Welcome to My Wheels, Guy. That’s a beautiful 996 Turbo you’ve got. You’ve had many other Porsches such a 1978 911SC Targa when you were just 25, but this one was something you always wanted, wasn’t it?
I’ve enjoyed many 911s over the years, the pre-89 Carreras have great class and my 993 cabriolet is very special, but this one is fast, although it’s not just the horsepower but the enormous torque it delivers too. Accelerating out of sharp corners needs care and attention. All 911s need to be driven with respect, with over 400 horsepower and the torque to match four-wheel drive is essential to keep the car on the track!
They sure do. You’ve been passionate about cars since childhood and even named your pets after certain models…
I did; my cat was Dino and my dog was Targa but I bettered that by naming both my daughters after my favourite car — Lauren Porsche Smith and Abbie Carrera Smith! Way before I could drive, as a small boy, I had pictures of Porsches, Ferraris and Lamborghinis on my bedroom wall.
Awesome names for the girls! A Lambo is missing from the list — for now — but you’ve got a gorgeous 1989 308 GTS QV, which for many, is the prettiest Ferrari of all time…
The 308 GTS remains my favourite. Far from being the quickest, it turns heads wherever it goes. It is over 30 years old and there are so few on the road now that everyone stops to look at it and to take pictures. It’s a beautiful car.
Now you’ve got an F430; how thrilling is it to cane that 4.3-litre V8?
I have to say it is amazing; it may have fewer horses than the 911 Turbo but it has more noise (a lot more noise!), more style and I love the Formula 1-style gearbox.
Take us back to your very first car; what was it and what do you remember about it?
It was a Vauxhall VX1800 that I bought from my father for Dh2,000. It was big, heavy and not so fast. I was happy to have bought it and even happier to have sold it back to him some months later! I replaced it with a 1972 Triumph Stag.
Another beauty. What was that one like?
It needed a full restoration and it took two years to complete. It was a true labour of love. Once it was all done, it was brilliant and with a big V8 up front, it sounded amazing too.
You’ve had other incredible cars in the past, too, such as a Lancia Delta. Tell us about that one.
My little Integrale was so much fun to drive, it gripped the road like nothing I had driven before. At the time, the prices in Europe were fair, but today a pristine example can cost you Dh500,000. It was a great little toy with a lot of punch for the money. I also have a 1989 BMW E30 M3 convertible, a car that I have dreamed of owning since I was a boy.
Every car you’ve owned has been red. Coincidence?
All sportscars should be red, shouldn’t they? Definitely no coincidence, I could not imagine anything else. Classics from the Eighties era were born to be red, the Audi Quattro, Lancia Delta Integrale, BMW E30 M3 — I could go on. Other colours do look good, but for me, red makes them look great.
Back to the 996 Turbo — how did you come across this one?
Buying cars is purely emotional, and when I arrived in Dubai I wanted something special. Within days of trawling the net, the 996 caught my eye. It only had two owners, exceptionally low milage, great provenance… and it was red! Decision made. It has served me extremely well, never missed a heartbeat — and often caused me to skip one or two.
How does it compare to your previous ’78 911SC Targa and ’89 911 Cabriolet?
The 911SC was great, but dated. The ’89 Cabriolet was fabulous — on the odd days the sun shone in London, the whine of the flat-six boxer engine was unmistakable. It truly was a fun car for the summer months, but the 996 is completely different, the power is incomparable, the car is meant to be driven.
When the big turbo kicks in, you know you’re in for a treat, and driving a stick shift gearbox is fun — not for Jebel Jais perhaps, but for all other roads in the UAE it’s a pleasure. The noise, the feel, the speed… what isn’t there to love? The smile on my face every time the turbo kicks in at 5,000rpm and the 911 tail goes happy must be priceless!
It is my daily driver; that said it doesn’t get to stretch its legs that often. The 996 is no fun on the freeway, but there are many amazing roads in the UAE that are ideal for the 996 — and which also test the limits of my driving skills too.
Finally, what is your dream car?
My dream car is always my next car; if I have one more purchase in me I think it would be something red, something Italian — a 458? Or maybe a 488 if I am really lucky.