Car enthusiasts at one of the regular gatherings of the group. It is organising its second major event in October at Abu Dhabi City Golf Club. It’s going to be a big cars show competition. Image Credit: Street Meet Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi: Open to any drivers who have a love for all things related to cars, a community group of car enthusiasts in Abu Dhabi are aiming to show that not all of them are involved in street racing or street drifting, as they combine their passion for cars along with educating their members on the rules of the road.

Formed last year by two Filipino friends — Glenn Navarro and Zingiber Umali — Street Meet Abu Dhabi was created to be an inclusive group opened to all drivers, with the group looking to be distinct from the many other car clubs in the country, which are usually exclusive to drivers of specific car brands.

“We had the idea of making a group that joins all drivers together instead of having separate clubs like the BMW club or the Mercedes club, for example. There’s a lot of groups that drivers can join, but they are not always open to everybody, if someone wants to become a member they will have to own a certain car model to get in,” said Navarro, explaining the motivation behind the group.

“Street Meet Abu Dhabi is open to everybody, it doesn’t matter what car brand you drive, whether it’s a Toyota, Honda, or a Mercedes, we welcome everybody. The only requirement we have is that whoever joins the group has a passion for cars and is interested in meeting with like-minded people,” he added.

Navarro said the group holds regular gatherings every month, as well as having two main big events during the year, one of which will be taking place this October.

“The group has two main events during the year, the first of which we did in February with the second one planned for October. At our first event, we had a gathering of 300 cars, it was just an organised fun day out at Yas Park. We were overwhelmed with the big response we got.

“The second event we are planning is happening in October at Abu Dhabi City Golf Club. It’s going to be a big cars show competition. There are going to be several different categories including the best engine, the best car design and the best car audio. We’re really excited about this event and are expecting a big turnout of car lovers,” he added.

“For our smaller gatherings which happen every month, they happen all around the city — we pick a big spot like a parking venue and then arrange it. Usually for these smaller events, we get a minimum of 50 cars showing up,” Navarro said.

Much like Abu Dhabi’s multicultural vibe, the community is also made up of diverse nationalities and backgrounds, according to Navarro.

“It’s a very international group, we have members from all around the world who join us. We have Arabs, Filipinos, Indians and Europeans. Our diversity reflects the scene in Abu Dhabi, and that’s something that makes us proud because it fits in line with our motto, which is to share with everyone.”

And not just sharing their passion on cars, the group also uses their gatherings to educate their members on the latest road regulations in the country.

“At these meetings, we inform our members about what’s happening in the UAE in terms of any new regulations that are being implemented. A lot of drivers might not be aware of some of the rules, and so we’re always giving them the information they need,” said Umali.

“When it comes to car modifications, for example, we tell our members what the specific rules are and the laws they need to follow if they want to modify their cars. We also educate them on how to safely modify their cars, because many drivers will often get modifications that are not safe and dangerous, and so we tell them which garages they can visit to get a safe and proper car modification done,” he added.

Umali said the group wants to create a positive image for car enthusiasts, one that is not associated with driving dangerously and breaking the laws.

“We don’t do any street racing or street drifting, and we don’t encourage these activities either. There are places where people can go and legally do these things, but it’s not on the streets and we certainly don’t promote that.

“What we want to show is that car enthusiasts aren’t about breaking the rules of the road, but instead we’re just a group of normal people who like cars and like to meet other drivers who have nice cars. We are a group that sticks to the rules and that’s a very important message that we are trying to send out,” he added.

Umali said the group is also looking to create direct links with the Abu Dhabi Police which, he says, will ensure better communication between the police and drivers.

“Our plan is to coordinate with the police, we know they usually release new laws and regulations and so if there is a direct line of contact between us and the police, we can then directly send their messages to our drivers and to other clubs.

“There is even a misconception among drivers that they can get in trouble if they have a modified car or if they’re seen in a big group of cars, and none of that is true and so we want to bridge that gap between car enthusiasts and the police,” he added.

“When we held our first big event in February, the police came to the event and there were no problems at all. If you are a car enthusiast and are doing everything according to the law including your car modifications, then the police aren’t going to bother you. It’s only the drivers that are breaking the law that will get in trouble, and that’s the message the police gave us,” Umali said.