x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

The Air Bag: Scratching an expensive motoring itch

Before coming to work in the Middle East, Neil Vorano sold off several vehicles and vowed to change his motoring buying habits. But the uncontrollable urge to buy wheels has reared its head.

Coming to Abu Dhabi almost four years ago was a good thing for me, in many ways. Sure, the job is great, but like many people who find their way across to the other side of the world, I was escaping a problem. It had been consuming my existence; it was costing me money and my social life; I needed help.

I couldn't stop buying vehicles.

Luckily, I finally decided to take the Middle East plunge, and I got rid of my utilitarian Subaru Outback, my cherished 1965 Triumph Spitfire and my beloved motorcycle, a 1987 BMW R100RS (I had also sold a couple of other cars in the years before that). I would miss the last two rides, but I felt unshackled, like a weight had suddenly lifted off of me. I was free.

Of course, I had to buy a bike when I got here, so I added a Beemer F650GS, just to get around on. Then, with the heat getting to me, I picked up a lovely little Alfa Romeo Spider just last year. That's fine; I could stop there, no problem.

Of course, I still check the classifieds board in a supermarket, just to see what's for sale and for how much; you know, because I'm interested. Occasionally, I'll log on to dubizzle.com or some other used car website; just out of curiosity, you understand.

And so it was that, while surfing the net, I just happened on a 1994 BMW K100RS, a sport touring bike just a bit newer than the motorcycle I had owned. But this one was in need of, shall we say, more than just a spot of polish.

It was a lovely bike in its heyday; an oil-cooled four-cylinder with a black sport fairing, ABS and decent power; but it had fallen on hard times. The ad said it didn't start, the fuel filler cap wouldn't open, it hadn't been ridden in a couple of years, and a few other little tidbits that would be a warning sign to walk away for others more sensible than I might be.

And that's when I realised the itch that I wasn't scratching suddenly became all too apparent; and all too unbearable. I'm sorry - I just couldn't help myself.

The price was right, and I even knocked it down to just more than Dh3,000. There was no time to get it checked over properly - normally the smart thing to do before a purchase - but at that price, I could afford to be foolish. I was feverish; I wanted it.

Unfortunately, with no tools and, more importantly, no place to work on the bike (though I am entertaining offers from any generous, interested Motoring readers with a garage; just putting that out there …), I had to send it off to a shop in Musaffah, where it resides while I wait for the verdict on what it will take - and what it will cost - to get this Beemer on the road. I honestly have no idea right now what will happen, and I don't even know if I can get it registered properly, but the monkey on my back needed a new set of wheels.

Project Special K is now underway; wish me luck. And if you know of any mid-Sixties American cars for cheap, drop me an email. Just to keep me in the loop, obviously.