There’s a movement. It doesn’t have an official name, but we like to think of it as ‘UAE-DM’.[Not a valid template]
Let me explain. There have been movements throughout the history of the automotive world. Starting close to home, Cal-Look was a trend opitimised by a certain look and feel that Volkswagen Beetles had in the 70s. Inspired by the drag racing fraternity of the day and subsequently found while hunting the street racing spots of Southern California, the look was simple. A nose down stance, de-chromed, usually without bumpers, a choice selection of wheels, and often high power 48IDA-fed motors pushed them along. Famed for their amazing traction and relative lightweight setup, these cars where the bain of many a big power V8 at local drag nights.
Then there’s JDM, a look inspired by classic Japanese drifters and GT circuit racing and thus replicated across the globe, with slammed suspension there and a rear wing or two there. Then there’s the French Look, which with typical Gallic flair includes ‘vibrant’ colours and decals plastered along the doors.
So what have we been tracking our region? With motorsport still in its infancy, but developing nicely comes UAE-DM. With an entire desert on the doorstep, off-roading is the weekend adrenaline rush of choice for Emiratis, and not just in specially crafted, lightweight hillclimbers. Everyday and affordable 4x4s from Toyota and Nissan among others prove the perfect base for the dune thrash and subsequent cruise through town on a Thursday evening.
So what of the car? Head into the depths of UAQ or any of the other Emirates that make up the UAE and you’ll find Patrols and Land Cruisers channelling upwards of 1000hp through the driveline: proper sleeper trucks. Outwardly stock – less the giveaway nose down stance, choice wheels and a cheeky exhaust – they are capable of ruining most opponents on-track. James found that out the hard way at a drag event at Yas Marina…
Now we don’t want to delve too far into this movement just yet. The plan was to walk you to the water and dig deeper to unearth just what makes the owners tick. To start with, this is Hamad Jassim Al-Amiri’s 2009MY Land Cruiser GX.R. It’s certainly distinctive, as Hamad himself agrees. Indeed, the looks and the reputation of the Land Cruiser were what attracted the local boy to the 4×4 in the first place.
“I’ve actually owned the car now for four years,” Hamad explains, “and I just loved the look of it. There was so much character about it. Plus the Land Cruiser has such a good reputation in the area that I eventually made up my mind and bought one.
“But then a few years after that I was speaking with some friends of mine. They’d all been to the drag strip and had work done to their own cars, and they kept saying that a Land Cruiser couldn’t be faster than a Nissan Patrol. I wanted to prove them wrong and teach them a little respect!”