Welcome to My Wheels Laila. That’s a very tough looking Durango you’ve got there! Tell us about your Dodge — how did you come across it?

Thanks for featuring me in the magazine! I always fancied big cars for the power and space that they offer. I used to have another Durango before my current one and having enjoyed that SUV so much I did not hesitate to get this, which has been with me now for two years. It may be an older model but it sure is reliable. My previous Dodge, which was in stock form, was so good but sadly it drowned in a lake… 

 

Oh dear, how did that happen?

It happened during an event when my friends and I were driving along the bank of the lake in Wadi Shouka and suddenly there was a mud slide! There was no traction at all and the Dodge was submerged before we could do anything about it.

We managed to get out safe and sound but we had to winch my car out of the lake. It was badly damaged.

 

You must have been in a right state...

I was inconsolable — and that is the reason why I went on the hunt for another Durango.

Fortunately I found this one but then decided to upgrade it and make it far better for off-roading.

I had the luxury of using my old car for parts which was handy as I had front fenders shaved to allow more wheel travel. This was a risky job and could have gone badly wrong but fortunately, it worked out alright!

 

That’s just one of the mods that you’ve had done to it. Tell us about all of the work that has gone into this second-generation Dodge...

Where do I start, there is just so much! It’s probably easier to tell you what I haven’t done to it! It has a Magnum 5.7-litre V8 that makes 330bhp and I haven’t made any modifications to it that are not permitted by the law.

What I have done is spruce up the exterior with a new matte black paint job with red trim and added a set of XD Offset rims wrapped with Cooper AT3 tyres.

I’ve also added an aluminium skid plate, two extra heavy duty radiator fans to help keep it cool when I’m thrashing it around on the sand, a 3.0in Torsion Lift and Rancho Heavy duty shocks and springs in the rear which makes tackling the dunes a lot easier and it has a Borla exhaust which allows the V8 to breathe much better.

It also has a mounted air compressor, Best Line front and rear tube bumpers (with inserts and fog/rear LED lights), and Best Line side steps with inserts. Every modification I have made serves a purpose, or tries to!

Cars are not just a means of transport, it’s a culture, a bond, a statement that one makes. Working on cars yourself strengthens that bond we have with our rides and we enjoy them all the more.

 

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You’re right about that. Do you plan to do any more work on it?

Yes, I’d like a winch — in fact, the front bumper is winch ready so it would be an easy installation process.

I would like to get a heavy duty rear axle and stiffen the front shocks a little more than they already are. This would make it a real trooper whenever I venture off-road!

 

Those would be excellent mods but as it stands, it a real head turner…

As they say, if you don’t look back at your car while walking away, you got the wrong car! I’ve had this built to my specifications and to suit my needs but many people come up to me and tell me how much they like the look of my Durango too.

I have noticed that they expect a man to step out of it and seem a wee bit shocked when they see a girl clamber out instead!

 

How often do you take it off-roading?

I would be out at least once a week but then if the desert calls during the week days, I willingly oblige!

I love taking it to Liwa, Hameem, Sweihan, Area 53, Nazwa, Margham and Fossil Rock. In fact, I have taken this monster everywhere, from the southern borders to the northern mountains in the UAE and it hasn’t put a foot wrong. It’s brilliant on treacherous surfaces and very comfortable on the road, it even gets me back about 600km on a full tank so it’s very fuel efficient too.

 

We wish you years of happy — and hopefully damp-free — motoring with it! Finally, what is your dream car?

That’s a tricky one, I’m not fond of sportscars — it is SUV’s and trucks that appeal to me so I would love a Jeep Wrangler, a Jeep Wrangler and a Jeep Wrangler. Hold it, did I mention Jeep Wrangler? Yes, I’d like a Jeep Wrangler because it has almost no limits to the modifications that can be made and as they say it can go anywhere and do anything!

 

Got a hot ride? Email us at mywheels@gulfnews.com with a photo and description and you could be our next my wheels star!