When Emirati Jassim Mubarak traveled around the world as part of his job, he always sought out classic cars and admired them from far. He had one dream – to retire and buy several classic cars. Today, he is living that dream and is popularly called Jassim Classic.
“I have about 27 classic cars,” he said. “Some of them are at my house and some are at a garage that I built for myself in Sajaa. I drive these cars every day. There is something so pure and unadulterated about driving a classic car and enjoying the thrill of it.”
Jassim was one of the several classic car owners who displayed their collection at the inaugural edition of the Sharjah Classic Cars Festival that kicked off on Friday. Exhibiting over 300 vehicles, the event held at the Sharjah Classic Cars Museum will run till Sunday, February 4. The museum showcases a collection of the world’s rarest cars, some dating back to 1915, with a special exhibition highlighting the oldest metal plates for cars and vintage fuel pumps, presented for the first time.
While some of his cars have been modified to suit the modern roads, Jassim has strived hard to maintain the originality of most of his cars. “It is hard to find parts for most of these classic cars,” he said. “Even when you find it, it will be in some remote places in the US sometimes and takes months to be shipped here. But that is part of the allure of being a classic car owner. The time and patience you have to pour into perfecting each car. It is like your own baby.”
Nasser Alarif agrees. He spends hundreds of thousands of dirhams on classic cars every year. “The biggest challenge of being a classic car owner is that you have to spend a lot of time and money rebuilding the car,” he said. “Sometimes you will need a specific car part for which you will have to keep digging all over the world. It could take months to reach here. So you end up spending a lot of money and time working on just one car. It is a hobby that requires money and patience in ample measures.”
The youngster’s oldest memory is being smitten by vintage and classic vibes. Today he has amassed around 15 cars and posts about them regularly on his Instagram channel 39 classics – an ode to the Villa 39 he lives in. “Once you buy a classic car, it is a commitment for life,” he said. “Also, you can never stop at one. You still have many dream cars to buy and you want more.”
Nasser was at the venue displaying four of his cars including a 1929 Ford and the 1974 Volkswagen Kombi mini bus. One of VW’s most iconic models, the Kombi was first produced in 1949 and became a firm favorite among adventurers and families. “I wanted to get this for my collection,” he said. “There were a lot of options in Germany but I found this one in Brazil and got it shipped here.”
For Lebanese expat Charbel as well it was a lifelong dream to own a classic car – something that he realised last year when he bought a 1937 Jaguar. “It is a custom built and one of its kind,” he said. “When I registered it here in the UAE, I added this car in the RTA system because it was the first one here. I got it shipped it here from the UK.”
New in this hobby, Charbel said that he spent between Dh200,000 and Dh250,000 on the car. “The cost depends on the model of the car and it condition,” he said. “It is in general an expensive hobby, considering how much spare parts cost.”
For him, the best part of owning the car has been the adulation. “I take the car out for a ride at JBR and the Marina during the weekend,” he said. “People come to take selfies with me and the car. It is the best feeling ever. I am now already planning my next purchase.”
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