Heritage Displayed In Dubai

Picture of By Craig Ranson
By Craig Ranson

Managing Director – Bridge Classic Cars

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]For Imtiaz Shaikh, it all began with a poster of a Jaguar E-type on his bedroom wall. Not every teenager goes on to own a real one, of course, yet Sheikh was able to do just that. He bought a 1967 4.2, and soon moved on from there.

“My hobby quickly transformed into an obsession,” he says. “I have just one criterion – I only buy classic cars that I have always desired and/or one that tickle my fancy! Rarity value adds to the appeal, and I focus solely on post-war classics”

Imtiaz Shaikh Dubai Museum 11

As well as buying and selling cars, Shaikh had long wanted to open a gallery to display his own collection to the public, but was prevented by Dubai’s restrictions on the ownership of property by foreign nationals. His chance came in 2011, when the economic downturn resulted in a depressed property market that was under pressure to allow limited non-local ownership. Shaikh obtained royal approval to buy a piece of land in the Al Barsha district, specially dedicated to a classic car gallery.

Imtiaz Shaikh Dubai MuseumHis first exhibits were moved into the facility in 2014: “More than 20 are displayed at any one time and, by rotating stock weekly, visitors return regularly to discover cars they have not seen before.”

A further 70 are stored in the Vault, which is opened only by special arrangement. Displayed in rows are the likes of a restored 1976 Lamborghini Countach, one of three in the collection, a ’61 E-type, an ’85 Ferrari 288GTO with just over 1000km on the clock and a 250GT California Spider SWB.

Sheikh’s cars are regulars at the Emirates Classic Cars Festival, and in 2015 his Bono-bodied 1956 Ferrari 250GT won Best In Show. The previous year, he’d picked up the European Car Award for a Mercedes-Benz 220S convertible and the Special Coachwork Award for a 1959 Fiat Abarth 750 Zagato.

Imtiaz Shaikh Dubai Museum 10

“Some of the very rare cars need to be exercised,” explains Shaikh, ‘but the extreme summer temperatures in the UAE prevent is from taking them out onto the open road. We’ve therefore installed an exhaust system enabling us to warm up the cars twice a week without causing pollution within the air-conditioned building.”

By the beginning of 2015, his collection had grown to more than 120 cars, requiring him to rent additional storage space: “Very early on, I realised the need to have our own dedicated garage to restore and service out cars. The hobby is in its infancy in Dubai, and local repair shops lack an understanding of the difference between classics and regular cars. The festival has expanded interest in – and understanding of – older vehicles, but it’s still early days.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The Knowledge

Address: 4th Street, Umm Suqeim Road, Al Barsha 2, Dubai

Where? In the Al Barsha section of town, between Sheikh Zayed Road and Al Khail Road

Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm from Sunday until Thursday. The collection is closed on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission to the Vault by special arrangement only.

How much? Free

Telephone: 00971 4 306 2032

Web: www.tominiclassics.com[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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