If there is one thing the Middle-East region is really well known for, it is for their wealth – and they are not shy to boast about it either. Hence, in the modern and developed parts of the area, you’ll see shopping malls, hotels and office towers that are in a class of their own in terms of size and extravagance.
The region is also known for their love of speed, and hence manufacturers of expensive, exotic cars pay particular attention when an auto show gets scheduled in the area. Just last week, the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) hosted the 14th edition of their bi-annual auto show at the Dubai World Trade Center. I had photographer Ariana Wardak present at the show, to give us a glimpse of what this exhibition had to offer.
While all the mainstream car manufacturers were present with their latest offerings, what everyone goes to see at the Dubai Auto Show is all the fancy stuff, and this years show certainly didn’t disappoint.
The Noble M600 made its Middle-Eastern debut at this exhibition. A small sports car manufacturer out of Leicestershire, UK – Noble hand builds their mid-engine, two-seat coupe, which features a twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8 (essentially a modified version of the engine Yamaha built for Volvo between 2005 and 2010), resulting in a max output of 650 hp and 604 lb-ft of torque. All that grunt is sent to just the rear wheels via a manual six-speed gearbox. Use the powertrain correctly, and you’ll sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in about 3.2 seconds, and on to a top speed in the region of 362 km/h – that should satisfy any speed demon.
If luxury is more your style, than the Speedback GT from David Brown Automotive would be more to your liking. Based out of Coventry, UK – David Brown Automotive has clearly taken inspiration from one of the best known British cars of all time, the 1963-to-65 Aston Martin DB5. However, the Speedback GT is based on the chassis and running gear of a much more modern car, the second-generation Jaguar XKR. While it might be based on a Jaguar, all the exterior and interior gets reworked to give a modern take on a beloved classic. The end result looks spectacular, and would certainly get the approving nod from classic and sports car lovers from the world over. Time will tell if the potential clients in Dubai gave this car the approving nod with their cheque books.
Custom car atelier ARES was also present at the 2015 Dubai Auto Show with their version of the Rolls Royce Wraith. The customization looks spectacular, and gives the already pretty Wraith even more curb appeal. ARES is a British-Italian company that is headed by ex-Lotus CEO, Dany Bahar.
Keeping with the custom atelier theme, Bilenkin Classic Cars – a car customizing company out of Russia – was also on hand with their model called the Vintage. Based on the platform of the E92 series from BMW, this stunning coupe blends classic car style with modern performance. I think the end result looks wonderful, kind of like a modern take on the Volvo P1800. I can just imagine myself behind the wheel of one of these, preferably one with the drivetrain from the E92 series M3 model – that would be motoring nirvana for me.
Never heard of the Halcon Supersport Falcarto? Don’t worry, neither had I until I was sent a picture of it. After browsing through the internet, I have learned that this German company makes custom cars in small numbers, and will build no more than 15 examples of the Falcarto. It is powered by a Nissan-sourced 3.7L V6, which for some extra thrust can be optioned with a twin-turbo system – resulting in 640 hp, which should give this front-engine coupe plenty of performance. According to its maker, the Falcarto can sprint from Zero to 100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds, and has a top speed of 320 km/h.
The Europeans weren’t the only ones showing off their specialist cars, American sports car manufacturer, Panoz, was also on hand. Not only did they bring along their new Spyder GT, but also their GTR1 – a car that was originally developed well over a decade ago, to homologate for GT racing at the Le Mans 24 hour race. Only one example of the GTR1 road car was ever made, and that model got a fresh new paint job to flaunt for this years Dubai Auto Show. Panoz says, it can build you a brand new GTR1 now, if you have a spare $1-million lying around – I’m sure there is no shortage of that kind of cash in the UAE.
All in all, the 2015 edition of the Dubai Auto Show looked to be the ideal place for petrolheads. While I wished I could have been there myself, thanks to my photographer on the scene, we can all day dream about the show and the cars it offered.