By Shahzad Sheikh
A committee representing car clubs could form a valuable pressure group, giving motorists in the region a voice.
The swanky Montgomerie Golf Club seemed a rather odd choice of venue for the recent inauguration of the Dubai Corvette Club. The service was impeccable, the food sublime, and the presentation absolutely irreproachable. Trouble is, it was all a little too classy.
I've long been a fan of the fast Chevy dubbed 'America's best sportscar', but it's always been more a street-fighter than an expert fencer; a bomber jacket instead of a tux; the ultimate blue-collar supercar in fact. I guess I expected, perhaps even wanted, the event to be held at a greasy cafe where they served camel shawarma and barbequed everything else.
But then this was a semi-corporate affair with the local dealer (Al Yousuf Motors - boasting the highest sales of Corvettes in the Middle East) chipping in and generating the initiative for the new club. Even GM's Middle East top brass were there to give DCC their blessing and encouragement. So I guess the posh dinnerware was appropriate.
Don't be put off though: the manufacturer presence is by no means a bad thing. Usually clubs are formed independently by a bunch of enthusiasts who then approach manufacturers for assistance that is not always forthcoming.
Thankfully things are different in our region where, for example, the Porsche Club UAE enjoys the full support of Porsche's regional office as well as the dealer. All of which has undoubtedly helped to make it the most active and high-profile of all the car clubs.
It's a surprise that there aren't more clubs here, considering how easy they are to set up and how supportive manufacturers and dealers are willing to be. Where, for example, are the clubs for BMW, MINI, VW, Land Cruiser etc? A Honda club has been announced and apparently there are also clubs for Ferrari and Mustang owners.
Cliquey they may be, and healthy rivalry between clubs adds to the fun, but they benefit both motorist and manufacturer. The former in terms of providing a commonality of ownership experience and expertise to draw upon, enough clout to negotiate discounts for parts and services and of course opportunities to enjoy the vehicles. For the latter it brings brand loyalty and passion, opportunities to further promote their products and a ready audience for their wares.
Plus, since we don't have much in the way of consumer or motoring associations here to represent us when it comes to legislation and future road and traffic plans, a committee representing these clubs could form a kind of pressure group to give motorists a voice.
Maybe I'll raise this idea with Steve Roberts, the chairman of the new Dubai Corvette Club over a camel shawarma at the first 'Vette meet!For all the latest sports news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Agree, but then this IS Dubai, not Dubuque. MIA that night were all the Beach Boy's car songs especially "Shut Down". Next time we'll crank those up and serve Barbequed Everything.