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Nobody seems to have bothered to tell Dubai that cars are meant only for terra firma, but we are not complaining.

This is the second part of our adventures in Dubai where we spent a few days seeking an answer to the question: ‘why should a motoring enthusiast go to Dubai?’ Highlights of the first part included the Dubai Kartdrome, Hatta Dam, Skyview Observatory, and some exquisite food. Interestingly, those form only half the story. Here is the rest.

Car spotting is something enthusiasts are keen on in India. The occasional sighting of a Ferrari or Lamborghini is enough to make one’s day or even week. On those lines, Dubai may be the easiest place in the world to spot rare and exotic cars. They are ubiquitous. In fact, during my time there, my sightings included a Bugatti Chiron, Mansory Urus, Ferrari LaFerrari, and even my favourite, the Nissan R34 Skyline GT-R. Spend enough time in downtown Dubai and you get to see all of these and some more. One could argue that spotting is not as good as driving and I concur. If you have the wherewithal, that city offers the best chance to drive your dream car on roads that are par excellence. Moreover, there is also a racetrack for some proper fun. As much as they love the latest fast cars, Dubai’s citizens are also connoisseurs of some immaculately maintained gems from the past. Now those are harder to spot, but there is a solution.

In my opinion, one needs to take one’s time to appreciate a classic car. What with pedestrian safety and aerodynamics, most cars these days look similar. So, when there is an option to enjoy a cup of coffee slowly while running one’s eyes over the delicate curves and lines of cars from the times gone by, who could say no? The Flat 12 Café is perfect for this. It is a quiet establishment that conducts its business in a building the size of a hangar. While a third of that space was occupied by the seating, the remaining was commanded by an impressive line-up of cars. Two restored Jaguar E-Types took centre stage and they were accompanied by other icons, including Porsche 911s, Audi Quattro, Lancia Delta Integrale, Honda Integra Type-R, and even the famous VW bus. Yours truly visited the place on a weekday when it is usually quiet. However, I was informed that it becomes a beehive of activity during weekend car meets.

We also got a chance to visit a private collection. Located in the ground floor of the Nasser Bin Abdullatif Alserkal company building, it had the most eclectic assortment of cars, trucks, and even a small aircraft. Imagine a Ford Model T, old Cadillacs, and multiple generations of BMWs in the immediate vicinity of a small propeller plane. That should give you a general idea of just how eccentric the line-up was. Although they are not particularly fond of tourists, they do allow enthusiasts a dekko at the collection.

If driving in Dubai is beyond your capability, fret not, there is something else that is more fun and also not as expensive. Some genius took a jet ski and modified it to wear a car’s body and equipped it with car-like controls, including a foot-operated throttle and a steering wheel. This unassuming contraption was then let loose in the sea around Dubai Marina with me at the wheel (or is it helm?). No cops, no lanes, and no speed limits. A recipe for a tidal wave of fun. With no risk to personal safety or property damage, a jet car and the sea was a perfect combination to just let loose and go flat out. Although flying over the waves was scary at first, I gradually settled in and it was easily the most fun I had in Dubai. Trust me, the jet car is an experience you will never regret. At the end of it, you will either be itching for another go or still shaking at the knees. There’s just no other way about it.

As much as we loved the grills and barbecues of the local cuisine, our last meal in Dubai had to be something extra special and we found ourselves at an acclaimed Japanese restaurant on the waterfront, called “3 Fils”. Serving premium and high-quality Japanese food, including the most tasty sushi and succulent Wagyu beef, it was an instant hit among us. Of course, this is but one of the many options available. There is no dearth of variety.

From this rather mixed account of our time in Dubai, I would like to draw your attention to a few things. Dubai is a tourist country. Almost everything there is centred round the tourist experience, so there is more than enough to keep one occupied. It is also a paradise on earth for motoring enthusiasts because it offers everything from relaxing long drives, unforgettable road trips, exhilarating track outings, car spotting on the street, and the chance to ogle at some fine collections. Moreover, Dubai’s diversity also has a way of reeling in enthusiasts of a specific variety and introducing them to new and equally addictive experiences. Case in point being myself. I may have landed in Dubai as a car and motorcycle enthusiast, but, having spent some time ripping around the Marina in a jet car, I am equally attracted to the thrills of water sport.

Best time to visit is between November and March because the weather is most pleasant then. When you do visit Dubai, hit us up on social media and tell us all about it. We shall be happy to help with recommendations and suggestions.

Also Read: Dubai for a Car Enthusiast


About the author: Joshua Varghese


Would gape at fast cars. Still does but now has a chance to drive some of them. Hates driving in traffic but makes up for with a spot of off-roading or the occasional track outing. Insta: @motoknight


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