Vintage vehicles and retro racers took pole position at the recent OAA Car Show. Alvin Thomas reports.
Eminem is blaring from the speakers in the background and there are hundreds of tuners showing off their souped-up rides to a flurry of youngsters turning up from the far corners of the city.
For many of us who like to enjoy a little bass in our music and let our presence be felt with a loud exhaust, this is the ideal weekend hangout spot. There’s everything from extensively modified Nissan 370Zs and GT-Rs to Mazda RX-7s, Toyota Supras and 86s.
Some may say that this is a ricer (a person who makes unnecessary modifications to their cars) event, but for others this is heaven on earth.
There’s something oddly soothing about turbochargers spooling up and revving the engine to the very redline. And the Car Show, which was recently hosted by the Oman Automobile Association (OAA), is ticking all the right boxes for becoming the ultimate Japanese ricer event of the year.
Even the American muscle cars – Dodge Chargers and Challengers, the Chevrolet Corvettes and Camaros – are pushed to the far corners of the OAA track. Somewhere in the arena, there are also some modified Volkswagen Golf GTis and Mercedes AMGs, but they’re far from being the stars of the show.
It’s very clear who owns the show today. But to their surprise, their reign doesn’t last very long.
Fast forward to 5pm: Elias Haroon al Zadjali and his friend Abdul Sattar al Maimani, from the Oman Classic Car club, enter the show in what can only be described as the most precious cars in the whole world.
Driving into the arena in a Ford Model T – a classic car that first went on sale in the early 20th century – Elias al Zadjali wins over the entire audience. Everyone, from the young to the old and even owners who are showcasing their cars, come forward to get a glimpse of one of the rarest working models of the car.
But, Elias’s collections of cars do not end there. Next to arrive is a shiny blue 1927 Bugatti Type 35B. With its 2.3-litre 138hp engine, the Bugatti may not be up to date with today’s sports cars but when it took the pole position in the French Grand Prix at Le Mans in 1929, there wasn’t any other car to rival it.
The next to arrive from his collection is his pristine, classic 1934 Cadillac 355-D. He is accompanied by his friends who also turn up in classic cars ranging from a 1985 Mini to a rare 1968 Opel GT and even a 1970s Dodge Charger R/T, from the classic movie Bullitt, the American drama–thriller film.
The spectators are in a selfie spree, and Elias even allows a few lucky ones to sit behind the wheel of his prized possessions.
Hamad, the owner of one of the tuned Japanese cars says: “I know my Nissan won’t take the pole position today but I think my soul would be happy if Elias’s cars take home the trophy. He’s taken immense care of them, and he deserves it.
“By bringing his cars here, he has shown a generation of youngsters cars that existed almost a century ago. He’s doing us a favour by bringing these cars here.”
The Ford Model T, the Bugatti Type 35B and the Cadillac 355-D take the first, second and third positions respectively, sending the crowd into a whirlwind of cheers.
And then these magnificent marques of yesteryear are gone. But not forgotten.