A Briton in Bahrain

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Sir,

How sad it is to have to relate to you that having arrived recently in Bahrain to take up my new job I was informed by my colleagues that British cars are almost totally unavailable here. The reasons for this are simple: Japanese and American cars rule the roost. This I have subsequently discovered is because they are readily available, reliable in the harsh climatic conditions and for the most part cheaper than their British counterparts. As in the past I have always been sufficiently patriotic (some say foolish) to buy British, it was with traitorous guilt feelings that I eventually presented myself at the “Alqaisi Trading Establishment” (sic) with a view to purchasing a Honda Accord. Though a little disconcerted by the fact that I had to buy blind no one is allowed to test drive anything out here) I eventually ordered a metallic blue, fivespeed manual model with air conditioning. The car was delivered within 12 hours! I would add almost as an aside that I am very pleased with the car, though it is annoyingly “lumpy” at high revs. I was equally pleased with the price of £2,850 on the road, considerably less than say, a Chevette Saloon or similar model in Bahrain. I am in danger of becoming a “petroholic” at 13 pence per gallon (your comments on a postcard please, Mr. Healey). The insurance was however rather painful to the wallet at £241 fully comprehensive, though this was partly because of my tender years!

I have decided that in my next life I am going to become a car salesman in Bahrain; largely as a result of the very rapidly expanding business community here, 800 new cars are being registered every month, which is not bad at all for an island with a population of only 250,000. I must say that some of these new vehicles are more familiar than others to a Britisher, as one does not regularly see Hyundais, Daihatsus, Subarus or Suzukis (yes, cars!) at the local golfclub. As far as the exotica are concerned there is a large number of’ Shadows, Mercedes, Cadillacs etc., to be seen amongst the wealthier Arabs, and I have even spotted a Porsche Turbo, and a Urraco (the latter very briefly as my own mount runs out of steam at 150 k.p.h.).

May I end by saying that one of the few things that I have refused to sacrifice since leaving “the smoke” is my monthly copy of your excellent magazine. It gets better with age, and I am eagerly awaiting my next issue (even at £1.50 per copy as it is out here, it is cheap at the price).

Manama, Bahrain. NIGEL J. WRIGHT

P.S. I am ashamed to have to inform you, particularly as a Tyrrell fanatic, that my parents recently spent the entire GP weekend in Monaco, but did not watch the race. I will never be able to show my face again at a BRSCC film show!

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