You’re a full-on petrolhead aren’t you?
Guilty as charged! You are not a full Emirati if you don’t love cars. They are in our blood. All of us admire and love anything on wheels.
That explains your stunning 1971 Pontiac GT-37. Where did you come across it?
I found it at a car show on a recent trip to Baltimore, US. I felt as if it winked at me — it was love at first sight! I got talking to the owner and when he told me it was for sale, I didn’t think twice and had it shipped here. I haven’t stopped smiling since getting it.
Neither have we, ever since you brought it to wheels — it’s in mint condition!
Credit goes to the previous owner — he had done an absolutely brilliant job in restoring the car. It looked exactly how it does now when I first saw it — and that’s immaculate.
Have you had any modifications done to it?
Nothing much, except that I added two more fans to help the radiator stay cool. It used to be difficult to drive in the summers, especially in traffic — I could see the needle in the temperature gauge rising, which wasn’t a pleasant sight! I have some plans to improve the interior and might go for a full-leather finish to spruce it up a little.
I might also upgrade the AC. But everything else in the car is stock and has the same running gear as the GTO, such as the high-output 455-cubic-inch (7.5-litre) V8, 850 CFM double pumper carburettor and the Turbo 400 transmission, which was built for the street and the drag strip. It still has the ability to shred the rear rubbers with a prod of the throttle and is a real blast to drive. My favourite thing about it is the exhaust note — it’s real sweet.
It must draw quite a lot of attention when you are out and about with it…
It’s a magnet. I always get a thumbs up from other motorists and pedestrians — people stop me to talk about the car while others leave their phone numbers in the hope it’s for sale. But I have bad news for them — it isn’t. I plan to keep this one forever. When I was driving it in the US with my kids in the back, other drivers would roll their windows down to talk to me at every traffic light! My daughter was very surprised by this and asked why everyone wanted to talk to me. I had to tell her it wasn’t me they were interested in — it was the car!
It’s a star alright. Where do you enjoy being seen with it the most?
JBR Walk and Jumeirah Beach Road are my favourites when I want to show it off. There are many people who appreciate the car in these two places in particular.
We’ll certainly keep a lookout for it. It’s a far cry from your very first car...
That’s for sure. It was a 1990 model year Nissan Maxima with a manual gearbox. I had installed cams and headers and the horsepower was boosted to significant levels — I’m too old to remember the exact number now. It had gold paint initially but I decided to go with a hot-red finish to match the fiery engine. Unfortunately, it was wrecked after just two days.
Oh dear… Moving on, you’ve owned some pretty decent cars over the years too...
I had a 1996 Ford Mustang and remember driving the car straight out of the agency to Naif Road because I wanted to upgrade the sound system! The electrician had to cut the rear metal frame to fit the speakers. I used the Mustang for four years and then sold it. The next car was a Chevrolet Lumina SS.
One thing I’ll never forget about it was a drive to Mafraq hospital from Al Quoz, which I did in just 40 minutes — and it cost me over Dh2,000 in fines! That was when fines were only Dh200 a pop — so you can imagine how many I got. I’ve since slowed right down. I got married and needed a bigger car so I bought a pair of Toyota Land Cruisers — one for me and one for my wife. Mine had a V8 and hers had a V6 and both were finished in white paint. See, I told you I’m crazy about cars.
Join the club! Finally, tell us what your dream car is?
A Porsche 911 Turbo S. Maybe one might wink at me on my next trip to the US...