"We are looking to expand to a fresh market, and we decided to target the UAE because it's extremely wealthy and hasn't been very affected by the global downturn," said Dave Reyonlds, office manager, Gantspeed. "Plus people here are fanatical about cars so we hope that in the long-term we can attract people from here [UAE] with Porsches to send their cars for restoration to the UK," he added.

Gantspeed has been restoring cars since 1975, and its expertise and high quality services are in high demand from car owners around the world.

"We both [Dave and I] were training at the same time with Ford Motor Company. Then we left, I started Gantspeed and he [Dave] went on a world journey. I first involved Ford cars but then, as the business developed, we started to receive Mercedes, Jaguars and, of course, Porches. It was quite unintentional that the Porches began to take over, so we decided to become Porsche specialists," Robert Gant, founder and director of Gantspeed, said.

They would hone their skills for the next 10-15 years before finding themselves returning to restoring cars from other car companies, because as Robert had pointed out; Porsche owners may also own other cars.

However, if a person is considering sending their precious cars all the way to the UK to be restored as good as new, there is one thing they should know.

"To restore a car takes 18 months up to two years, and if you want to completely restore your car, then the cost could be as much as £150,000 [Dh915,00]. That's a sizable investment, so you have to be extremely sure that you want to do this," Gant said. "We also source cars for clients, that is, we look for the car model that they had requested, restore it and then ship it to them," he added.

The company also restores cars to be used in classic car races, such as the highly challenging Peking to Paris [Motor Challenge] race.

"That was a very big challenge for us. We had a 1956 Porsche to prepare to be driven over 12,000km. We had to incorporate several modern features, such as GPS navigation, satellite communications… so it became a combination of a fully restored old car plus newly added technology," Reynolds said.

"We even had to create a luggage rack on the car's roof so the drivers could place all of their supplies, such as sleeping bags, for their journey!" he added, laughing.

Since the company has restored many cars over the years, one may wonder if there is a particular model that they may be a bit more partial to than others.


"One of my favourite cars that we restored was the 1973 Porsche Carrera RS. It's every true Porsche enthusiast's favourite car because of its dynamics. I also love the 365 models [the first Porsche production automobile], they're lovely to own and drive. The cars have a huge amount of character and driver involvement, unlike modern cars which are completely computerised. They also give drivers a lot of feedback about the way they are being driven so it's a lot of fun to own and drive one," Gant said.

Gantspeed are hoping to tap into such enthusiasm with classic car owners or collectors in the UAE.

"We have been working on this project [to offer their services to classic car owners in the UAE] for nearly a year now. We had contacted the Trade and Industry representatives at the British embassy here, researched the region and now are here on our first exploratory trip to make contacts and spread the word about our services," Reynolds said.

"While it would be nice to go back to the UK with six cars to restore at the end of our visit, we would consider it a success if we would be able to secure one or two restoration requests," he added, laughingly.