Welcome to the hallowed pages of My Wheels, Keith! In the nine years you have been in the UAE, you’ve changed cars 14 times, right?
As far as I can remember, yes, and it’s mainly because I am an absolute car fanatic. My passion for cars is in my DNA and I can honestly say this has driven my parents, my wife and a few other family members close to the edge of insanity.
Don’t worry; you won’t be driving us mad with your story. In fact, we want to know more…
Well, over the last three years, every time I sell one of my cars my wife goes into panic mode as she knows what’s coming next — the long-winded process of test-driving about 15 cars before I can decide on the one I want! I started driving at the age of 13 — illegal I know. I couldn’t help it. I just had to be behind the wheel. Needless to say I was grounded for a month when my parents found out. Not that it kept me away from my passion, because that’s when I started collecting model cars. Unfortunately I had to lock them away when
I moved to Dubai.
But, you couldn’t lock away your passion for them, could you?
Nope, not at all. Once I got here, I began another collection and this took on a more interesting direction as I started ordering assembly kits. I ended up with 78 model cars, two petrol engine remote-control dune buggies and three battery-operated remote control cars. With our family expanding about two years ago, I decided to make a little more room in the house and with the greatest of difficulty packed off 80 per cent of my cars to India, leaving behind only a few of my favourites.
It’s a great hobby for sure. Right, let’s see what your memory is like, shall we? Can you remember all of your previous cars?
I’ve owned a Hummer H2, GMC Yukon, Toyota Land Cruiser, Chevy Lumina SS, Porsche 911 Turbo, Infiniti G 37 S, Land Rover Discovery, Nissan X-Trail, Range Rover Autobiography, Toyota Fortuner, Ford Explorer, BMW 7 Series, Nissan Pathfinder and my current ride, a Range Rover HSE. The one car that has always been a long time favourite is the Land Rover, both the Discovery as well as the Range Rover. The latter is my all-time favourite.
Range Rovers are really popular here and for good reason. Why did you part with the Autobiography?
Believe me, it was almost impossible to say goodbye. It was a 2000 model with only 75,000km on the clock. It was sparingly used. I spent a lot of time and effort restoring it and keeping it in fine condition until I had to change jobs. With my new position, I travelled a lot in the UAE and the mileage was beginning to grow on it. Also, my wife felt it was a bit too big for her to drive and after about three sleepless nights I decided to sell it. There were no shortage of takers and the gentleman I decided to sell it to paid us a holding deposit. But I asked him to take it back the next day as I did not want to sell any more. He, on the other hand, really wanted the car, and asked me to keep the money and when I made up my mind to sell, to call him first. Three months later we sold it to him. It was tough seeing it go and I really kicked myself. Then I changed jobs again and decided I was going to get one more, something really special.
Judging by the pictures, your 2005 model year HSE really is special. You didn’t just go out and buy the first one you saw, right?
It was a long wait and involved lots of continuous searching both locally and away from the UAE before I settled on this one, but the car was definitely worth the wait. I found the most amazing Range Rover I had ever seen, and believe me, I’ve seen plenty of customised ones here, but none like this one. It is very simply but extremely tastefully modified and had been looked after really well by the previous owner.
It’s been foiled rather than painted. What colour is that?
The car has been foiled in matte-finish Dark Graphite Grey. The advantage is that one day when I decide to change the colour it will only be a matter of permission from the RTA and slowly peeling off the stickers.
Tell us about the engine and gearbox…
My Rangey has a roaring V8 engine, one of the last fitted by BMW. This was the M62 4.4-litre engine mated to a five-speed auto ‘box sending out 300bhp.
Any plans to modify it further?
Well I might add an exhaust kit and side steps in chrome finish but I still have not decided. I still love the car the way it is.
Name Keith Lewis
Job Facilities manager
Wheels 2005 Range Rover HSE
In the UAE Nine years