Welcome to My Wheels, Dilhan. You’ve been a car lover for years. What started this passion?
As far back as I can remember I used to love cars and bikes. The first cars I owned were dinky toys! I remember putting two blobs of clay on the back of the cars and sticking a spoiler on them.
My dad was passionate about cars and we always used to talk about them from the time I was maybe six years old, and I guess that was the beginning. I still remember the day I was late for school and was dropped off in my dad’s friend’s red Triumph Spitfire convertible. My dad’s Herald didn’t start that day, which was great as I got to have my first ride in a drop-top!
I also loved the red Alfa Romeo 164 my uncle owned and I still remember as a 15-year-old staring at the ‘five-oh’ badge of a bright red Mustang in a magazine.
And you wanted one of those ever since then…
Yes, but after starting a family and having kids, it put many years between me and owning a Mustang.
I was driving SUVs for ages but after years of waiting, I decided it was finally time I should buy an exciting sportscar. I was thinking of getting a Porsche 911 but the Ford was still in the back of my mind so I decided I should drive one at least for a short time before the Porsche and fulfil what I had been dreaming of for over 25 years! I could not have been happier the day I got behind the wheel of my very own Silver 2013 Mustang GT premium with a red interior, which I named Silver Spitfire. The timing could not have been better as the Mustang was celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014 and Ford Middle East had organised a big birthday celebration where more than 300 Mustang owners were invited. I felt very fortunate to be part of the event and drive my car in the massive parade stretching along Shaikh Zayed Road as far back as you could see. Thanks to that car I formed many friendships over thousands of kilometres with like-minded car lovers. I am still a member of the 7Stangs, Emirates Mustang Club and now, the Corvette UAE Club.
And what a beautiful C7 you have. What made you change allegiance from Ford to GM?
After driving my Mustang for 50,000 exciting kilometres, I decided it was time for me to go back to my original plan of buying the Porsche. However, by this time the new Stingray was making waves around the world and had my attention — and I wanted to stay with a V8. I always loved the looks of Corvettes but I also wanted a car that handled well. From all the reviews, the new Stingray was described as a well-balanced sportscar, which handled like a 911 and with performance almost in the supercar territory. So after taking a few test drives I became the proud owner of this 2015 shark grey Stingray.
Happy with the switch?
Oh yes, it puts a huge grin on my face every time that 6.2-litre V8 explodes into life. It feels great whenever I put my foot down and hear that exhaust and let loose the 460 horses. It is fantastic to drive and very engaging. You can sometimes go really fast without actually trying so you have to keep an eye on the speedo so not to get in any trouble! I have installed a Vitesse Motorsports throttle controller, which is a plug-in device that addresses the initial throttle lag that is known in C6 and C7 Corvettes, which makes mine even better to drive.
I usually take it out during the weekends for road trips across the emirates and enjoy driving up the Jebel Jais and Jebel Hafeet mountain roads.
How impressed have you been with the way it handles?
Very. Corners are a joy to experience and the precision you can steer with is fantastic. If you gauge the speed correctly you can almost steer it on the throttle.
It also has active fuel management and the car runs on four cylinders, and I usually get close to 600km on a full tank, which is remarkable considering the size of the engine.
This car has a dual personality; it’s a great Grand Tourer when the active suspension is set to Touring and you can effortlessly drive long distances with saloon-like comfort with the exhaust also muted, but when you change to Sport or Track mode it adopts a very different personality. Everything tightens up, the steering, the suspension, the throttle response and the roar from the naturally aspirated V8 is intoxicating.
It also has a Targa roof and I still can’t figure out how Chevrolet can offer this level of options, performance and refinement at this price point.
I feel fortunate and lucky to own this car, and my children and friends love it. I’ve heard people calling it a Maserati, Ferrari and a Lamborghini! It’s always nice to see the positive feelings a nice car brings to people as it does to me.
We wish you years of happy motoring. You have a thing for the older Corvettes, too, right?
I do indeed. The 1963 Corvette Stingray split window is one of my dream cars along with the Koenigsegg Regera, Lamborghini Aventador, Pagani Huayra, and a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500.
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