x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Car collector is most sentimental about father's gift

My car: Saeed Al Badi has many cars, but his favourite was a gift from his father

Saeed Al Badi with his 2003 BMW M3.  Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Saeed Al Badi with his 2003 BMW M3. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

He's gone through many cars, and has even managed to wreck a few, but Saeed Al Badi's favourite is his 2003 BMW M3. The white car was given to him as a gift from his late father after he had ruined his new car.

In February 2002, Al Badi was driving a Mini Cooper, but sadly that car was totalled after a couple of accidents.

"I was driving to Abu Dhabi from Al Ain without having a good night's sleep, I drove through the fences [on the road]," he says. His accident resulted in a hemorrhage in his stomach that required surgery. He had to travel to Germany for treatment, but as soon as he got back, he bought a brand new, sky blue BMW M5.

Two weeks later though, he had another accident that ruined the engine. "I hit my cousin's car in front of our house's gate, I just didn't see him," he laughs. "A few days later, my father got me the M3 as a late birthday gift and because now I was short of a car."

The last time he drove the M3 was about two years ago, but he has no plans of selling the car or getting rid of it. "The gearbox needs to be changed but there are no spare parts for it, and I don't have the patience to order and wait for the parts to arrive, nor do I have the amount to pay for it," he says.

"Now, I can't use it because it is damaged, but I can't sell it either. I might fix it in the future and drive it again," he adds. "This car is rare and expensive, that is the main reason behind keeping it. I'm saving it also because it was given to me by my father, it has sentimental value to me and I had many good memories in it."

Al Badi recalls his numerous trips across the Emirates and its borders, sometimes heading all the way to Qatar with his cousins and friends. Driving it, he said, was easy and comfortable.

"I had many nice memories in the car with my family and friends. The first memory I have of the car is the day I went to Fujairah with my cousins, and when I wanted to wash my car in the morning, another man who had a [Nissan] GT Skyline wanted to fight with me," he laughs. "He thought I was challenging him to a race, all because of the loud exhaust system on the car.

"He got upset with me, and wanted to fight. He thought he could easily take me down," he continues. "But he then recognised my friends, and so we tried to calm things down. I think he realised we were not the type to start neither fights nor races."

Five years later, he switched from his M3 to a Mercedes-Benz C63. Yet, the attention it received didn't compare with that from his previous car.

"I loved this car because of the red interior, and it got a lot of attention on the road in the previous days specially when it wasn't tinted," he says." I remember after I would take her for a car wash, when people kept looking at me. I felt that I had a noticeably nice car. Who doesn't want that?"

Apart from his M3 that is stationed at home, he also has a black and white Smart that was his first car ever. He admits it doesn't work as the engine is ruined, but it is of value to him, and it adds to his growing car collection.

"Of course with my love of cars, I could be called a car collector," he says. "I dream of adding more to my collection, and I want cars like the G63 and maybe a Bentley coupé."

Al Badi also has two BMW X5s and a 750i; a Lexus GX; a Land Cruiser; a Jeep SRT and a Mercedes-Benz S500. His everyday ride is the white X5 though, as to him it is the most comfortable and easy for everyday use.

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