DUBAI // They came from far and wide, exotic bidders and international media, and they searched among the dusty Honda Civics and the clapped-out Mitsubishi Lancers, looking for the blood-red US$1 million (Dh3.6m) Ferrari Enzo supercar.
But they searched in vain.
Toyota Prado, check. Dodge Charger, check. There was even a silver-grey Aston Martin. But of the sleek Italian machine abandoned in an underground car park by a departing expatriate fallen on hard times, one of only 400 made and expected to be up for auction yesterday at Dubai Police's transport department, there was not so much as a tyre track.
It was all a misunderstanding, said Brig Anas Al Matrooshi, deputy director of transport and rescue at the general department of operations at Dubai Police.
"I even got a call from a buyer in the US who offered me Dh6m for the Enzo," he said.
"We will have a high-performance auction in the future", probably in the autumn, Brig Al Matrooshi said. "We are working on that right now."
Brig Al Matrooshi said the Enzo was still part of a court case and only after the case was settled would the car be released to the police. When the Enzo is sold, the previous owner could still benefit, receiving the proceeds less any fines and fees.
"The auction list was on the internet for more than a month and the Enzo was not listed in it," Brig Al Matrooshi said. "Most of the guys here are owners of used-car companies."
Faysal Merabi, 32, from Lebanon, was deflated when he found there were no supercars for sale. He skipped work to get to the auction.
"We were all day figuring out where it was and when. We called everybody. It was very hard to get information. We were going around to all the police offices trying to find out where it was," the Lebanese man said.
Not in the market for a Ferrari, the telecoms executive was hoping to find a bargain among the other luxury cars he thought would be for sale.
"We are not in the car business unlike other people here. We came from work and thought we'd get a quick bargain," he said. Even if he did find one, he said, he still would not trade in his Audi A5.
The police hold such auctions every two months and the cars, which have usually been impounded for unpaid traffic fines, are not sold separately. They are sold as one lot in one quick sale. Among the well-heeled looking for a quick bargain were scrap-metal dealers and used- car salesmen who go to the auctions in search of stock.
The buyer of yesterday's lot, Essam Mohammed Sobhi, RPM Workshop in Al Quasis was happy with his Dh1.35m purchase. He will restore the cars and sell them. A veteran of the auctions, he had heard there might be Ferraris available.
"I asked Dubai Police and they told me the Enzo was not in the auction. I usually buy luxury cars and have Range Rovers, Aston Martins for sale already," he said.
"The price was nice. I checked the cars already. Most of the cars I bought are Japanese." He said the dust and sun were more forgiving on Japanese-made cars.
Today, the police will issue a new list of cars to be auctioned in two months.
For a video on abandoned cars auction, go to http://bit.ly/Ka0Izt