x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

My Car: Furiously fast Chevy Lumina has a driver to match

Fadi Tammour, a Dubai-based jewellery salesman, has taken his 2004 Chevrolet Lumina SS to the limits of street legality.

Fadi Tammour's Chevrolet Lumina SS has adjustable configurations for him to remain legal on public roads when not racing it. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National
Fadi Tammour's Chevrolet Lumina SS has adjustable configurations for him to remain legal on public roads when not racing it. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National

Having recently recorded a rare perfect zero reaction time in a dragster at Yas Marina Circuit, 33-year-old Fadi Tammour, originally from Homs in Syria, knows something about speed.

And acceleration is the main feature of his daily car - a 2004 Chevrolet Lumina SS, which has been souped up to a neck-straining 1,000hp, making it one of the quickest cars on the roads of the UAE.

Having lived in Dubai for more than five years selling jewellery and as a performance manager, Tammour's sparkling weekend performances on the race track have made him one of the country's top drag racers.

His "baby" - a hot red coupe - has been heavily modified but with adjustable configurations for him to remain legal on public roads when not racing it.

"The racing set-up gives the car around 965 rear-wheel horsepower and that's almost 1,200hp on the engine, with a boost of over 26psi. For the road I drop the boost by 13psi and the car falls to around 700rwhp," he explains. "Just about everything in the car has been replaced, even the entire exterior has been adjusted, which you only notice if you look very carefully.

"I bought the car in Dubai in 2006 for around Dh100,000 and opted for this model as I love the V8 version and found it much more interesting than a Mustang, with more power and engine capacity. I experienced something like love when I first saw it and knew it had to be mine - it was everything I wanted right down to the interior colour."

Tammour studied the car's engineering and began working on it after a few months. With each small addition making a noticeable improvement in performance, he soon became addicted to more and more modification. He knows every inch of the vehicle intimately, having wrenched out almost every bolt over the five years he's owned it and jokes about considering seeking professional help for his affliction.

"Because of my speed addiction, I'll never be satisfied - are there any help groups out there?" he laughs. "This is the problem when you develop a thirst for automotive power - you can keep adding more power to suppress the sickness, but there comes a point when it would become illegal on the road. Anyone can build a powerful car but not many can do this with road cars and a lot of time and effort has been invested to ensure everything is adjustable for both the road and the track."

He lists the highlights of racing his Lumina SS as beating a Ferrari 599 GTB and 458 Italia. He also reminisces about beating a heavily modified Porsche GT2, while the bemused German team looked on as their Dh1 million car was embarrassed by his road-legal car.

Tammour admires the car with pride as he says: "The car can do over 340kph and I've had it up to 327kph, so it's safe to say my main enjoyment comes from the adrenaline rush, but it's also a great feeling to monitor and improve the performance of my own creation."

With the amount of work Tammour has put into the car, and with the successes it has brought him on the track, the Lumina won't be leaving his garage anytime soon.

"Over the years I've spent countless hours performing hundreds of custom fabrications to make everything perfect, so it's now worth several times what I paid for it. I'd never sell my baby as it's special - being one of the most powerful road cars in UAE and holding the quarter-mile record at Yas, with no road car coming close to its times.

"I drove my wife from Dubai to Yas Marina Circuit, changed the tyres, did a quarter mile in 9.8 seconds and drove it back home - this is very rare as I haven't seen anything to rival it."

You can see Tammour and his Lumina SS most weekends during the drag racing season at Yas Marina Circuit, where he also races a Super Comp dragster. Tammour is the current UAE drag race champion and won every race he has competed in this past season.