x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Restored '91 Mustang a part of the family

Ford Mustangs are everywhere in the UAE, and that should come as no surprise. They're affordable, good-looking and have huge levels of power, but there aren't too many on our roads like the one owned by Tobias Klein.

Tobias Klein with his 1991 Ford Mustang.
Tobias Klein with his 1991 Ford Mustang.

Ford Mustangs are everywhere in the UAE, and that should come as no surprise. They're affordable, good-looking and have huge levels of power. When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, there's little out there to touch a 'Stang and our roads are perfectly suited to it - long, straight, smooth surfaces. Just like the car's home country, in fact.

There aren't too many on our roads like the one owned by Tobias Klein, however. The 28-year-old has been living in Mirdif, Dubai, since 1989, having relocated from Hamburg in Germany with his parents. Both he and his father are confirmed petrolheads. They share ownership of an incredible 1992 Porsche 928 GTS, and Tobias also owns a new Golf GTI and his father has a 1999 Jaguar XJR. But it's the '91 Mustang that has the greatest hold on him.

"It used to be owned by my fiancée's father," he explains. "He had kept it as a project car and it was in really bad shape. Unfortunately he died two years ago and his wife was going to try selling it. I stepped in, bought it and set about restoring it."

The car was not running, it was badly corroded and, as you might expect, there were several moments when Tobias felt like quitting what was often a nightmare restoration process. "It was so frustrating, seeing the easy availability of spares and parts in the USA, but whenever I tried to get hold of those parts here in the UAE everyone drew a blank."

Persistence paid off, however, and through a process of elimination he was able to find the right specialists to bring the Mustang back to its former glory. Tobias has made some modifications along the way, as he explains, "Along with having much of the rear bodywork repaired [including a new tailgate], I had it lowered, I fitted a Ron Davies Racing cooling system, a new water pump with 40 per cent greater flow, a better exhaust and a great stereo system." He says the engine is quite high-revving, necessitating the extra cooling capacity for it to cope with our extreme temperatures. "Some water was found in one of the cylinders, too," he says with a sigh, "which meant I ended up having the entire engine rebuilt."

He also had the car painted matt white and it certainly stands out as being different. "I always get the thumbs up from other drivers when I'm out in it and I often get asked if it's for sale," he continues. "But it isn't. I never got to meet my fiancée's father before he passed away and I feel really good that I've been able to bring the car back to the way he always wanted it to be. It's a part of the family now."

Still, it isn't suitable as a daily driver. For that he uses the Golf. "The Mustang's clutch is really heavy and the handling, well, it's a bit of a handful! We don't get much in the way of rain here, obviously, but if the roads do get even a little wet then it's tricky to keep it pointing the right way - even when it's dry, if I exit a corner too quickly it requires a lot of correction. It's really a straight line car."

The Emirates Mustang Club, though, has been a real bonus, he says. "We've been on several trips, with one to Al Ain and back having 50 cars join in. We even had a police escort along some of the route - that was really good fun." A forthcoming visit to Jebel Hafeet should keep him entertained, too.

Has the Mustang project come to an end now? "No, I want to change some of the interior details in time but it's pretty much where I always wanted it to be. And after all the financial headaches it's given me, it's wonderful to be able to enjoy it when I have time at the weekends. I think it'll be with me for a while yet."