That’s a nice-looking Camaro you’ve got there, Obaid. Third-generation models in good nick are hard to find. Where did you get this one?
Thank you. I came across it in the Al Awir auto market. It had been shipped into the UAE from Japan and was in immaculate shape, drove great and just required a few minor repairs.
Did you always want one of these?
Yes, I was looking for one for a quite some time. I like the sharp and edgy lines of the car. These third-generation models are generally under-estimated, however I do believe they are enjoying a slight comeback now. The shape is simply original and everlasting. The fact that I have fun when I drive it is the most important factor. I’d say it’s as pleasurable as a brand new European sportscar. This is a low-maintenance, solid American muscle car that looks and sounds great.
It must go pretty well too, what with that great big 305 cubic inch (5.0-litre) V8 motor. What is the performance like?
Performance is relatively good. The horsepower is around 170 but I really don’t push this car too hard — I much prefer cruising. For that, the 305 is ideal but when I feel naughty, there’s enough punch when I bury the throttle.
It has the four-speed automatic — good gearbox? Or do you wish it had a manual with that torquey engine?
The automatic is OK for me. With daily traffic jams in Dubai these days, you cannot enjoy driving a manual. It drives well but the handling could be a little tighter and sharper on the rare occasions that I drive it fast, but since I prefer cruising in this car, the handling issue doesn’t even begin to concern me.
And besides, you probably want to drive slow so everyone can get a good look at it! Anyway, tell us how your passion for cars began.
Well, my dad was a petrolhead and he always used to talk about the many American cars that he used to drive when he was younger such as Cadillacs, Buicks and Chryslers, to name a few. When I was a kid he used to buy cars, overhaul them and then sell them. So while growing up, I was surrounded by lots of different types of cars. That’s how my passion began. Now, I’d class myself as a petrolhead since I am always talking about cars.
Your first car was an early Seventies Datsun Cedric and then you got yourself one of the hottest wheels around while living in the US.
I bought a 1973 Plymouth Barracuda — and it certainly was hot! I remember when driving around in Michigan I used to get people waving at me as I drove past. I totally fell in love with that car.
Back to the Chevy. Does it give you any problems? It’s an old muscle car after all…
No, not too many. It’s a low-maintenance car with relatively low-cost parts and if I ever do need anything, I buy what I need online. However, the best place to get bits and bobs is in the Sharjah industrial area. You can find almost anything there.
That place is like a gold mine — you just need time and patience there. Your Camaro is a head turner. I bet it makes a lot of people smile when you cruise past.
It gets lots of thumbs ups from people and they are always impressed with the original red paint and clean interior. Kids seem to enjoy hanging around it for some reason. I guess they think it’s a big toy!
I bet the rumbly exhaust scares them when you crank it up! Where do you enjoy driving it the most?
Around the Khawaneej area and Jumeirah Beach Road. There’s no better stretch to show off than there!
We’ll keep a look out for you. It’s all original — from the paint right down to the wheels. But do you plan to modify it in any way?
I wouldn’t mind improving the performance and the handling but other than that, I love it just the way it is.
Your three-year-old son loves being taken for drives in it…
He sure does. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is bitten by the car bug too. I guess it’d be like grandfather, like father, like son!
Probably will! Finally, what is your dream car?
I have too many to list! But I really like the 2012 Dodge Challenger, 1970-74 Plymouth Barracuda and the Lamborghini Countach.