TTAC Has A Correspondent In Abu Dhabi, And He's Mental

W Christian Mental Ward
by W Christian Mental Ward
ttac has a correspondent in abu dhabi and he s mental
Abandon all hope: Mental Ward is now TTAC’s man in Abu Dhabi and surrounding sheikdoms For the next year, or until they kick him out, Mental will deliver a sandstorm of desert dispatches. Here is the first.

There are more than a few web sites dedicated to abandoned exotics in the Middle East.

They – cars and websites – are everywhere. What you don’t expect here is an abandoned hoopty. Last week I was getting my race bib for the Dubai marathon and I saw this beauty. When I returned on the day of the race, I got pictures. You have to hand it to the Sheikhs: Even their hoopties are classy – in a way.

No amount of internet research can tell me how many of these Gazelle kits cars were made, but the design is still available. Originally made by famed kit car maker Fiberfab, they were one of the many groups that entered into the business offering rebodies for Beetles, this one being a tribute to the 1929 Mercedes SSK.

This particular beauty has forgone or lost the exhaust manifolds under the front fender. The under dash speaker has fallen, as well as some of the insulation. The tires are still good, but by now flat spotted. The car is parked slightly out of the space and at an angle that would indicate it no longer operational. Normally, an air cooled VW can be fixed, but in the time I have been here, I haven’t seen a single one. Sand and air cooled, probably not a winning combination.

I cannot imagine this car belonging to a person of privilege. Would get caught in anything less than the real 1929 SSK, parked on a yacht in Saint Tropez. The UAE is nation of immigrants, however. They import everything here, including people. There are currently 3,212,000 immigrants here, and that translates to over 71% of their population that originated in another place.

I can picture a young hardworking man, who set off from Bangladesh. He arrived and found grueling work in construction, but developed skills and slowly moved up the ladder. Eventually he saved enough money between his rent, food and sending his check home to purchase his own transportation, and leave the cattle cars of the busses behind. Instead of a reverse engineered Honda motorcycle from China, his eyes settle on the lovely lines of a swoopy convertible promising old world luxury and German reliability.

He is cruising proudly in his convertible feeling similar to the $375K Rolls Cabriolet next to him. I can sense his hopelessness as the sand eats his retro-roadster – for desert, so to speak. The car sputters, stops on the secondary road. His limited mechanical knowledge is exhausted. He doesn’t have the resources to retrieve the car, so his pride and joy now sits abandoned like Fry’s dog, awaiting his return, as it slowly is filled with sand.

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4 of 16 comments
  • -Nate -Nate on Jan 29, 2013

    More , please . -Nate

  • Ranwhenparked Ranwhenparked on Jan 29, 2013

    I try to be pretty open minded when it comes to cars and the car hobby, but the Gazelle has just never sat well with me. It doesn't really look enough like an actual SSK to work as a replica, but it looks too much like an SSK to stand on it's own as an original design. I've heard they can be fun to drive though.

  • Wolfwagen I see my comment was deleted (BTW nice way to censor) so i will say it again:GTFO here with the pseudo "wealth distribution" BS. A crime is a crime is a crime.Its a slippery slope, what happens next, Jail a rich guy when he kills a pedestrian and let the poor guy who kills a pedestrian walk? What about if the poor guy is a crappy driver and has the record to prove it then what?Or we could go crazy and just institute the death penalty across the board for every driving infraction. That will make people better drivers or stop driving altogether which will make the greenies happy (damm it I just gave them an idea - SOB!!!)
  • Wolfwagen No. Bring back the J80 with an inline six and reduced electronics (i.e. no giant touch screen) and they will probably sell like hotcakes
  • David S. " test vehicles sometimes make sudden stops when uncertain about how to navigate traffic."??? Test vehicles are programmed by humans, HUMANS sometimes make sudden stops when uncertain about how to navigate traffic, Duh!!
  • Frank The last guy was doing fine, this is a sales emergency that they're hoping Tim can fix. They want to hang onto the crazy margins from the covid era, which now in the face of abundant inventory, insane interest rates and inflation are a long distant wet dream. Its time to start offering value again, cash on the hood and 0% financing. Move the metal!
  • Gimmeamanual The new Wrangler isn't that new, it's still a JL and so is limited to what the platform can handle as far as addressing on-road handling. One thing Jeep should have done is increase the length of the front lower control arms by using the ones THEY ALREADY SELL with the Mopar lift. That 1/4" makes a big difference.