Welcome to My Wheels, Anant. How did your passion for motoring begin?
Motoring is in my blood; my family comes from an automotive and engineering background and I personally have been working on cars and learning about them from the age of five.
I couldn’t wait to be old enough to drive and once I got my licence I got a Maruti Omni van back in India, which was one of the most dangerous things on the road! When I moved to the UAE 11 years ago my first car was a Honda CRV. I travelled the whole of the UAE and Oman in that.
Since then you have had a bunch of other cars. Do any stand out?
Yes I’ve had a few; my Toyota Land Cruiser Prado was great, but then I wanted something smaller so I picked up a Honda Jazz. After this, I fancied something more luxe and so I got a Lexus ES 350, and then needed something that could accommodate my family so I bought a Honda Odyssey.
But all these cars lacked a spirited drive so to fix that I decided to get something sportier and the Toyota 86 ticked the box perfectly.
Is that the best car you have driven?
It was really fun to drive and indeed the best car I have ever had (once, a police officer pulled me over just so that he could get a closer look at it!), but a close friend of mine has a McLaren MP4-12C and he took me for a drive in that, and it was the best supercar I have been in — even though I am a diehard Ferrari fan.
So your dream is to get a Prancing Horse…
No, but a horse of a slightly different kind; my ultimate dream car is the 1968 Ford Mustang. I would love to get myself a beater and then rebuild it back to factory spec.
Great choice and if you ever do get one and start working on it, we’d love to chart your progress. Tell us about your WRX STI; how did you find it?
I have had the Subaru for the past six months, which I bought online after selling the 86. I wanted another car that was both sporty and practical enough to accommodate the family, but I wanted another Boxer engine, so I decided to move on to the WRX STI.
These older cars are usually quite abused — what was yours like?
Fortunately it was in good condition. It used to belong to a member of the UAE Subaru Owners club (of which I am also an affiliate) and he had maintained it well. I almost picked up a Ford Focus ST instead but that idea was shot down by my family pretty quickly, and I am glad about that because the Subaru is so much fun.
Pity it isn’t a six-speed manual — but what do you like best about it?
The power of the turbocharged 2.5-litre flat-four and the all-wheel drive grip. It’s just brilliant. It is a superb daily driver, and has terrific power and incredible handling, and really gives you great control and confidence in the corners. It was wonderful fun to take this car to the track recently and I hope to do that more during the winter season. It was putting out 305 horses when it was new, but it must have lost a little bit of power since then. However, it is still very potent and still puts a smile on my face.
Once I am done driving it, I love to park it and appreciate the aesthetics; the exterior is really eye-catching with elements such as the bonnet scoop and the STI decals. I have to admit I’m really proud of this car even if it rattles and shakes when I go over the smallest of bumps. But mechanically, the car is A1 and never gives me problems. Compared to other cars in its class I think it’s the best looking and best value for money. It’s been as good as gold in the time I’ve had it.