We at ArabWheels always think of our dear readers, and it’s been quite a while since we have featured a modest owner of a spoiled vehicle. To start of the year 2014 right, we thought of something cool to feature. We promised and now deliver.
We met Bernard Hatem, 32 years old, who works in the media and advertising industry. He holds a BS in Business Management from LAU, an MBA from NDU and a Master’s of Science in International Business from Kedge Business School. Hatem is married and a proud father of a 3 year old boy.
We sat with Hatem and asked how his passion for cars started and who was behind such an influence? He replied, “I am from a small town in Jbeil Caza, called Fatri, where every year we have the Rally of Lebanon SS passing by. At the time I was very young and used to wait impatiently for that weekend each year to watch the cars passing by one after the other; it was truly magical.
Many local rally drivers marked me, notably the late Johnny Moacadieh and Adel Metni. I was also very influenced by F1 racing and I can still remember the mortal accident of Ayrton Senna; I was watching the race on TV and was really touched by the news of his death.”
Hatem also said that he always dreamed of being a rally driver but given the high cost of motorsport, his passion shifted towards owning and modifying cars. He also collects model cars, and has built and customized many of them notably Lebanese Army vehicles and tanks. Aside from this, Hatem is an R/C fanatic and has owned and operated dozens of on-road and off-road radio controlled cars.
The most special cars that Hatem has owned since the age of 18 are many. Among the German, British and American automakers, he has owned a 1992 BMW 535i, 1994 Mercedes C280, 1998 Mercedes CLK320, 2001 BMW X5 4.4, 1997 Land Rover Discovery, 2000 Jeep Wrangler Sport and his actual 2011 Camaro 2LT/RS. As for tuning, he told us that he has turned both the Wrangler and Land Rover from stock four wheelers to ultimate off-road machines, as well as tuning his stock black Camaro to what it is today in the pictures.
We asked Hatem how he enjoys his hobbies on daily basis and the reply was quite convincing, “Being part of Camaro Club Lebanon and South California Head Turners Club (SoCal HT), my car has won the Camaro of the Month title awarded by Impex and the most beautiful car award at one of our local club events. It has also won the Camaro of the Week title granted by camaro5.com. Camaro5.com is the biggest Camaro community in the world and the COTW title is only granted to a fine selection of Camaros across the globe. Only 3 cars in the Middle East enjoy this honor so far; 2 of them are Lebanese.”
As Hatem mentioned, he is a proud father of a 3 year old boy, and so we asked if he plans to teach his son to follow his footsteps in the love of tuning cars. He replied that it is up to him to decide what to love and what not to.
His son is already fascinated by everything related to cars. He has his own collection of model cars. Using his own plastic tools, he watches his father do small DIYs to cars and pretends to give a helping hand. Hatem says, “If this is what he likes, I will surely provide him with all the help and guidance needed.”
Last but not least, Hatem confirmed that he loves tuned cars but he actually prefers the exterior look over performance, and the other way around when it comes to off-road vehicles.
Exterior & Interior Mods
- 3DCarbon front end conversion
- 3DCarbon rear end conversion
- 3DCarbon side skirts
- 3DCarbon fender vents
- 3DCarbon trunk spoiler
- 3DCarbon rear window U trim
- Vortekz generators
- Customized interior trim
- Painted bezels and rear tail lights black out
- Rear bowtie delete, replaced by blacked out Camaro lettering
- Muffler delete with HKS exhaust tips
- Semi Glossy Black plastidipped wheels
- GM custom fuel door
- Under the hood styling + hood liner chrome bowtie
- White stripes
- LED fog lights + DRL hardwire kit for headlights
- GM Heritage grill with HT lettering
- Custom lower grill
- White front turning signals
- Stainless steel laser cut dash plate
- Blacked out side markers
- Xenon rear side scoops
- Geiger Heckdiffuser with Hella fog light
- OEM Chevrolet door sill plates
Performance & Suspension Mods
- Eibach Spacers: Front 25mm Rear 20mm
- Eibach Pro Kit Lowering springs: Front 1″ Rear 1.3″
- Custom K&N Typhoon Cold Air Intake
- Hex vents hood heat extraction vents
Finally, when we asked Hatem about ArabWeels, he excitingly said, “ArabWheels! It has become in no time the first reference for the automotive industry in the Arab world and I enjoy reading it every month.” He thanks the team behind this attractive magazine for featuring him, Impex for its continuous support and Macam for hosting the photo shoot.