Welcome To Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Going into uncharted territory can either be utterly nerve-racking, or undoubtedly exciting.

Being that I had never left the North American continent before, the latter is predominantly how I felt when I packed my bags and made way over the Atlantic Ocean, to a neighboring country not too far from my own origin. That’s not to say I wasn’t a bit nervous though, too.

Before lifting off out of the Bay Area, the flight attendants assured me that the flight would go by in a breeze, but that ended up not being the case.

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After flying at 35,000 feet for what seemed like forever, and making a few connection flights along the way, I finally touched down in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a city that serves as the capital of the country, and known most notably as the financial hub or epicenter of Saudi Arabia.

Here, you’ll find citizens living out lavish lifestyles in a booming economy, with a plethora of upscale malls, national museums, and stunning architecture spread out amongst the desert plateau.

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But my purpose during this trip wasn’t to indulge in what the city has to offer – though we did manage to sneak away a few times for some fun in the desert. This trip was dedicated to one thing: car culture in the Middle East, a matter I find painstakingly underrated.

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Sure, we’ve all had our fair share of witnessing dangerous stunts pulled off on Saudi roads with RB-swapped Patrols and 2JZ-swapped Land Cruisers stomping out supercars in drag races, and even changing out tires on their trucks while on two wheels, cruising down the highways while smoking shisha out of a hookah. But those viral videos just go to show how wild and carefree the culture and people really are, while simultaneously displaying the amount of craftsmanship and work they’re willing to put in, in something as nonchalant as a ’90s Nissan Patrol.

But the real culture lay far deeper than that. It’s alive and prevailing here, more than I could have ever imagined. And if I’m honest, it’s quite comparable or even surpassing the quality of what I’ve seen come out of Japan or the States.

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Over the course of the next few stories we’ll be taking a deep dive into the Global Auto Salon Riyadh – the Middle Eastern version of Monterey Car Week, to really understand, grasp, and appreciate a small token in what Saudi Arabian car culture has to offer.

I bring these stories to you all with the upmost excitement, truly, because I feel it’s been long overdue. I have many friends scattered around the Middle Eastern countries, and some of the cars I’ve seen will truly blow your minds in terms of quality and creativity, so I’m really looking forward to shedding some light on them. Stay tuned for what’s coming next…

Naveed Yousufzai
Instagram: eatwithnaveed

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1
Mustapha D'eeflok

Long overdue feature. A truly mental car culture across the whole of the Middle East with incredible debuts almost daily. The disproportionate - and sometimes downright ridiculous - budget thrown at most of the projects out here helps gaurantee that incredible quality of course. Also, there are so many excellent shops that are all about craftsmanship rather than insta-fashion.

2

Saudi Arabia, the land of Land Cruisers and Patrol
Mashallah

3
thathellastockusdm3rdgenyaris@instagram

The middle east has a really cool car culture, have you seen the videos of where their doing two wheel pulls on corollas and tall suv's, un-f*ckin-real! With the vast wealth that flows through all the Saudi countries you tend to see really cool things over there, I especially like that Nissan patrol with the GTR engine, what a build.

Driving along the sand dunes looks really cool too. must be like sledding only in cars. It's on my bucket list of things to do when I start traveling to do IATSH work. Glad you guys had fun! :)

Keep up the great articles.

-Tofu.

4

oh yeah i love apples

5

The land of flying Nissan Patrols and drifting camrys :D

6

I am currently working in Southern Saudi Arabia. I don't see much in car culture in these parts. I would love to check out the show. But I am glad it is here.

7

definitely got a kick out of that green lowrider the first time i saw it. no pinup girls, just you and the lads immortalized in the paintwork

8

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9

go home. we don't need that negativity here.

10

everyone is entitled to their own opinion and their views. Would you expect everyone here to say everything positive and words of your own liking? Let's be realistic, and be mature about it.

11

2019: where no one can have an opinion unless you agree with everyone elses opinion. Amazing how much we censor people these days! Especially in press!

12

I’m pretty sure Speedhunters is all about “Global Car Culture”, which means that it shouldn’t exclude a country just because of how bad it is politically and morally. Wouldn’t that be racism in itself?
Car culture is meant to bring people from all over the world together. We can’t do that if we exclude an entire country!

13

Boycotting a country for political or moral reasons is certainly not racism. That was one of the ways apartheid in South Africa was brought down. One could say Saudi Arabia has apartheid, but based on sex (and sexuality). Is boycott the right way is another matter and something we all need to decide by ourselves.

14

On a lighter topic... so it really seems now only 1 article a day is the new Speedhunter feed rythm. I was hoping for maybe someday to see a new book or publication made, but it feels like this will never happens as even the online content gets cut.

15

(also it's been asked a few times before, but will the store be back anytime soon? Feels like you guys are more and more giving up on things here :( )

16

Still no replies from any admins/contributors about the articles or store, and I see some of the last few days comments have been deleted. Not a good point for Speedhunter's image. This website is more and more disapointing.

17

Like Dave, I can only speak for myself but it's a shit time of year to gather stories in this part of the world. It's winter and most cars are either being re-built or locked away until the Spring. I've a couple of cars lined up, but I wish there were more.

With regards the store, it's an external company who's working on the re-launch. The stuff I have seen has been awesome, but there have been delays as the focus was put on the launch of NFS Heat for the last six months.

18

I can't speak for all of the contributors but it's winter for some of us which makes appealing content a bit more challenging to deliver at a quick pace.

Instead of looking glass half empty consider there is still varied new content everyday.

I'm sure somone else will chime in regarding the store when the time is right

19

A nice read, dude. I've always wanted to hit some dunes like that haha, and always thought that car culture in that corner of the planet was bonkers, too. Love that lowrider and the perfect application of the style; the last shot is sweet, too... Looking forward to more of this.

20

Kind of curious where you would draw the line—North Korea? Would you cover car culture in Nazi Germany or apartheid South Africa?

21

You're right and thanks for the measures response, need that reminder that on a grassroots level people are most all the same in wanting the best for each other regardless of what country governs them. Corruption and hatred is everywhere and we come here because amazing cars and minds and not geopolitical mindf*k nonsense. I was having a bad morning. Peace

22

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