Motoring in the Arabian Gulf


I have lived for the past two years in various oil-producing countries of the Arabian Gulf, and thought that you may be interested in some of my observations on the motoring scene here.

There are very few interesting cars anywhere, as most cars rust away in a few years because of the hot, humid and salty atmosphere. The few I have seen have included a large four-door Facel-Vega V8 in Bahrain (unfortunately it was too badly rusted to be a practicable proposition for me at the time), a Bentley S1 Continental in Dubai, a few Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz sportscars and, surprisingly, an immaculate standard Vanguard Phase I.

I have also spotted an Excalibur and a Lamborghini Countach. The latter was seen several times at a private beach-club in Saudi Arabia, to get to which it must have been driven over about eight miles of unmade track, which I was reluctant to take a Fiat over.

Most cars here are either American or Japanese. The richer Arabs tend to buy Cadillacs in preference to Rolls-Royces, or Pontiacs rather than BMWs, but Mercedes-Benz are the only popular European car. The Japanese have the greatest proportion of the popular market.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates A. J. WOOD