A Wealthy Arab Vacay

After living in the UAE for a few years super cars become no big deal. Seriously, in order to turn my head you will need a pyramid of tigers jumping through flaming hoops on top of a Lamborghini….while eating a grilled cheese sandwich….and then I might turn my head. Living in the land of excess and awe has its pros and cons. In the UAE, there is never a dull moment but we quickly become conditioned to the extravagance around us and our expectations become higher and higher with every year that we live in the country. Occasionally, you will see someone either a kid, tourist or a new expat photographing super cars as they sit outside a hotel valet but to most expats it’s common sight — it just kind of goes with the territory. 

As the mother of a young carparazzi (love this new term), I thought I’d share this article from The National on the post-Ramadan super car season when wealthy Arabs ship their cars to London delighting many who travel to the upmarket areas just for a picture and a glimpse of the wealthy Arab super cars. Here’s a glimpse of our life.

London’s Supercar Season Brings Out the ‘Carparazzi’ and Complaints

The National by Ben Flanagan

LONDON // Camera-toting supercar fans are flocking to London to catch a glimpse of their dream high-octane vehicle – many with GCC licence plates.

Crowds of car enthusiasts, calling themselves the “carparazzi”, can be seen photographing vehicles such as a Pagani Huayra, worth at least US$1.5 million (Dh5.7m), and a Porsche 918 Spyder, with UAE, Qatar or Saudi Arabian plates.

A convoy of high-end cars has arrived for the British capital’s post-Ramadan supercar season, with the roar of Ferraris and Lamborghinis echoing through the streets of upmarket areas such as Knightsbridge.

Gurpreet Mann, 21, from south-east London, was seen photographing a Pagani Huayra parked outside the Park Tower Knightsbridge hotel. Mr Mann, who helps to run an Instagram page dedicated to supercars, said the vehicles were a big attraction.

“Even people who aren’t interested in cars go, ‘oh wow’,” he said.

Fellow car-spotter Laurens Den Butter, 42, had flown to London for the day as a birthday treat for his 15-year-old son, specifically to spot supercars.

Mr Den Butter, visiting from the Netherlands, said the loud noise the cars make, a major gripe with residents, was not an issue for him. “The louder the better.”

Another issue for people living in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea – home to the swanky Knightsbridge district and the Harrods department store – is illegal parking by the car owners, who often seem to ignore fines.

Mr Mann said he had seen high-end cars with GCC plates with parking tickets stuck on them but did not “think it’s such a big issue”. “But I’m sort of biased, because I’m a fan,” he said.

Many supercar owners do, of course, respect the law. The 30-year-old driver of a bright yellow Ferrari with Saudi number plates, said he always parked legally and stuck to the speed limit, except when he takes his car to the race track. “It’s each to their own if someone wants to follow the law,” the driver said.

As a Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG with Qatari plates pulled up near to where Mr Den Butter and his son were taking pictures, drawing further crowds of car aficionados, only one person seemed to notice that the car was stopped on double yellow lines, where parking is prohibited.

“You might get a ticket if you park there,” the doorman of a nearby building warned the driver.

Some residents have renewed complaints to the local authority about the influx of supercars.

“Racing around Knightsbridge until 3am has again become a feature of daily life,” said a resident, who did not wish to be named. “The night-time racing and noise is a real problem.”

Phil Smith, 53, a taxi driver from Wimbledon in south-west London, said he had seen many Lamborghinis and Ferraris in the area this year.

“The noise is awful. I would feel embarrassed driving one of those – they are too ostentatious,” he said.

But Simon Rodgers, 37, who was admiring a Dubai-registered white-and-silver Rolls-Royce with his son Evan, 8, said the drivers of high-end cars often splashed their cash while in the city. “I dare say [the drivers] are putting a fair bit of money into the economy,” Mr Rodgers said. “That car costs £330,000.”


Full story can be read here. London’s supercar season brings out the ‘carparazzi’ and complaints | The National.

All images courtesy of Getty Images via The National.

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