Dubai Must Visit: Tomini Classics

Post by Mark

Over the weekend while in Dubai I passed by Tomini Classics with a friend of mine. Tomini is a classic car dealership and my friend wanted to check out a 1971 Jaguar E-Type and asked me if I wanted to join him, obviously I did. As soon as we walked into the showroom the first car the greeted us was a 1964 Ferrari 330 P4 race car. An insane car but the whole showroom was filled with insane cars. Because its Ferraris 70th anniversary, they filled the showroom with classic Ferraris. It was like walking around in a museum except everything was for sale. They had Testarossa’s, a Berlinetta Boxer, GT4, 308GTB and a lot more and they were all in excellent like new condition! It was mind blowing, just one classic Ferrari next to another. They also had some vintage Maserati’s, Lambo’s and even a Lotus out on display but most of their collection was hidden inside what they call “the vault”.

The vault is their large garage where they store the cars that have already been purchased as well as cars that are not on display in the main showroom. Photography is strictly not allowed inside so I’m gonna try and describe it the best I can. From all the car museums I’ve been to, and I’ve been to many, I don’t recall a single one that had so many great cars all in one place. Sure the Petersen Automotive Museum has some great cars, but they’re mostly great because of their historical significance. They’re cars with great stories, but not necessarily cars I would want to own. The vault at Tomini on the other hand is what my garage would look like if my last name was Zuckerberg. They had maybe half a dozen E-Types, a ton of vintage air cooled Porsches from the 60s all the way through the 80s (including at least two 356’s), they had a Pantera, a few more vintage Maserati’s, a couple of 60’s Mercedes SL’s, a Lamborghini Espada, the 1982 Ferrari Formula 1 car and even more but this is just what I remember right now. They also had a couple of new cars like the new Ferrari LaFerrari Spider and Porsche 918 Spyder. But the car that caught me by surprise the most was the Renault 5 Turbo 2. I had never seen one in person and I couldn’t believe they had one in their vault. It’s not that popular of a car and compared to the classic Ferrari’s and Lambo’s it kinda seems out of place. But it has a strong cult following especially if you grew up in Europe or in a place with a lot of European cars like Lebanon in my case. It’s definitely a car you would want to have in your collection.

In conclusion, that was some crazy shit. If you’re into cars especially classic ones then I’d highly highly recommend you drop by Tomini the next time you’re in Dubai. It seriously felt like visiting the best car museum in the world and the best part is… everything is for sale if you can afford it. To check out all the cars they have you can visit their website and flip through their for sale list as well as the sold list (which contains some of the cars I saw in the vault). Their website is tominiclassics.com. You can also follow them on instagram @tominiclassicsdubai


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Every Car Needs a Lithium Jump Starter

Post by Mark

I’ve been wanting to review this lithium jump starter ever since I got it, but I didn’t have a reason to use it until last night. While leaving the gym my car wouldn’t start because the battery had died. Usually in a situation like that you’d start asking cars around you if they had jumper cables and if they could help you jump start your car. Super awkward and involves you having to rely on and get help from complete strangers.

But a few months ago I read about lithium jump starters and decided to order one to keep in the car for situations exactly like the one I experienced last night. Lithium jump starters are small lithium battery packs that you connect to your car’s battery when dead to help restart it. It’s super easy to use, you just turn on the battery pack, connect the red jumper cable to the red terminal on your car battery, the black jumper cable to the black terminal and thats it. You then go back into your car and turn on the ignition and voila! Even if you’re not a car expert its pretty easy to do.

There are different brands of these battery packs with different strengths, I got the NOCO Genius Boost Plus GB40 1000 from Amazon which has 4.5 stars and over 1,300 reviews. The battery is good enough to jump start a car 20 times and the model I got can jump start engines as large as 6 liters (so basically overkill for my needs). This battery packed saved me a lot of time and awkwardness last night and got me out of the horrible humid weather back into my air conditioned car pretty quickly. Even though it’s not something you’d use often, a battery pack like this should definitely be in your car as part of your emergency kit. You can even use it to charge your phone and has a built in flash light.

I’ve seen similar jump starters available locally, but I wanted the NOCO branded one and so bought mine from Amazon for KD29. It’s extremely well built and the overall quality of the case and cables is top-notch. Here is the [Amazon Link]


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Police Still Punishing Illegal Parkers

Post by Mark

Back in November the Ministry of Interior announced that cops were going to start removing the license plates of illegally parked cars. A month later I posted about how impressed I was that the cops were actually still actively remove car plates. Fast forward to today and the cops are still at it. New laws pop up all the time and most of them don’t stick around so its pretty damn impressive that cops are still going around removing car plates, even with the ridiculously hot August weather.


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Kuwait Race Circuit to Open March 2018

Post by Mark

From what I’ve been hearing, it looks like March is the targeted opening date for the first phase of the Kuwait Motor Town Race Circuit. The first phase will be the main F1/Moto-GP circuit and drag strip while the completion of the rest of the circuits as well as the hotel and mall will follow at a later date. Personally I don’t care about the hotel or the mall, I just want the main track to open so I could take part in open days.

Kuwait Motor Town will have karting, moto-cross, rally-cross, super-cross, 4×4 technical and ATV circuits as well as the main F1/Moto-GP circuit and the drag strip. For previous posts on the Kuwait Motor Town, click [Here]


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Where can I find an OBD2 car diagnostic scanner?

Post by Mark

Does anyone know where I can find an OBDII scanner for the car in Kuwait? They cost peanuts on Amazon but figured someone must sell them locally? Preferably a bluetooth one.

OBD stands for on-board diagnostics and is the term referring to the car’s self-diagnostic and reporting capability. If your engine light comes on, you can plug in the OBD scanner and the car will tell you what caused the engine light to come on. The OBD can also give you real time information about your car like car speed, engine temperature, fuel rate etc..


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The Lotus Exige S – Three Months Later

Post by Mark

I’ve had my Lotus Exige now for nearly three months and during this time I had a bunch of things done to the car in terms of upgrades and improvements. This post is mostly for people trying to google info on the Lotus, so if you’re not into cars in general, just skip this post. Before I get into the specifics of what I’ve done to the car, I do want to highlight one aspect of owning a Lotus that I wasn’t expecting, the amazing community.

The Lotus Community
The Lotus community has been pretty great so far, from the local dealership to online forums and even the main Lotus factory. Everyone is just so friendly and helpful. Like I’ve already mentioned in my previous posts on the car, the local dealer Alghanim has been incredible, I’ve got the brand manager whom I whatsapp whenever I need anything and is now more like a friend then a brand manager, I also have the same Lotus technician I deal with every time I’m at the garage whom I’m on a first name basis, so the whole experience feels very personalized. I’m also in contact with the only other Exige owner in Kuwait at the moment and we’re planning to meet up soon for a photoshoot. I want to see what he’s done to the car and show him what I’ve done. There is another Exige arriving any day now and its going to a guy who’s connected to my circle of friends as well and then there is another Exige arriving by the end of summer that will belong to a close friend. So we’re going to have a pretty great little Exige community popping up here in Kuwait soon.

But its not only in Kuwait where I’ve been having a great experience with Lotus people. When I first got the car I contacted Lotus in the UK regarding some questions I had with the AC, a guy called Tony who is their ‘Technical & Training’ guy responded to me within a few hours. When I emailed him some feedback regarding the AC system, he forwarded my email to their electrical and HVAC department so they could check it out. They actually care about their customers and since we are a small community take all feedback into consideration. A couple of days ago I had another question which I emailed him and again within a few hours he got back to me. Someone at the Lotus factory is replying to my emails in a few hours, I mean I don’t reply that fast to people who email my blog, it’s really impressive how personal the whole experience feels.

The people in the forums are also amazing. Since I got the car I’ve been an active user in The Lotus Forums and I’ve been trying to contribute to the community as much as I can [eg 1, 2, 3 and 4]. Since there are only a few hundred Exige (V6) owners around the world, there really isn’t much documentation and reviews online on various accessories and upgrades you can perform on the car. So whatever I’ve been doing, I’ve been documenting and sharing with the community.

The Upgrades
So like I mentioned at the start of this post, I went through a first round of different upgrades for the car, below is a list of what I’ve done so far.

Sound System
The first thing I did as soon as I got the car was upgrade the sound system. The car had four cheap-ass speakers and a very basic single-DIN car stereo that didn’t even have bluetooth. So I decided to upgrade the car with the following setup:

Alpine CDE-HD149BT Receiver
Alpine KTP-445A Amp
Focal 100AC Access Series Speakers (Front)
Focal 130AC Access Series Speakers (Rear)

The whole setup looks stock with the amp also hidden in the dashboard so you wouldn’t really be able to tell I changed anything. But sound wise its a huge improvement over the stock sound system and it didn’t really cost me much for basically what is top of the line stuff.

Carbon Fiber Covers for the Engine Bay
This was strictly a cosmetic and practicality upgrade. You can see the Lotus engine through the glass boot and since we have a lot of dust in Kuwait, I have to clean the engine bay every so often so that it looks presentable under the glass. I kept having trouble dusting one of the large plastic covers in the engine bay because it had a rough texture. So I ordered a pair of glossy carbon fiber covers from Komo-tec in Germany, and now the engine is sandwiched between two shiny carbon fiber pieces. If you want to see how the engine bay looked like before, click [Here]

2Bular Exhaust System
This was the biggest upgrade I did to the car, I swapped out the stock exhaust for one by 2Bular. There are three popular exhaust brands for the Lotus, 2Bular, Komo-tec and Larini, all three cost the same so in the end it came down to aesthetics and sound signature. 2Bular won on both those counts for me. The 2Bular exhausts are hand built by a guy called Jim Valentine in Aberdeen and he just does Lotus exhausts and nothing else. It took around a month from when I placed an order, had him build it and then get it shipped and delivered to my door here in Kuwait. Last year he had a backlog of orders and so was taking months to deliver the exhausts to customers which is why I was grateful it just took a month in my case. I had the exhaust installed at a local garage called Gemballa and I’m currently in the processes of breaking it in. It sounds really angry so far, but like the stock exhaust its also valved which means I can have it quiet when I want it quiet, and loud when I want it loud.

Soft Top
This is the last thing I got but won’t be using it till fall when the weather cools down. During the cold months I’ll be removing the hard top roof on the car and replacing it with the soft top. It will make taking off and putting on the roof a lot easier plus it rolls up and fits in the trunk, something I couldn’t do with the hard top. New at the local dealer the soft top costs KD900, but I found a used one on the German eBay for KD400 shipped to Kuwait. I decided it was too good a deal to pass and just bought it and will now store it till winter.

Whats Next?
Nothing, I think I’m done for now. I’m considering getting a small sub for the sound system, but because of the size of the car, it’s gonna be a bit of a headache to install and hide which is why I haven’t pulled the trigger on it yet. Other than that though I think I’m done with all the upgrades. I fucking love this car and I’m so glad I’ve got a friend getting one because we basically spend the whole time now sharing Exige videos and talking about the cars. It’s so much fun.


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No More Illegal Parking at the Kuwait Airport

Post by Mark

The Civil Aviation authority has banned illegal parking at the Kuwait Airport. Previously the long term parking lot would be filled with cars parked on top of curbs and in no parking areas, but this will no longer be allowed. Parking attendants will no longer let you in if the parking is full and if you do park illegally, you will now be fined KD150. Like most new decisions in Kuwait, I doubt this will last long.


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Nitrogen Air at Gas Stations

Post by Mark

KNPC gas stations have started fitting nitrogen air to use for filling your tires up. So is nitrogen air better for your tires? Well firstly to take advantage you’d have to completely empty the air out of your current tires and fill it with nitrogen, but even then you won’t see any benefits according to Tiff from Fifth Gear. Check out his video below.

So regular air or nitrogen air, same same.


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ORP’s 4×4 Shop Now Online

Post by Mark

Off Road Performance (ORP) is a 4×4 aftermarket parts specialist that’s located right here in Kuwait. They are my go-to place whenever I need to upgrade anything in my FJ Cruiser and I’ve been using them ever since I found out about them back in 2010. They carry a bunch of popular 4×4 brands like FOX, Warn, Teraflex, KC Hilites, Bushwacker, Fabtech, Mickey Thompson and a lot more.

A couple of weeks ago, ORP launched an online shop which I found out about over the weekend and I’m in love with it. I also hate it a bit since I’m now worried I’m going to be on the website all the time looking for items to buy.

The website is clean looking and easy to flip through but my favorite aspect of it is that once you choose one of the sections (pictured above), you can then choose your car from a dropdown menu and the website will only show you parts that are compatible with your car. This small feature makes flipping through all the items a lot more efficient.

I’m so glad they setup a full fledged online store instead of going with the easier route of just turning their instagram account into a shop which is what a lot businesses tend to do. So if you’ve got a 4×4 and are looking for parts for it, check out their website [orp.com.kw]


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RedBull Car Park Drift Recap

Post by Mark

If you missed the car park drift competition this past weekend, someone made of a video of the whole thing and uploaded it online. It’s a pretty good video (minus the music) and Sirbb Circuit seems like the perfect venue for this event. [Vimeo]


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