My Wheels

Wheels - - Contents -

Na­jeeb lives the dream be­hind the wheel of a 1979 ‘Vette

There’s no miss­ing Na­jeeb’s clas­sic 1979 Chevro­let Corvette — not when it packs a 5.7-litre V8 and thun­der­ous ex­haust note. He tells

Imran Ma­lik all about his pride and joy. Im­ages:

Ste­fan Lin­d­eque

That’s a beau­ti­fu­lu­ti­ful C3, Na­jeeb. Does it drive as good as it looks? oks? I can’t ex­press how much of a thrill ththis car gives me. There is a beau­tyeauty about the raw­nessra of th­ese cars; there’s no trac­tion con­trol or dy­namic power steer­ing, it is a true ‘man and ma­chine’ ex­pe­ri­ence where the sound of the engine, the feel of the road and the re­sponse of the throt­tle all add to the flavour. For a 34-year-old car, it run­sns like a dream. EveryEv time I start it, I have to pause for a min­uteminut to en­joy the rau­cous ex­hausthaust note be­fore I roll out.

What do you like best about it?

There is just some­thing about the curves on the C3s, cou­pled with a long front and short back, which al­ways makes me drool. Af­ter park­ing the car, I glance back at it a few times to ap­pre­ci­ate its gor­geous looks. Look­ing at it from the side is the best way to no­tice and ap­pre­ci­ate just how curvy it is. It has such a fab shape. It has a 350 cu­bic-inch (5.7-litre) V8— what is the per­for­mance like? It has more than enough punch and shoots for­ward when you hit the throt­tle. And it still burns rub­ber with ease. But as can be ex­pected, over time the horse­power has dropped just a tad. You must make ev­ery­one smile when you’re out and about with it… It is quite an un­usual car to see on the roads and the fact that it is bright red just adds to the vis­ual drama. It turns a lot of heads and quite of­ten I get a thumbs up and yes, lots of smiles. In some in­stances on walk­ing back to the car when it is parked in a pub­lic place, I find peo­ple tak­ing pic­tures or gath­er­ing around it. You drive it more dur­ing the cooler sea­sons right? Yes, in win­ters I drive it two or three times a week, while in sum­mers I make it a point to

at least take it out once a week, usu­ally early Fri­day morn­ings.

It is in re­ally good con­di­tion— have you had much work done to it? When I bought the car, I had en­vis­aged three phases to bring it up to scratch. Phase one was to get it road-ready as it had some mi­nor is­sues, which I took care of. Phase two (cur­rently on­go­ing) is to work on some mi­nor wear and tear to make it look as new as can be while stick­ing to the orig­i­nal look. I am or­der­ing orig­i­nal parts for it, which are still read­ily avail­able on­line. Some of th­ese in­clude new door han­dles, win­dow switches and a new ig­ni­tion switch. Phase three will be restor­ing the car to its orig­i­nal con­di­tion. How­ever, I bought it with this af­ter­mar­ket bon­net and I think the nos­trils don’t just give it a mean look, but help keep the engine cool. So the bon­net may stay. The only other de­vi­a­tion will be the 1969-style side ex­haust I want to add, as it will do won­ders for the look and sound of the car. Peo­ple al­ways worry about ser­vic­ing or get­ting hold of parts for classics but thank­fully you are not ex­pe­ri­enc­ing any is­sues… That’s right— long may that con­tinue. I have been work­ing closely with Max Garage, and the guys there have been absolutely bril­liant. I source the parts mostly from Corvette Amer­ica as it has a huge in­ven­tory and is quite ef­fi­cient and easy to deal with.

How is it cop­ing with the sum­mer so far? It is un­der­stand­able that there would be some con­cerns as th­ese cars have Amer­i­can specs and are built for less ex­treme con­di­tions. Driv­ing in bumper-to-bumper traf­fic is not a good idea, but on clear roads, where you can main­tain con­stant speeds above 60kph, it has no prob­lems at all.

Is this one for keeps? I am not plan­ning on sell­ing it any­time soon, but maybe in the fu­ture. I do keep get­ting a lot of of­fers for it though.

Tell us about the time the horn got stuck… Ha! That was bad. I had gone to a fam­ily gath­er­ing one evening and at around 11pm ev­ery­one de­cided to leave. We all headed to­wards our cars and I re­ceived quite a few nice com­ments about this one. With all my ac­cu­mu­lated joy and pride over the re­cent at­ten­tion, I gave the horn a short burst as I drove of— it’s kind of cus­tom­ary.

But my horn plate got stuck and the planned small beep be­came a con­tin­u­ous, earpierc­ing one— that, too, in a quiet res­i­den­tial neigh­bour­hood! All at­tempts to stop the sound failed and with a face even more red than the car I de­cided to smile and wave and drove off as quickly as I could! At some point dur­ing the drive home the horn stopped and I have since re­placed the com­plete sys­tem. That’s just part of the fun of own­ing a clas­sic though isn’t it… Yes. Such in­ci­dents in some ways just add to the plea­sure of own­er­ship as any trip can be­come an ad­ven­ture.

Name Job From Wheels In the UAE

No doubt, Na­jeeb’s 1979 Corvette is a beauty. His first car was a Mercedes-benz SLK 350 and he cur­rently owns a 2013 CLS 500. But his dream car is a Fer­rari 458 Italia Eyes open! The pop-up head­lights are as good as new... ...As is the beige leather in­ter

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