When you think of the middle east, some things that come to mind: over the top supercars and sand. While I was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for the Global Auto Salon, I had the opportunity to check out a “Cars and Coffee” meet in the parking lot of Tim Horton’s coffee shop.
Anxious to see what the people in the area drive, I went to check out the event and was surprised at what I found.
According to Nasser, the event’s organizer, the meet has occurred weekly since its inception in 2014. With the rumor that some American automotive journalists would be in attendance, the meet grew to include 300 vehicles.
It’s important to note that Saudi Arabia has strict regulations on imported cars that are over 30-years old. According to locals, you are allowed to have classics in collections but are not legally allowed to drive them on the streets.
But this didn’t seem to stop enthusiasts from bringing out their cars. I mostly expected to see exotics and supercars. Still, I was taken back at how many classic American cars I saw, how well kept they were, and that they seem to be driven often.
“We are prone to be sited, but we weasel out of it. I never get pulled over,” Nasser said. He shared that the enthusiast community is trying to work with the government to create new regulations for classic and modified cars.
Attending “Cars and Coffee” across the world demonstrates that no matter where you are, your race, nationality, political view, or religion, gearheads all speak the same language.
One such modified car that caught my eye was a lifted Ford S197 Mustang that I’ve dubbed the “Safari Stang.” It’s the best of both worlds: all the enjoyment of a Mustang with the bonus of off-road capabilities.
The owner told me that he wanted something different that would also allow him to take it off the streets and into the sand for some real fun. The most exciting part is that it uses a classic Chevelle chassis to give it the height for trekking out in the desert.
Another standout vehicle was this “homemade supercar.” To create something unique, but within his budget, the owner took things into his own hands and set out to build his dream car.
Everything from the chassis to the body was custom made, except for the wheels, seats, and LS engine. The design reminds me of something one of the large manufacturers might have dreamt up in the ’80s. But its better, because this car is a representation of someone’s hard work and passion.
The last thing I would have ever expected to see in Saudi Arabia was a lowrider. Still, this ’58 Chevy proved to be one of the most amazing vehicles at the show.
With an intricate paint job, hand-etched chrome pieces, and hydraulic suspension, this car stood out. What made it particularly unique to Saudi Arabia were the murals of the royal family.