Job: Director of Enterprise Sales
Wheels: 1974 BMW 2002
In the UAE:25 years
Welcome to My Wheels, Samir. It isn’t often we see a 2002 here; tell us about your classic BMW…
I am extremely blessed and privileged to have been able to partner up with Al Hai Motors, one of the biggest importers of classic and exotic cars in the region. That is how I came across my 1974 2002 but I couldn’t have done it without the support of His Excellency Ahmad Al Hai, my true inspiration and mentor, who is a family friend and is into classic cars. In fact, his first car was also an E21.
I have a huge passion for cars and was bitten by the bug when I was a kid thanks to my grandfather. He was a great car lover and used to change his ride, at times, as frequently as almost every week. I spent most of my free time with him and so it was only natural that I became as addicted to cars as he was. The addiction became so bad that I would steal the spare keys of my dad’s cars and sleep in them in the garage! Of course I would pretend I was driving and would turn the lights and the radio on. Naturally, after draining the batteries of the cars, I was grounded.
Once my father figured out I was mad about cars, he would use them as an incentive for me do get chores done, or get good grades at school — and I did just for a spin around the block!
He had one of these as well didn’t he?
Yes, my dad had owned the same Inka Orange colour model back in the day. He had bought it brand new in 1974 and I still remember the look, feel, and smell of the car. It was not easy to get the same spec; I have had the pleasure of owning a few but never a 1974 model finished in orange and with a manual gearbox.
What others have you had?
I can’t list all the cars I have owned — there are way too many, but my biggest regret was selling my E28 M5. Right now, and aside from the ’74 2002, I have a 1982 E21 318, 1982 E23 745i, 1989 E24 635csi, 1995 E31 840 and a 1995 E36 M3 cabrio to name but a few.
There’s clearly a theme there. Do you like any other brands apart from BMW?
I am always on the look out for a clean classic, preferably a BMW or a Mercedes, however, I sometimes gamble and get something British or Italian every now and then. However, the best car that I have ever driven is a Porsche Carrera GT.
You’re a lucky guy! Back to the 2002; where did you find it?
After a very long search, I stumbled across this car in Japan in late 2013 and immediately closed the deal. Then I had to wait a very long and painful 45 days for it to arrive from Tokyo.
The Japanese market is very mysterious to me, even after over 10 years of importing cars from there; the way they are taken care of in Japan in extraordinary!
So, it was in good condition then?
Yes but I am looking forward to completely restoring the car in the coming winter. I already have a donor 2002 which is completely functional, and it should come in very handy as parts are becoming more difficult to source. As it stands, it always puts a smile on my face for so many reasons; firstly because I have a historical bond with this vehicle and it always reminds me of my childhood days, but secondly because it also really drives and handles well — even though it’s over 40 years old.
When parked next to expensive Ferraris or Lamborghinis (they’re a common sight in the UAE…) I sometimes feel their owners actually envy me.
They probably do, these are great cars.
They really are. I am extremely proud of owning this car — I am the happiest man in the world by just looking at it! With a four-cylinder 2.0-litre motor making 98bhp and 144Nm of torque, it isn’t exactly a powerhouse, but it’s extremely easy to drive and reliable. It really performs and handles very well due to its light weight and a high revving engine.
It is also very easy to modify, should one want more performance, and I love the fact that it’s built with such simplicity — it only has eight fuses! What could go wrong?
Er, does anything ever go wrong?
Nothing that I can’t handle. As my dad always said, “Son, you need some wire and some oil, very basic tools and you can go around the world as many times as you want.” This was a very important car for BMW; its high sales saved the company and I like the fact that the 2002 is the father of the 3 Series.
When I was a kid growing up in the Eighties, I remember sitting in my father’s 2002 and thinking it was as big as a Bentley! I can’t believe how life evolves and now that I own this car I am always amazed how small I was and how so many things have changed, apart from the car. It has always been, and will always be, a part of me and my family.
What is your dream car?
I could never decide, but it’d definitely be something German.
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