December Editorial: More Than Just Sand,</br> Supercars & Skyscrapers

And just like that, we’re heading into the holiday season. Depending on what part of the world you’re in, that either means it’s time to put on the thermal underwear and force yourself into the garage to make some progress on the project, or, in my case seeing as I’ve just arrived in the Southern Hemisphere, apply the final coat of polish before heading out to the events, meets and BBQs of the summer months.

I’ve just traveled from Sweden all the way back to my home country, New Zealand. It’s a hell of a journey, and requires two stopovers along the way. One of those just happens to be Dubai, and as I’ve never been, I decided to turn those few hours sitting in DXB airport waiting for the next plane – a truly bitter cherry on top of an already unpleasant long-haul trek – into five days spent wandering the desert looking for some local car culture.


Thanks to a bunch of very cool locals, I was able to not only find that car scene, but really get to know it. I’m embarrassed to say that much like my impression of Arabic culture in general, my perception of Dubai and its car culture was woefully misinformed, no-doubt shaped by the media I consume every day.


My own cultural deficiencies and a greater ignorance for the way of life here aside, the car scene in the Middle East is not, as the internet might have you believe, all about the mega-rich Emiratis and their big-dollar machines, nor is it full of front-wheel drive taxis spinning across three lanes the motorway, or even dudes driving down the road on two wheels. While the supercar scene is certainly a big part of what makes Dubai special, the McLarens, Bugattis, Ferraris and Lambos you see cruising the streets are only a small faction of a much bigger community.


In truth, the United Arab Emirates are full of interesting people doing interesting things with cars, just like anywhere else in the world.


I’m pretty sure you already knew about the vast expanses of desert, which the locals rightly treat as their very own playground.


But what about the pumping Nissan scene in Ras Al Khaimah?


Or the most incredible, face-melting and completely-deserted hill climb that runs up to the peak of Jabal Al Jais? I guess it just goes to show that there’s more to a place than its associated stereotypes. Coming from the land of sheep and Hobbits, I should have known that better…


We’ll be running these stories and more from my time in the UAE in the near future, but for the next few weeks, we’re looking hard at this year’s statistics and will be announcing our top stories for 2014, along with some amazing feature cars, events and a look back at some of our best moments from the last 12 months. Happy holidays!

Peter Kelly
Instagram: speedhunters_pedey



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Can't wait to see that VW pick up


man I love that vw caddy


The vw caddy was a previous post


@michaelg497 That is correct, good spot. As are the rest of them in that final image. It is in reference to the round-up of the year which we'll be kicking off soon.


That v8 caddy is cool but it will never compete with the 1jz caddy , that will always be the best car ever to be featured on speedhunters !


Id that a LHD r34?


on3lv3 Good spotting! Yes it is, it was converted in the UAE using the heavily modified original dash.


Peter_Kelly WOW that's original. thanks for the reply


Sweeet, always nice when we get to explore cultures from different parts of the world!


in mid-east, everything seems possible


Hanging out to see the VW pickup, damn.


Please fix the bonus video =[


DanAarkens I believe they already released the feature on that. The article is called "The VW Caddy from Hell".....and rightfully so with a 5.4 liter Triton


And how many women are competing in this event?


on3lv3 Came here to ask that. It would appear so, though:


One of the things I like is the uphill sand drag race! haha


It seems my comment was deleted. Regarding the stereotypes about the middle east I asked how many women are there in the car scene? The author says there is more to this place than the stereotypes and one of them is women really having no say in anything. 

Are there any girls there who can drive? Would Taryn be allowed to drive if she visited?


That CarbonSignal 370Z though....I Wish the overfender kit didnt cost an arm and a leg (Plus my first born lol) just to have it bought and shipped to the states. Definitely drool worthy stuff over there.


@Chris In regards to women in general society, the UAE is ranked as one of the world`s top country for respecting women! There aren't as many women involved in the automotive scene, but I actually asked quite a few people about this and they were all very open to the idea of encouraging more women to get involved in modified car culture and motorsports. I think I overheard someone talking about a female drifter who is becoming quite well known there now - so yeah, the opportunities are there and the environment is right if women decide they wish to take an interest in cars, for sure! I drove a few cars while I was there too, great fun. More on that soon :)


@MyLifeAsLouis Yes - I want to go to the uphill sand drags next time! Looks amazing but apparently it's extremely difficult to shoot haha


Taryn Croucher That's pretty cool, I look forward to reading the articles. I think they still have a long way to come in terms of women's rights on the whole, but SH isn't really the place to get into detail about politics. 

The group of girls you are referring to (I think) are called the Speed Sisters. They are Palestinian from the articles I've been able to read. I'd like to see more women in motorsport in general and will be taking a girl I've been seeing to go karting at the end of the month. She races 500cc motorcycles. It's pretty funny to see how guys react when they say she can't ride and her first comment is, "I'd smoke you."