This muscular Lumina may have a big rear wing, but at least it's easy to spot in Dubai's car parks.
Spoiling the view
Adrian Cambridge is a computer whizz-kid by day and a speed fiend by night. Well, not quite, but he is a technology manager and self-confessed petrolhead. Relocating to Dubai from London in 2007, Adrian found a lot more than fortune and sand. He met his wife here, too: "We met the first day I landed, and married four months ago." Now married, the pressure is on to buy a more sensible car, but Adrian is determined to enjoy every minute in his beloved Chevrolet Lumina SS.
"My car would be quite cool, I would be quite cool, if it wasn't for the spoiler," cringes Adrian "It doesn't say great things about me; it's a hooligan spoiler." Ever practical, Adrian can see positives in this brash add-on, saying "it makes spotting the car in the car park fairly easy." With thoughts of an upgrade manifesting, Adrian explains his theory on why one car really isn't enough for one man. "I actually think you need three cars,"' he counts. 'Your two-seat sports number, an estate car and a four-wheel drive. Then you're covered." He names the Lamborghini Gallardo, Audi RS6 and Range Rover Sport as his top choices.
"I would say a Porsche Cayenne," he continues "but if I have the other two I can go for the more practical four-by-four. The classic, not-so-flashy option." With a penchant for the fast and the fabulous, Adrian also considers himself a guy who likes to blend in. "That's why I go for black," he says. "It's understated. I don't want to look like a tourist, you know?" If avoiding the tourist tag is the name of the game, then giving the Nissan Tiida a wide berth would do the trick, but Adrian has always dreamed of a great big V8. "I love my V8, its got real soul to it. The worst car I have driven is a Honda Civic, it just seemed be totally gutless, no personality."
Having owned a Seat Ibiza Sport at home, the Chevrolet has been a dream come true for Adrian, but the petrol and insurance alone in the UK would be enough to break the bank. "I pay less petrol here for my V8 than I do in the UK for my Seat Ibiza, it's outrageous." Cheap fuel is one of the perks about driving in the UAE, although Adrian also harbours his fair share of complaints as well. "My pet hate over here is [people] leaving the plastic on the seats. Not only that, but when you see people have left the bar codes on as well."
It may be the first thing to come off a new toy for some, but in the UAE, shiny, plastic seating seem to be all the rage. "What angers me most on the road is ignorance," Adrian says. "I blame education. I had a friend who learnt to drive over here, she was told to hit the horn at every cyclist that passed by. According to the teacher they had no right to be on the road." It is fair to say that driving in the UK is very different. Even looking at your horn inappropriately could land you back on your push bike. "My driving has totally changed over here," he says."You have to be defensive, aggressive and always assume the worst.
"I remember reading a quote somewhere describing driving conditions in Dubai, comparing it to navigating your way out of a war zone in a Datsun." Not wanting to test the theory, Adrian opted for a solid car, complete with red and black, go-faster seats. "I really like black cars, I think they are sleek and sexy. I admit it may have been a tad suicidal in this heat, but I just always wanted black. It does have a splash of colour in the seats though."
Abu Dhabi is a hive of activity for boy racers and car enthusiasts. Driving may be on the not-so-fun side of scary, but the cars parading the streets definitely create a sight to behold. "You find more petrol-heads in Abu Dhabi compared with Dubai. I don't know if there is just more money, but you can find some really specialised models here. "Everyone is now gearing up for the F1," Adrian beams. "There should be real stunners on show there."