x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Supercars aplenty but vintage cars steal show at first Dubai Grand Parade

More than 500 cars and motorbikes took part in the inaugural parade, that completed a 45-kilometre loop around Dubai.

Both cars and people took to Sheikh Zayed Road as part of the car parade. Sarah Dea / The National
Both cars and people took to Sheikh Zayed Road as part of the car parade. Sarah Dea / The National

DUBAI // More than 500 vintage vehicles, luxury cars and motorbikes took to the road for a parade today.

Proud owners displayed their flashy wheels as they took part in the first Dubai Grand Parade, while numerous car enthusiasts gathered along the 45-kilometre route to watch the vehicles roll by.

The event lasted more than an hour and was part of the Dubai International Motor Show.

Emiratis and expatriates brought out their high-end luxury vehicles, among them Bugattis, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, McLarens, Rolls-Royces, Aston Martins, Maseratis, Shelby Super Cars, Harley-Davidsons and Ducatis.

About 35 Aston Martins led the parade, which began just after 3pm, followed by Dubai Police’s trademark green-and-white fleet.

More than 75 Ferraris, a fully customised 1951 Cadillac, an off-white 1976 Corvette, a custom-made Shelby Cobra called Lucille and a sand-coloured 1970 Morris Minor van were featured.

Despite Dubai being synonymous with luxury brands, it was the classic collection that stole the debut show.

Among them was a vintage blue Saxon motor car dating from 1917. The owner of the beautifully restored convertible said her family was “driving history”.

“We are really excited to be part of the parade,” said Ahlam Al Zahawi, 57. “This is one of the rarest cars in the world. In four years, it will complete 100 years. They are all original parts. We are driving history.”

The family has owned the car for three years and Ms Al Zahawi said restoring it had been expensive.

“We did some repairs, redid some of the interiors and repainted it. We bought new tyres,” she said.

Organisers said the parade helped to bring the motoring community closer together.

“For me, the best word to sum up the parade is energy,” said Dr Mohammed bin Sulayem, president of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, and ambassador of the Dubai Grand Parade.

“The parade is a mechanism that links society and it will build a stronger motoring community in Dubai. This event brings together owners, drivers, the watching public, the police and all the other government organisers.”

Onlookers with cameras queued along the route that started and finished at Dubai World Trade Centre and took in the city’s sights, including the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab.

Many people had parked their cars on overpass bridges and in service lanes to catch a glimpse of the convoy of cars and bikes.

Police were seen trying to clear the traffic on the arterial Sheikh Zayed Road to make way for the vehicles.

Some of the parade participants said the event could have been organised better.

“The roads were full of cars and even buses,” said Iranian Navid Namar, who drove a vintage pink Mini Cooper. “We had to go through traffic. It was good for the motorbikes, who were able to get through easily.”

Zaheer Ismail, from India, rode a 2013 Ducati Diavel and said he was able to make it back quickly.

“They didn’t close the roads all the way,” said Mr Ismail, who drove with a group of 25 other Ducati bikers.

Another car that attracted many spectators was a Range Rover Sport entirely decorated with coins from the UAE and other Arabian Gulf states.

“I have used 60,000 coins from the UAE and other Gulf countries,” said Emirati Ali Gharib, who drove with his brother. “I’ve used three types of glues to stick them.”

pkannan@thenational.ae