24 Hour Car Wash

Post by Mark

oula1

A few months ago I found out that the Oula gas station near the Jawazat roundabout in Salmiya had a 24/7 car wash. Even since I’ve been wanting to just randomly drop by like 2AM or something to try it out but haven’t had the time to until last night. My Datsun had been at the mechanic for the past two weeks getting a number of things installed (will post about it separately) and last night I dropped by around 11PM to pick up the car. There were still some minor things that he was working on and he ended up finishing at around 3AM. So after leaving the garage, I decided to drop by the car wash on my way home to test it out.

oula2

So I get there and sure enough the car wash was open. I assumed they just had an exterior wash since no way they’d have staff available to clean the inside of the car after midnight but surprisingly, they had a full team on stand by. So I got my car washed in the middle of the night and it cost me just KD3 for an exterior and interior cleaning (without tip).

So if you ever want to wash your car in the middle of the night, this is the place to go. This carwash by the way uses a touch free automated system called the LaserWash which I posted about back in 2010. Here is the location of this car wash on [Google Maps]


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Permission to Tow

Post by Mark

towhitch2

A contact sent me this random bit of information, it seems you now need to get permission to tow stuff with your vehicle. Previously anyone could just connect their jetskis or boat and just tow them down the road but they recently started cracking down on this by applying some new stricter rules. For example if you want to tow a trailer, then the trailer now must have reflectors, turn signals and brake lights on it as well or else you’ll get fined.

towhitch

I guess this new towing permission is an extension of those new safety regulations. According to my same contact, if your car has a tow hitch (pictured above) you might get fined even if you aren’t towing anything. Not sure how accurate this information is, but if your car has a tow hitch then you might want to double check on this.

Thanks Fahad


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CityBus Airport Express

Post by Mark

CityBus launched a new bus service that starts all the way in Fahaheel, passing
through Mangaf, Abu Halifa, Mahboula and Fintas before arriving at the final destination, the Kuwait airport. They’re calling it the X1 route and it costs just 500 fils to get to the airport from all the way in Fahaheel.

airport

The service also runs 24/7 with a bus coming by every 30 minutes between 4AM to midnight and then every 60 minutes from midnight to 4AM. Not bad, and I’m guessing they’ll most likely be adding more routes to the airport to cover other areas as well. For more info including the bus stop location guide you can check out their Facebook page [Here]


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The Lotus Evora 400

Post by Mark

evora1

Like the Lotus Exige S which I recently wrote about on the blog, theres a lot to love and hate in the Evora 400. I actually ended up having the car over two weekends so I got to spend a pretty good amount of time with the car. I’ll get all the good stuff out of the way first, then talk about a few negatives points before telling you what I think.

When I first got into the Evora 400 and drove off I was really surprised at how civil the car was. Unlike the Exige S, getting into the car didn’t require any acrobatics since it’s like a normal car, you just open the door and get in. The interior was also a lot more fancier looking with leather all around, beautiful center console with controls for the AC and gear box, and with seats there were super comfy. The Evora has a Supercharged 3.5L V6 producing 400hp but you wouldn’t be able to tell when the car is in regular touring mode. I thought the Evora was too quiet, like nearly electric car quiet since all you couldn’t hear the engine or exhaust, just the whine of the supercharger. The car felt too civil which was starting to feel disappointing since the reason I’m in a Lotus is because it’s a sports car and so I wanted it to sound like one. Luckily, the Evora has a cool trick up its sleeve. On regular touring mode, the car doesn’t sound any louder than a Toyota Camry, but as soon as you hit the exhaust button on the dashboard, everything changes. The Evora suddenly comes to life and the sound becomes brutal and so violent. If you’re in an indoor parking lot and roll down your windows, oh wow you won’t believe how beautiful the Evora can sound.

evora2

I think that was my favorite aspect of the Evora, it can be super silent and an unassuming daily driver (just don’t go with bright orange), or it can be the loud in your face track car. Daily driver is how I kept describing the car to my friends whenever they asked me what I thought of it. Then you have the looks, god damn it’s a super hot looking car. Like the Exige S, everywhere I went people wouldn’t stop staring, it’s such an eye catcher.

lotusinside

But, not all is great. As I mentioned earlier in the post, I had the Evora 400 over two weekends. The reason for that is the first weekend I ran into issues with the gearbox. Something was wrong with the programming and so when I would give the car a hard kick down, the car would sometimes shift from 1st gear to 2nd to 3rd and then just get stuck there instead of continuing to shift up. On one occasion it even got stuck on 2nd gear. Then one night on my way back home, the gearbox, engine and traction control lights all came on and the car wouldn’t shift anymore and just stayed stuck on 3rd gear. I dropped the car off back to Lotus the next morning and got it back again this past weekend. I guess they reset the software or something but all the issues I had with the gearbox the previous weekend disappeared. Putting that bit of bad luck aside though I did have more issues with the car, ones that a software update couldn’t fix. One of my issues with the Exige S was the lack of storage space, not sure how it’s possible but the Evora has even less space. There is a small pocket on the door that might or might not hold your wallet depending on how big it is, and there is also a small glove compartment that can hold your sunglasses, but other than that there is nothing. I had to keep my phone in between my legs or on the passenger seat because there was no room to put my phone. I should mention there is a back seat in this car that supposedly can hold two passengers, but unless those passengers don’t have any legs I’m not sure how they’ll fit there. The back of my seat literally touches the rear seat so there’s no way anyone can sit behind me thats for sure. Finally the last issue with the car is one that I find mind boggling. I took the car to get it washed and it leaked in water from both doors in the exact same location. If it was one side you could say it might have been a defect or whatever, but both sides? Thats just poor design which is why I don’t understand how Lotus didn’t catch this.

The Evora 400 starts at KD34,000 which puts it right in the Porsche 911 turf. But the question then becomes, do you want a car that everyone has? Or do you want a car that is less common and unique? If I’m paying that much money, I don’t want to blend in so then it becomes about how much issues can I put up with. Personally, with all the issues I had with the more affordable Exige S, I’m in love with that car. Maybe if I ask nicely they’ll let me take the Exige S back out for another weekend.

If you’re interested in test driving a Lotus then pass by them, they have both the Exige S and Evora 400 available. Here is a link to their instagram account @alghanimlotuskw


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New Airport Long Term Parking Extension

Post by Mark

parkingextension

Ok ok so it’s not really an extension but, just to give you an idea of how bad the situation in the long term parking has gotten, they’re now having cars park in the pedestrian walkway in the long term parking lot.

They’re going to have to construct a new multistory parking lot but that would mean they’d have to close the parking lot during that process which will be annoying so I have another idea. How about turning an empty lot of land near the airport into a parking lot and then have a shuttle bus service to and from the airport?


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Nasty Accident Caught on Dashcam

Post by Mark

This accident took place yesterday in Hawalli. Super nasty, no idea why that guy took the turn so fast. On the other hand with dashcams becoming prevalent, we’re bound to see more WTF videos like this.

Back in March while driving on the 40th I nearly ran over a body lying in the middle of the road. It was a scary moment which I was able to capture on my dashcam. You can watch that video above, it’s not graphic, but there is a dead body involved so you might want to skip it if you’re squeamish.

via Frankom

dashcam


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This isn’t real

Post by Mark

notreal

The picture above has been circulating on whatsapp with people thinking it’s real. It’s funny, but obviously its not real. Why? Because the messages on these signs usually read like they were created using google translate, this one uses proper English. Secondly there would at the very least be a grammatical mistake or something misspelled while this sign doesn’t have any faults.


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A Weekend with the Lotus Exige S

Post by Mark

exige1

I’ve been a Lotus fan for sometime now and a few years ago when a friend of mine sold his, I regretted not buying it off him myself. The fact that there’s a dealership now makes me even regret it more but I got over it, or at least I thought I had until this weekend. Thursday morning I picked up a brand new Lotus Exige S from the dealership to use over the weekend, and after giving it back yesterday my feelings on it haven’t changed, I still love and want the car.

Let me get this out of the way first, this isn’t the car for you. Well at least 99.9% of you and I’ll explain why.

exige2

Notice I use the side pillars in the car like a bookshelf for my phone and wallet.

As a regular car the Exige is horrible and I don’t even know where to begin. The seats? The most uncomfortable seats I’ve ever sat in and you can’t adjust them. The car is super tiny on the inside, I mean my Datsun is tiny but it’s actually huge compared to the Exige. It’s so tiny that the passenger seat is stuck to your seat, I actually kept buckling my seatbelt into the passenger side seatbelt accidently because they’re so close. It can be pretty awkward on a first date but you know whats even more awkward? Getting in or out of the car. There is no way, and I really mean no way to get in and out of the car gracefully no matter how hard you try. This mostly has to do with the fact that there is a huge pillar you need to climb over to get into the seat and the fact the car is so low it makes the whole process very awkward. There are even videos online that show you how to get in and out of the car! Watch [This One] and then [This One]. The fact you need to watch a video to show you how to get in and out of the car should give you an idea that this isn’t a normal car. Also when I say this is a low car I mean this is a LOW car. I drove by a mini cooper on the Gulf Road and all I could see was the mini’s door handle. The Exige is so low it can drive under parking gates.

But wait I’m not done yet! There is so much more that doesn’t make sense in the car. To turn the lights on at night you press one button, to turn it off you need to press two different buttons. Why?? Before getting the car I thought the AC might not be good enough for Kuwait’s weather but my issue with the AC this weekend was that it was too much for the Exige. For a car thats slightly larger than an iPad I don’t understand why it has 8 AC vents, 4 in the front, and then 4 right behind you facing the front. At the lowest fan setting there was still too much AC for the size of the car. I spent most of the time closing vents and opening the window to balance the temperature inside the car. If there is a place I want to be in the summer its the ice skating rink and the inside of this Lotus. What else did I find terrible in the car? The stereo, easily the worst sound system in any car I’ve ever driven, it’s slightly better than my Datsun’s sound system from the 70s and that’s because I could plug my iPhone into it. I really need to go back and talk about the size of the interior again, the car is so small that without moving from my seat, I high-fived a friend who was standing outside the passenger side window. I’m not exaggerating, that incident actually happened. Interior glove compartment? Nope. Trunk space? It’s big enough to fit a backpack… maybe. The steering wheel also isn’t powered so I hope you’ve been working out since parking this car is a workout. Speaking of parking, the visibility out of the rear window is terrible and there are plenty of blindspots all around. Reversing from my parked position back onto a main road involved so much back and forth head movement, to a passerby I must have looked like I was having an epileptic seizure.

seatbelt

Thats how close the seats are!

But, with all that being said, when you buy an Exige you know what you’re getting into. You wouldn’t get into a Formula 1 race car and then complain that it doesn’t have a cup holder. You’re not expected to be able to pick up your visiting relatives from the airport in an Exige or even doing something as simple as dropping your mum off at the hairdresser (she either won’t be able to get in or won’t be able to get out).

The Lotus Exige S weighs only 950KG 1175KG but has a 345HP supercharged engine. It does 0 to 100 in 3.9 seconds and a top speed that is electronically limited to 233km/h. It’s small, it’s very fast and most importantly, it’s a ton of fun. This weekend I had a blast with the car and I wish I could do it again the next weekend and the weekend after that. It’s all the negatives in the earlier paragraph that makes this car so great. Sure I would have loved a better sound system but that I’d rather have a shitty sound system and keep the car small and simple then an amazing sound system that would add weight, need a larger interior and add complications to the car. Every decision in this car was made not to sacrifice performance and performance is what you get here. Just ask Chris Harris. The car is really easy to drive fast which makes it very driver friendly.

The interior is very barebones, all you will get is 3 knobs for the AC, an Alpine stereo, 3 buttons for the lights and then buttons for changing gears. That’s the whole interior. Even the speedometer cluster doesn’t contain any information other than your speed, RPM, a digital read out of your speed and a few warning lights. It’s going back to basics which is something I’ve started appreciating because of my Datsun. You don’t need a large touch screen, you don’t need 12 cupholders, you don’t need automatic folding mirrors or interior mood lights, you don’t need majority of the stuff in your car. With the Exige, it’s just you, the car and the road. No distractions.

exige3

Visually the car is a work of art. From all the cars I’ve ever driven, none got me as much attention as this one did. Everywhere I went people were checking the car out. Even hotel valets who’ve come across everything where checking the Exige out. Actually pulling up to valet in an Exige was fun, I was like I want to park here and they just moved a car for me and I parked in it’s place right at the front of the hotel entrance. Park an Exige next to a Ferrari and more people will likely check out the Exige just because it’s such a rare and over the top looking car.

With all the misgivings of this car I actually loved it and I now more than ever regret not getting if off my friend. The only thing I really would want them to improve on is the seat but other than that I didn’t mind all the weird issues the car had. The price? The Exige S starts at KD27,000 which I think is a fair price… if it was a car I could drive everyday. But it isn’t which makes this price difficult to swallow. This isn’t daily driver, it’s barely a car you want to drive even just on weekends. This is a track car first, road car second which is why it would be perfect in countries that have race tracks like Bahrain and UAE. It’s a car you can take to the track on the weekend, be competitive and then drive it to work if you want the day after. But sadly for us, we don’t have a race track here so it’s hard to justify the Exige. But, I’ll be test driving the Lotus Evora soon which is supposed to be everything the Exige is except with the extra amenities that make it a better everyday car. So I’m looking forward to that.

For more information on Lotus cars or if you’d like to test drive one, check out the local dealers instagram account @alghanimlotuskw


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Extreme Detailing My Datsun 240z

Post by Mark

protech1

I first heard of ProTech Monte-Carlo just over a year ago when they left a comment under one of my photos on instagram inviting me to pass by them. I checked out their instagram account and did a bit of research on them and they turned out to be a pretty legit car detailing setup with different branches around the world. I didn’t really have a reason to pass by at that time but months later when I wanted to detail my FJ I called them up for a quote and quickly realized their services were out of my FJ’s league.

Then last month I purchased my 1973 Datsun 240z. The car was over 40 years old, still in pretty much stock condition but had been parked outdoors for the past 11 years in Kuwait and probably even longer in the States where it was originally imported from. The paint had clearly lost its shine, it has lots of scratches, the plastics and rubbers around the car looked dry and the interior was also faded and looked old. I had already given the car a pretty good wash but it clearly wasn’t enough. Thats when I considered passing by ProTech and getting a quote from them. I was already aware that they had worked on a number of vintage cars before including ones that were worth a whole lot more than mine so I knew I could trust them detailing my Datsun properly. They gave me a quote which I honestly thought was too much since the car really isn’t worth a lot. But, I was still curious to see what they would be able to do to a car like mine, it seemed like the perfect project for them. So I got in touch with the owner and offered him a barter deal where I’d give him a banner on the blog for a couple of months in return they’d detail my car. Two days later not he got back to me, not only did he accept my deal but he also went out and purchased a 240z himself (same color as mine even, it’s pictured in the back of the photo above). I’m telling you guys the Z is such a ridiculously fun car to get.

protech2

I dropped off my car on a Monday, spent around two hours with the owner discussing and comparing our Z’s and then left and came back the following Sunday to pick up the car. Usually they take 3 to 4 days for their extreme detailing package but because of the age of my car and the work it needed they took a couple more days than usual. When I picked up the car again, fuck was I impressed. The pictures really don’t do the job any justice.

There are a number of stages to the whole detailing process. When you first drop the car they first give it a proper wash. Once they’re done washing the car they go over it inch by inch with a clay bar which would pick up any small speckle of dirt that was still left on the car Once they’re done with that they start the detailing process. Depending on which package you go for there are different things involved here but in my case we went all out. So first thing they do is polish the exterior of the car. Before they start they mark off 8 different spots on the car so they could test out how aggressive their polish will be. They want to be the least aggressive so they start off on the lowest setting and polish the first spot and see if they can still see scratches. If the scratches are still there they move over to the second spot they’ve marked off and increase the intensity. They keep doing this from spot to spot until they get to a level of intensity that clears out the scratches without damaging the paint.

beforeafter

Once the external polishing of the car is complete they then apply a special treatment to the rubbers and plastics that will moisturize them and bring them back to life. The best example of how successful this treatment was is with the front spoiler of my car which you can see the before and after shots above. Before the detailing I was contemplating getting the spoiler painted black but now it looks brand new.

protech3

After the exterior they move to the interior where they once again spend a lot of time cleaning and applying special treatment to the various materials inside the car. My dashboard had faded and dried because of it being parked outdoors but like with the external plastics, they managed to bring my dashboard back to life. Even all the interior black leather that covers my car now looks factory new. It’s just insane how new my really old car now looks. They didn’t only clean my carpets for example, but they removed my carpets, the insulation underneath it and then cleaned the whole tub of the car before putting everything back again.

Once they were done with the cleaning they moved to the final stage which is applying protection. It’s basically a protective clear coat that lasts anywhere between one to two years. This clear coat protects all the detailing work so that any minor scratches will be superficial and not affect the paint. After everything is done they give you a box (a KD45 value usually) containing a bunch of their cleaning products and various types of cloths and sponges so that you could take care of the car properly. If you have a driver that washes your car you could bring him in and they’ll teach him how to properly clean your car.

protech4

The cost of this full detailing job? A whopping KD425. Obviously when a car costs as little as mine this really isn’t very feasible of course which is why I did the barter deal with them. You also don’t have to take the full extreme detailing package which I did. Their prices actually start under KD100 but if you’ve paid I don’t know, KD85,000 for a Mercedes 4X4 Squared for example then you clearly want the best fucking shit for your car and this is it. Personally I can’t believe what a huge difference it made to my car. It’s brought the paint job back to life, it’s shinny, it’s vibrant and because of the protective layer it feels so smooth (like super smooth). And the interior? She doesn’t look 43 at all, she looks like she’s in her 20s.

Now just to be clear this is not an ad and this post wasn’t part of the deal. I wanted to write this post because (a) I always need content but (b) because they really did bring my car back to life. I really need to install AC in the car since there is no way I’m going to leave her parked all summer long. Anyway, check them out, here is their instagram page [Link]


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Kuwait International Circuit Renderings

Post by Mark

track1

Looks like all my posts today will be car related which I guess is appropriate since theres a Formula 1 race taking place today. There are renderings of a Kuwait racetrack that are being circulated on whatsapp, supposedly of the proposed Kuwait International Circuit. The following text is attached with the images:

تم اعتماد حلبة الكويت الدولية كحلبة للجائزة الكبرى GP للفورمولا ون.
موقعها بيكون على جون الكويت بالقرب من محطة الدوحة للكهرباء. طولها 6.3 كيلو وتتكون من اربع مسارات:
GP Track
West Track
East Track
Outter Track
تتكون من 20 كورنر في الGP
نقطتين DRS
وبتكون عكس عقارب الساعه.
تتضمن مجموعه من المنعطفات التتسلسله ذات التقنيه العاليه..
جميله هذي الحلبه.. بإذن الله نشوفها قريب..

track2

The Arabic text basically talks about the location of the circuit which will be near the Doha power station and the different specs of the race track. Sadly though, these renderings aren’t official nor is the information. This track design was actually done by a Reddit user who goes by the handle Cssnsm and who just likes creating race circuits for fun. In fact, you can check out his original post of this circuit along with a fictional story he created to go along with it [Here]

If you just want to see the renderings, here is the [Link]

I hope we do actually get a race circuit some day, last year a circuit design was finalized and presented to proper authorities for approval but since then haven’t heard anything about it.

Update: A contact just passed me a video of Kuwait Motor Town which supposededly is set to start construction in September. I couldn’t find any information on this online other than this video so not sure how accurate this information is.


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