Put Your Car on TV anchor Saif Hattawi with one of the participants. Image Credit: Photo courtesy German TV

A quirky new show is all set to premiere on OSN tomorrow featuring another great side of the rich, multi-cultural society in Dubai: Put Your Car on TV.

The show is a new concept in the region, a car competition where participants get to show off their cars on TV. The show is shot and produced completely in Dubai and will be shown on Motor Vision HD.

“The trick is in the title actually,” explained Tewe Pannier of German TV (GTV), the brain behind the show and the producer. “In Put Your Car on TV”, we are asking people with crazy and spectacular cars to come on the show, and on each show, we judge the cars’ style, speed and sound. The winner will walk away with a great experience at Sofitel Jumeirah Beach.

“This is a show which has been tailored for Dubai because Dubai is car-crazy, The emirate has a lot of glamour and is very international. We’ve already had people coming in from so many countries, either living in the UAE or visiting, to show their cars — we’ve had Saudis, Bahrainis, Kuwaitis and a lot of expats who just enjoy cruising the Dubai roads. It’s a show that can be done only in Dubai.”

Pannier, who founded GTV nine years ago in Dubai Media City has produced numerous TV documentaries including The Vertical City on Burj Khalifa, the seven-part series The Desert Racers on the Porsche GT3 cup challenge and the opening show for Ferrari World Abu Dhabi on mbc.

Anchored by 27-year-old Emirati Saif Hattawi, the show is filmed at The JBR Walk.

“Actually many shows are recorded outside and then shown in the UAE. What’s interesting is this show is recorded in the UAE and shown to the world through Motor Vision and GTV,” said first-time TV host Hattawi.

“It’s working the other way around, which is a beautiful thing. Dubai has crazy cars and car owners who love spending money on their cars. Basically, it’s a show that shows the craziness that happens here. For example, I’ve seen a Nissan GT-R with 1,500 horsepower. With cars like this, people spend Dh1.5 million just on toning, which does not include the actual price of the car”.

“We’ve had long lines of cars wanting to be on TV,” said Pannier. “What we will see are cars that have fire coming out of their mufflers, cars that are so big they can’t find a parking space, cars that have more than a 1,000 horsepower. It’s a light entertainment show, with lots of laughter and fun, and lots of crazy people with crazy cars”.

Hattawi, a businessman, has no experience in TV or film industry but finds it “very easy” to work as the host.

“I own certain companies that deal with the motor industry. So I’m known as a businessman rather than a TV host. But I love cars. I’m really passionate about them. I’m a volunteer PR manager for Porsche Club UAE. I do it because I love Porsche and cars in general. I like to try new things. Sometimes money is not something that will stop me from taking on a new role. This is a new experience for me. When the opportunity came I couldn’t say no because this was really interesting: it dealt with my passion for cars and it was TV, which I’ve never done before. Moreover, not everyone gets such an opportunity, to be honest”.

Neither does he work with a script for most of the show.

“The introduction and conclusion of the episode are scripted, but the discussions I have with car owners is impromptu. I make up the questions” explained Hattawi.

“It’s an English show but so people we interview don’t speak English. So I talk to them in Arabic and subtitles are used to show what they’ve spoken”.

Hattawi is also the sole judge who picks the winner of the day on the basis of the “triple S”.

“There are certain cars where you should not ask the owners what you have changed but what you haven’t changed. They change everything from engine, transmission, body, interiors — everything,” said Hattawi.

“And they like to show them off. Especially at this time people from all over the Middle East are visiting Dubai. To be very honest, when we were shooting, many of these car owners were driving past, circling us and then calling and saying ‘Can you put my car on TV?’ It’s not like we are chasing them. When we launched the show, we thought we’d have to chase them, but it’s turned out the other way round.

If the show continues, I’d love to be on it, because it’s another way of connecting with other passionate car owners”.