Help­ing cars stand the test of time

Khaleej Times - - NATION - Pho­tos by Les­lie Pableo Bernd De­bus­mann Jr.

dubai — Call­ing all car en­thu­si­asts: It’s time to head to Dubai’s Al Quoz. Nos­tal­gia Clas­sic Cars, which is lo­cated in Alserkal Av­enue, is home to about 100 im­mac­u­lately main­tained and re­stored cars from as far back as the 1920s, and in­cludes such clas­sics as the 1923 Ford Model T, 1959 Ford Thun­der­bird and 1965 Ford Mus­tang.

The show­room’s vast col­lec­tion also in­cludes newer mod­els, such as 2016 Land Rover De­fend­ers and Porsche GT3 RS.

The mas­sive lo­ca­tion is split into two parts: A 1,000-square me­tre sec­tion that func­tions as a gallery with a lounge area and li­brary, and another 1,000-square me­tre sec­tion in which Nos­tal­gia’s vast col­lec­tion is on dis­play for car fa­nat­ics and po­ten­tial buy­ers. The cars are priced be­tween $50,000 and $100,000, mak­ing them ac­ces­si­ble for every­one from new­bie clas­sic car en­thu­si­asts to sea­soned col­lec­tors.

The venue was founded in 2016 by Jor­da­nian Mazin Al Khatib, a for­mer in­vest­ment banker who left the world of high fi­nance to fol­low his dreams.

“I had worked in the bank­ing in­dus­try for al­most 27 years. I started hit­ting the ceil­ing, as they say, about a year be­fore I of­fi­cially re­signed,” he told Khaleej Times. “I re­alised that I had much more to of­fer that to wake up ev­ery day and try to make an ex­tra buck.

“So I de­cided to leave and pur­sue my pas­sion,” Al Khatib added. “I’ve al­ways been a car col­lec­tor, and it had been my dream for a long time that one day I would con­vert this pas­sion into a busi­ness.”

Clas­sic cars, Al Khatib said, have been a long­time in­ter­est, even be­fore he had the means to have his own. “Ever since my high school days, when I was maybe 16 or 17 years old, I liked and ap­pre­ci­ated old and clas­sic cars,” he noted. “I started col­lect­ing at the end of the 1990s; be­gin­ning of the 2000s — once I had money.”

Nowa­days, how­ever, Al Khatib is him­self a pro­lific col­lec­tor of pri­vate cars, and he said that all the cars cur­rently on dis­play at Nos­tal­gia are his.

Restor­ing the clas­sics

Nos­tal­gia also prides it­self on its restora­tion work, with a team of ex­perts on hand to bring cars — some of them lit­tle more than rusted skele­tons — back to their for­mer glory. Among the cars that Nos­tal­gia has re­stored are an iconic 1972 VW Bee­tle and an exquisite 1976 Rolls Royce Sil­ver Shadow.

“Our restora­tion fa­cil­ity is open for my own col­lec­tion, and for our cus­tomers as well,” Al Khatib said. “We have done cars that are about a two (on a 10-point restora­tion scale) and we redo the de­sign to bring them up to an 8.5 or nine. We’ve also re­ceived cars that are quite ba­sic, like a six, and bring them up to eight or nine, de- pend­ing on what the client wants. We have the ca­pa­bil­ity and abil­ity to do both.”

Look­ing to the fu­ture, Al Khatib said he hoped the Nos­tal­gia “con­cept” will spread to other coun­tries from Dubai. “I have a lot of faith ... I’d like to see it repli­cated across the Gulf coun­tries, at least,” he noted. “I’ve al­ready re­ceived in­ter­est from a cou­ple of par­ties that want to do the same.”

Ad­di­tion­ally, Al Khatib said that he is keen to in­tro­duce a num­ber of “spe­cial brands” to the Gulf for the first time.

“It’s still at an early stage, but it’s al­ready in my mind,” he said. “Some of these cars are from the US and Eng­land, and some from Ger­many. Old, iconic cars, but with the new­est tech­nol­ogy.”

bernd@khalee­j­times.com

I had worked in the bank­ing in­dus­try for 27 years. I started hit­ting the ceil­ing, as they say, a year be­fore I of­fi­cially re­signed. I re­alised that I had much more to of­fer that to wake up ev­ery day and try to make an ex­tra buck.” Mazin Al Khatib, founder of Nos­tal­gia Clas­sic Cars

SPARK­ING NOS­TAL­GIA ... A me­chanic at Nos­tal­gia Clas­sic Cars in Al Quoz, Dubai, works on a car to re­store it. A team of ex­perts is specif­i­cally as­signed to bring the cars back to their for­mer glory.

IT’S STILL GOT IT ... Me­chan­ics at dif­fer­ent stages of restora­tion works on cars. Some of the cars that are brought in to Nos­tal­gia are lit­tle more than rusted skele­tons.

SHINE ON ... A clas­sic car shines af­ter restora­tion works are car­ried out. These old, iconic cars are ready to be out on the roads again.

FIN­ISH­ING TOUCHES ... A me­chanic ap­plies fin­ish­ing touches to a re­stored car. The fa­cil­ity is open to other clas­sic car own­ers, too.

GOTTA LOVE THE JAGUAR ... Vis­i­tors check out a Jaguar E type 1971 at Nos­tal­gia. The show­room’s col­lec­tion also in­cludes newer mod­els.

THAT CLASSY FEEL ... (Left to right) Sun­beam Alpine 1962, Austin Healey 3000 MK ll 1963 and MG B 1963 on dis­play at Nos­tal­gia.

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