAE he decided to make up for some of the aspects he found it lacked. He took the Mercedes for a tuning spree in Sharjah's industrial area.

"The first thing I replaced was the tyre rings. I painted the roof black [some models originally come with a black roof]. I bought some rear spoilers off eBay, and attached them to the sides.

"I also tinted the windows so that the black colour would be consistent with the roof," says Jabbour.

The tuning is still an ongoing process for Jabbour. He makes sure his car gets the latest accessories available in the market.

"I had a new air-intake system installed because I felt the one it already had wasn't enough to sustain the pressure that I put on it. I also installed a new exhaust system just to make sure my car does exactly what I tell it to without any complaining," Jabbour says.

Originally from Syria, Jabbour was born and raised in Kuwait, where he spent all of his life before his university years and it was there were he learnt to drive.

Jabbour praises the UAE's RTA rules and regulations, and says that it's the best place he has ever driven in.

"I drove different cars in Syria, and it was quite an experience when you're used to the well-constructed roads of the UAE. There are not much rules or awareness when it comes to cars and driving.

"This fact makes you appreciate the efforts of the government here in ensuring safety and order," he says.

When it comes to his future plans, Jabbour wants to keep his Mercedes and buy a Ford F150 Raptor pick-up truck.

"I've grown tired of the saloons, and I've always had a thing for pick-up trucks. This Ford comes tuned with everything I could want, so hopefully, I'll get to have my own one day."