x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

My car: All-American Corvettes

Mother and daughter-in-law, Marrie and Adriana Deeb, are both infatuated with their all-American corvettes.

Marrie Deeb, left, and Adriana Deeb, right, own several models of Corvette.
Marrie Deeb, left, and Adriana Deeb, right, own several models of Corvette. "We, as a family, are and always have been the biggest, devoted Corvette fans in history."

Mother and daughter-in-law are both infatuated with their all-American Corvettes

Some mothers find it difficult to relate to their daughters-in-law, but not Marrie Deeb. She's found a common ground that bonds her with her son Elie's wife, Adriana: a deep love of the Chevrolet Corvette.

"It's the car I've been driving for about 35 years now," says Marrie. "We, as a family, are and always have been the biggest, devoted Corvette fans in history."

Marrie, a 51 year-old Dubai-based accountant, has been happily cruising around the streets of Dubai in her 1979 Chevrolet Corvette, along with five other different models that she and her husband own.

"Before I got married, my brother owned a Corvette as well," says Marrie. "He had a 1975 model when we were younger and back when I was still at home in Lebanon.

"He used to take me out in his car for drives around our town, back before I even took my driver's licence, and I fell in love with the car."

Marrie and her husband's fascination with Vettes was also passed down to their son, Elie, who is founder and president of the Dubai-based Corvette Arabian club.

Elie's wife, Adriana, meanwhile, also shares the love for this classy sports car that holds such a warm place in this family's hearts. She is the marketing manager of the Corvette club and owns two Corvettes: a 1972 model and one made in 1999.

"It's very nice to grab everyone's attention around you with this car, because people don't usually expect to see a woman driving such a model," says the 28-year old.

"It's not the performance or the speed that impresses me though, it's the shape. I'm a fan of small, trendy, sleek-looking sports cars, and I love cruising around in a vehicle like that."

The Corvette first hit the scene in 1953. The all-American sports car has gone through drastic changes throughout six generations and 58 years of production right up to the very attractive 2011 model. However, for Marrie and Adriana, they will always prefer the old classics to the more recent models.

"My son Elie owns a 2003 model, which he constantly urges me to drive, but I would never even consider letting go of my old classic ones. Some things are just better old," says Marrie.

She has been a devoted fan of the Corvette ever since she started driving.

"I left my family's house infatuated by my brother's Corvette, to my husband's house where my infatuation was further strengthened, so I had no choice really," she laughs.

Marrie's husband tried to sell his Corvette when they got married, and after seeing his wife's disappointment, he promised her to compensate her for that, with five more Vettes.

"Indeed that's what actually happened," says Marrie. "It's the brand name of our family now. My daughter owns one, both my sons own several ones, and we're proud to have Elie as the founder and president of the Corvette Arabia club."

Adriana's journey with the Corvette culture, though shorter than Marrie's, has developed into something no less passionate.

"It's a very practical car, which is something you could hardly expect from a sports car, but it serves almost every purpose," she says.

Both ladies have owned and driven different kinds of cars before, including a Renault, a Mitsubishi, a Nissan, a BMW, a Toyota Land Cruiser, and several others. However, neither one considers changing her beloved Corvette.

"My husband is trying to pressure me to start driving an automatic gearbox because sometimes I get really tired, especially now that I have my baby with me in the car," says Adriana.

She disagrees with people's general perception of the practicality of a manual gearbox in Dubai's traffic. "I don't mind getting stuck in traffic, and it doesn't bother me to be on a manual gear when that happens," she says.

"I got my driving licence eight years ago back in Romania, and all I have driven since are manual-gearboxed cars; we had no automatic gearbox. So for me, more control is always better in any circumstance.

"I'm slowly warming up to the idea of going automatic, though against my will, but I guess it will be a new thing for me to try. But my weekend car will still be the Corvette," she adds.

* Keltoum Ahfid