Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I’m a day late and thirty dollars short.

Or, Suburban creates a giant conspiracy but lacks the resources to prove it. But I'll get to that later.

This week’s car shopping has been a lot of fun, and more than a little interesting. The best find was a 1979 Datsun 280Z at the little boutique car showroom in Al Gubra. The name of the place escapes me, but it's located on Porsche road, below the shell station and around the corner from Zanzibar Island Restaurant. Which serves the best lunch around, by the way. I digress...

Anyway, they have a gorgeous classic 280 z which those of you old-school rally people would remember as a regular feature on the Middle East Rally circuit in the early eighties. A lot of rally heroes, Arab and otherwise made their bones driving these in the early days,

It's a thing of beauty to look at and drive, turning heads wherever you go. It says that you are a connoisseur of taste and style, and have the oomph to back it up. I don't want to be vulgar, but girls wonder what a man is making up for if he's driving a Lamborghini around in circles at Shatti al Qurm. Know what I mean? This classic sports car will raise no such manhood dampening questions. Also, it has excellent ground clearance, essential for tackling the interesting and seemingly random speed bumps scattered throughout Muscat.

My husband says it's a rolling hunk of crap, and has kindly vetoed my purchase. It can be yours for RO 2,300 or maybe less if you are good at bargaining. Maybe you can loan it to me, I'll trade you a spin in a clapped out bmw 7 series.

On to the conspiracy. I have visited five small showrooms so far, and all of them have a large number of used, recently exported American cars. I think a lot of the cars leave America via ports on the east and southern coasts, arrive in Dubai via Jebel Ali, get registered and re-exported to Muscat and elsewhere.

Hands up everybody who has personally cleared and imported a car through Jebel Ali.... Without a PRO..... Just me? OK, then Ill tell you one of the interesting things I usually see when I'm clearing my cars there.

Thousands of wrecked American cars intended for scrap yards and the occasional "hot" Japanese sports car.

Looking at some of the cars in these show rooms I can't help but wonder if they are repaired ex-salvage or formerly flooded and written off, arriving here to be resold as an unwrecked, low mileage used car. One, for example, had a sticker for it's last oil change just under two years ago at the Mobile Alabama KwikLube. Timing and location suspicious given the damage from Hurricane Katrina around the Gulf Of Mexico. Hmmm...

But fear not dedicated car shoppers! There is a fantastic service called carfax that can give you the whole history on any car registered in the states. Accidents, number of owners, Ex-fleet, and salvage history. Just by typing in the vin number.

To subscribe you need a credit card that bills to an address in the states. Which is something I don't have. So last night I called my Old Boss from ten years ago. After persuading him that I'm not a crack smoking prostitute impersonating me, Or a Nigerian Scammer impersonating me, and that it's just me, Suburban, who has really returned to the middle east, he said I can use his card to charge the thirty dollars and get my carfax subscription.

So, I'm off to gather a bunch of vin numbers this week. Tune in next Monday for the results.


Sleepless In Muscat said...


Can't wait for chapter 2. Seems like you lead an interesting secret life or something like that.

Have you considered opening up a business that would salvage cars and return them to their youthful selves?

Anonymous said...

Nice one Sub'...

Maybe we could post 'mystery VIN' numbers and you could report the results?

You'll get lots of brownie points for your ex-bosses money!!


Suburban said...

Thanks Guys,

Sleepless- I fear that someone has already beat me to the punch on a salvage restoration business. I would like to open a business that offers bespoke restoration of classic cars. Like pimp my ride, but with more focus on the drivetrain and less focus on in-car entertainment systems. But I don't think the Oman market is ready for it just yet.

Mystery vins is a good idea, I think the subscription lasts for 60 days.

Solafa said...

LOL, now this is something new to me and interesting to read through your posts and will wait for the continuation of the story.

BTW, my mother bought Lexus from Dubai that was imported from America some years ago, and it is still in a good condition [Alhamdulil-Allah].

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