x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

First we evaded the cops. Now we want to drive their cars

As a fan of supercars, I can't wait to see the Mercedes SLS, a Bentley Continental GT, and a collectors-item Aston Martin One-77 patrolling the streets.

There is something about an immaculate, loud, luxurious sports car that turns heads every time it zooms by. If it's driven by a particularly attractive driver, be it a man or a woman, then it is simply "hot" as they say, or "cool." I know I will always stop and take notice.

It sounds silly, but what you drive does and can change your life. And if that car is a sporty Porsche or a zippy Ferrari, your wheels bring attention that you wouldn't get in a Yaris or Tiida. Shallow, yes. But unfortunately, that's the way it is. You get the best parking spot as well.

When I was younger, I was into "souping up" my cars, and would race and try to increase my car's power and change its look every now and then. I would actually sit for hours with my mechanic friend, adding accessories, and even a massage seat that would move to the beat of the stereo inside. The amount of money I spent on my cars could have bought a small house, but for some reason, the car was more important to me then, so I poured my heart and soul into it.

I even named one of my rides "Ramroom", a typical nickname given to girls with the name Rym or Reem. I drew her name in calligraphic Arabic onto the car. It would help break the ice with other drivers who would yell out from the window: "What does it say?" I made several friends that way.

On some streets in Canada, away from the crowds and in the middle of nowhere, we'd race about, copying the "Chickie Run" in James Dean's 1955 film, Rebel Without a Cause, where attractive girls would take their turns throwing the hands in the air for the race to start. It was fun, and dangerous, but we never overdid it (no cliff jumps for us) and didn't have a long road to race on, so our races would end without trouble.

The police would know about us, our midnight rides, and sometimes, depending on how much noise we made or if we spun our tyres too much, they'd come and we would get a fine or two. But it was common to find some of the cops standing there watching and enjoying the show.

Those were the days. I am sure it is still going on somewhere, even right here in the UAE, with new youths picking up where we left off.

I've been reminded of my love affair with sports cars as the Dubai Police have given a new life to the ultimate car show on the streets. Even those who turn up their noses at fast cars and wonder what the fuss is all about find it hard not to stop and take notice of the latest police cruisers.

Not only are the cars great, but women and men in crisp uniforms are driving them.

Last weekend, I turned into a fan of these supercars, posing next to the supercops and their rides: a Lamborghini Aventador, with licence plate number 6 and a Ferrari FF, licence plate number 9.

Why did I do that, pose for a photo next to a car? It was obviously not mine, and my photo was the same as everyone's. But I guess it has becomes one of those pictures that define a place.

In that sense, the Dubai Police decision to buy these cars was a great publicity move. People can approach the supercops and discuss any problem they have with them without fear or tension. I saw two men come up and discuss a burglary they had had in their area. Another group came over and asked about the services provided by the police. Friendly and approachable, the four supercops are now the stars on the road. Who wouldn't want a photo with these crime fighters?

A supercar can help break the ice and connect people, and the police in Dubai are inspiring this in style.

As a fan of supercars, I can't wait to see the Mercedes SLS, a Bentley Continental GT, and a collectors-item Aston Martin One-77 patrolling the streets.

But it would be better if I got a chance to drive one of them. Any of them. No "souping" necessary.

 

Rghazal@thenational.ae

On Twitter: @arabianmau