How did your passion for motoring begin?
It dates back to 1973 when I was only five years old and we lived in a small village in Buckinghamshire, UK and only eight miles from Silverstone. My parents used to take my brother and I to the Formula 1 practice days and races and that’s when I fell in love with the John Player Special Lotus 72E driven by Ronnie Petersen, which at the time was competing with some of the classic names in F1 — Yardley McLaren, UOP Shadow, Tyrrell and of course Ferrari.
At the time one of my uncles was also driving a works Porsche in the UK Porsche Cup series, so motor racing was already a big part of our family.
What was your first set of wheels?
In 1985 I paid £700 (Dh4,200) for a lime green Vauxhall Cavalier that I totalled two months later on Boxing Day. Fortunately, my record has improved considerably since then and I’ve had no incidents to date. My history of cars includes a Ford Escort Ghia, Toyota Celica, Jeep Wrangler, Chevrolet Tahoe, Mercedes C180, Lexus IS 200, Porsche Boxster and then a Range Rover Sport Supercharged purchased in Dubai.
That’s a hot list, but nothing compares to your current ride — the V12 Vantage…
My affair with Aston Martin started in 2009 when along with a good friend of mine living in Dubai (who also owns a V12 Vantage and is in the process of selling it) we decided to go to Le Mans and rented a V8 Vantage for the journey.
It was his first and my eighth visit dating back to 1988 when I first saw the Silk Cut Jaguar XJR-9LM win with Jan Lammers behind the wheel after the #2 Jaguar with Martin Brundle/John Neilsen retired.
We were travelling down with the Morgan Sports Car Club to celebrate Morgan’s centenary year, as my friends parents owned a Morgan, but in this esteemed company our V8 Vantage still received many accolades and it was such a head turner that it outshone the classic Morgans and the odd Aero 8.
It became my mission to own one but that changed when I saw my first V12 and knew there and then that I would not be satisfied with the V8 as long as the V12 existed.
I had to track one down in the GCC as according to Aston Martin, there are only 44 V12 Vantages in the UAE. Only a handful remain today as the majority have been exported primarily due to the fact they were only built with a manual transmission.
I spent over a year trying to find this one. It was originally for sale in Kuwait before making its way to Dubai. I bought it from Exotic Cars, snapping it up for Dh150,000 cheaper than what it was going for in Kuwait!
You must have been very happy with that deal. And, it’s a manual.
Exactly and it’s for that reason, along with the fact only 1,000 V12s are to be made worldwide and you rarely see them on the road anywhere, let alone in Dubai, whereas Porsches and Ferraris are two-a-penny, why I bought it.
What do you like best about it?
The exclusivity factor is a big pull. If you take into consideration there are less than 10 V12 Vantages in the UAE today, this tells you it’s rarely seen here.
Plus in the gun metal grey paint, people will always associate Aston Martin with James Bond, which can’t be a bad thing!
That V12 must have loads of grunt…
This is a driver’s car and you cannot take liberties with it — you always have to keep two hands on the steering as the 510bhp 6.0-litre V12 makes it very edgy especially when you engage the ‘sport’ button. This improves the throttle response, the revs shoot up and you’re propelled into the back of the seat.
Where do you enjoy driving it most?
Friday mornings are the best as it’s quiet and I often head for the E611 or the mountain roads just after Hatta Fort. I use my Jeep Wrangler during the week for work and to ferry our young children to and from the nursery as it’s no fun sitting in traffic in any sportscar. Very few of my friends have actually seen the car as we all tend to take taxis whenever we go out, but they know of it!
This one is for keeps, isn’t it?
I would like to think so. It is the start of my own car collection and I have no intention of selling it anytime soon. I plan on shipping it to the UK in 2014 and driving it through France on the way to Le Mans for another 24 Hour race. I suspect in 20 years time my children will have a say in whether or not I sell it!
In terms of the future I’d like to add the McLaren MP4-12C Spider, Mercedes SLS AMG and a Rolls-Royce Ghost to my collection.
And finally, what’s the dream?
To follow the F1 circuit for an entire year and attend every race on the calendar in a season, which I suspect will have to wait until I retire. Hopefully my children along with my wife will want to tag along for this once in a lifetime experience. I’ve made do with seeing races in Australia, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain to date and my wife and I are off to Singapore for the night race in September.