Welcome to wheels Samir! We love your classic Ford — the last time we saw a similar one was a good few years ago (issue 432 of the magazine) it was a red 1927 model which belonged to Gaurav Dhar. Tell us about yours, how did you come across it?
Thanks for featuring me in the magazine — I am a huge fan! Gaurav is actually a friend of mine and about six years ago he took me for a ride in his open top Ford — which as you know he named The Red Baron — and I absolutely loved the experience. Going down Shaikh Zayed Road in something with such old bones was surreal but at this point in life I wasn’t really bitten by the car bug however that car sparked something in me.
Later that year he helped me find this car after browsing a few hundred through various specialty magazines and looking online. He also helped organise the import process. From the point that we started looking till I had the car here was about six months.
He’s a great contact to have when it comes to classic cars. What others did you have in mind?
A series 1 Jaguar E-Type but I was persuaded otherwise. The nicely restored ones are too expensive and they require a lot of maintenance and careful driving so I decided to defer owning one until I was more experienced.
Your ’32 looks awesome — what is it like to drive?
It’s pretty interesting. It isn’t a lazy man’s drive. There is no single position in the car that gives you a commanding view of the road. I have to constantly shift around inside to try and see out the tiny windows.
The Ford Merlin 454 cubic inch V8 is pretty powerful and there isn’t any traction control, ABS or even power steering. In fact, as you go faster the steering gets more light which is the exact opposite of a modern sportscar. It does have disc brakes but I do have to keep my distance to cars ahead. In short, it has a very tactile feel but requires care to drive.
Did it look this good when you imported it or have you had some work done to it since?
When I imported it I had to have the seat moved a bit forward and up as I was too short to fit in. I also had to fit reversing lights, more suitable side view mirrors and a better stereo. The stereo ended up being a waste as I can never hear the music over the sound of the engine anyway. I don’t drive the car during the summer so I had to change the battery once as it ran down and never fully regained its ability to retain a charge. Other than that it was in really good condition so nothing else.
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It’s clearly a lot of fun but a tad difficult to live with too, right?
I like to joke that I bought a mechanic and the car came with it! It does give me a lot of grief; the battery has to be trickle charged, the indicator lever broke once, the water pump packed up and the car sometimes overheat.
It requires constant TLC but it never stops being fun and I love it. I drive it the most on weekends or occasionally in the evenings. It has AC but still it’s a winter car. I like cruising down Emirates Road or Al Maha forest road and always take it to all the local car meets.
What do you like best about it?
The sheer raw power that it possesses. With the exhaust rumbling away and the power of the V8 being felt via the steering and chassis, you can literally feel the speed in this car.
The suspension is on the firmer side and the car bounces a lot on bumpy roads. I’ve learned to go over speed breakers extremely slowly — anything more than 10kph and it will bottom out on top of the hump. Not good. And I refuse to drive it along the cobbled road in JBR. I would need to see a chiropractor afterwards!
Sounds like it’d shake your teeth out too! But don’t all of these foibles just make you love this car even more?
Yes, they do. Of course this isn’t a car you’d drive daily so you can accept some of its faults — it’s a Hot Rod after all. It does have its quirks and issues but it’s part of the car’s character. It is quite an unusual sight and attracts a lot of stares and photos from the public. A few times people have driven up alongside me on SZR and taken photos to the point where I couldn’t change lanes and missed my exit! There was one time I was pulling out of the Mall of the Emirates parking lot and two women stopped their car — and traffic behind them — to take photos. I later learned that they got into an altercation with an irate driver behind them who didn’t appreciate having to wait so long!
Oh dear. Well, I hope they were happy with their pics! The Ford isn’t the only unusual car in your collection is it…
No, I also own a 2016 BAC Mono which I have had for a year but it’s not road legal here as yet. I have driven it at the Autodrome and Yas Marina and it is ever so fun and very different to anything else I have driven. It has a central seating position and a Formula 3 style gearbox. Not a car for the faint hearted. I also have a Radical RXC Spyder which is purely a track car. I think I’ve done 20 track days in it in the past year. It’s like a GT3 racer, except without the power restriction.
My 2011 SLS Roadster is my weekend driver. I have had a lot of upgrades installed to it such as an Akrapovic exhaust, ECU tune, super light forged alloy wheels and AMG carbon ceramic brakes. I have driven it on the Autodrome a few times as well as Jabal Jais and Jabal Hafeet. It’s a German muscle car and I love my Audi A8 too but the best car I have ever driven is a Radical SR3. It feels more like a fighter jet than a car, it is pure adrenaline.
Those are mental! Finally, what is your dream car?
The Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus 003SC. It’s insanely expensive so I don’t think that I will ever have one but would love to have a ride in one, especially around the Nordschleife.
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