x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

The master decal artists who turn supercars into Dubai Police's exotic fleet

The multi-million dirham police supercars that have caught the imagination of the world were given their striking green-and-white finishes by a company based in an industrial unit at Al Quoz.

The Lamborghini Aventador, left, and the Ferrari FF were the first supercars to get the Dubai Police decal treatment. Courtesy Dubai Police
The Lamborghini Aventador, left, and the Ferrari FF were the first supercars to get the Dubai Police decal treatment. Courtesy Dubai Police

DUBAI // The multi-million dirham police supercars that have caught the imagination of the world were given their striking green-and-white finishes by a company based in an industrial unit at Al Quoz.

A limited edition Aston Martin One-77 is among the latest head-turners to join Dubai Police's fleet of high-speed exotics. The force has also taken delivery of a Lamborghini Aventador, a Ferrari FF, a Mercedes SLS and a Bentley Continental GT.

All have been decked out in the distinctive Dubai Police colours and had the force's crest and other graphics such as the words "police patrol" and the web address applied by Sixty Seven Auto Services.

Pictures of the cars created a global sensation on the internet and attracted widespread comment.

"I didn't expect that much interest," said Gerard Wilson, the company's managing director. "The idea of the supercars coming in was to promote Dubai's bid to host Expo 2020, so the publicity will help the bid.

"Also Dubai being Dubai, it always wants to be the best in everything and have the best. There are more police supercars to come, there are some really good ones in the pipeline."

The cars are not painted. Instead, vinyl film is applied to the bodywork in a process known as foiling or wrapping. The film for each car is obtained from a US company.

It costs around Dh20,000 to foil a car, and Mr Wilson said supercars were often easier to work on than ordinary vehicles as they tended to have straighter lines.

"We make sure the car is pretty clean. We give it a good clean with special chemicals so there's no grease on it, and then we apply the film," he explained. "We work on panels. A car has many panels, and if it's one big piece then we have to do it all in one."

The green used is a custom shade approved by the police. Other work, such as fitting the flashing blue lights on the roof, is carried out in-house by police technicians.

The Aston Martin, which has a top speed of 350km/h, is one of a limited edition of 77 cars, all of which have been sold. However the Dubai Police car is particularly rare as it is one of just seven special edition Q-Series versions and cost Dh11 million. The standard car costs Dh6.2m.

To reinforce the One-77's exclusivity, the manufacturer insisted that only those who purchased the car could drive it, forbidding journalists from testing it.

Top Gear magazine beat the ban with the help of a supercar dealer on Sheikh Zayed Road who bought one specially so they could drive it in Dubai. A number of the cars were sold in the UAE.

The police One-77 was originally metallic grey, so the Sixty Seven Auto Services team had to apply white foil all over the body before adding the police colours. The entire process took four days.

The Aston was the only one of the supercars that was treated at the company's workshop - the team went to the force's fleet headquarters to apply the film to the others.

The One-77 is Mr Wilson's favourite of the five. He said: "The best one is the Aston, there are only seven of them in the world. It's amazing to work on such fantastic cars."

The next car likely to be on Mr Wilson's lot is rumoured to be a Bugatti after the Dubai Police Chief Dahi Khalfan posted a picture of a Veyron in full livery.

The supercars caused a stir when they went on show at last week's Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.

Briton Elliott McNee gazed admiringly at the fleet and said: "No other police force in the world has such equipment."

 

csimpson@thenational.ae