Kuwait Motor Town Race Circuit Given Green Light

Post by Mark

Under the direction of His Highness the Amir, the Amiri Diwan has taken on several key projects in Kuwait. The Diwan’s project portfolio includes projects such as the new Al-Jahra Hospital, Al-Shaheed Park and Kuwait’s two cultural centers (Abdullah Al-Salem & Jaber Al-Ahmed) set to be complete by year’s end. On 20 June, the Amiri Diwan announced the awarding of a KD 49 million contract to local developer Bayan National Trading Company to design and build Kuwait’s Motor Town.

According to press reports the project aims at building seven race circuits compatible with international standards. These circuits would enable Kuwait to host Formula 1 and MotoGP races in the future.

The project is located south of the city, in Orafjan, adjacent to the Wafra road. The contract also includes the construction of a pit building and a media center. According to press reports, the project is set to include a hotel and shopping mall at a later stage (not part of the current package). [Source]

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Hard to believe but it looks like we’re finally getting a race track in Kuwait. Not any racetrack might I add, but a FIA Grade 1 circuit designed by Hermann Tilke, the same guy behind a number of popular F1 tracks including Yas Marina and the Baku City Circuit.

motortown2

I couldn’t find a lot of information on Kuwait Motor Town online other than the video above and a couple of renderings along with the following brief description on the Tilke website:

Kuwait Motor Town shall position itself as a new place making destination with a unique FIA grade 1 circuit as the nucleus of the state of the art facility, which will attract a wide spectrum of people. Whether professional race driver, or families seeking for leisure activities, or club members desiring premium level services, Kuwait Motor Town with its fully integrated portfolio of entertainment assets will create the upmost exciting and innovative automotive experience for the whole region.

I’m not fond of the name Kuwait Motor Town but it will probably change by the time the project is completed and honestly, even if they called it Cupcake Town it doesn’t really matter because end of the day we’re finally getting a race track. Now I just need to convince Alghanim to give me an 80% discount on the Lotus Exige S.

Thanks q8-msc


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In Focus: Al-Hakimi Auto Parts

Post by Mark

hakimi

Just a quick post about this place. Al-Hakimi has been a life saver for me, I’ve been finding and getting a lot of my mechanical parts for my Datsun from them. They seem to have everything except body parts. So far I’ve gotten my fuel pump, brake pads (can’t believe I found these!), oil pan gasket and intake manifold gasket from them. They even have shocks that fit my 240z. A friend of mine was looking for parts for his Toyota AE86 and turns out they had them as well. It’s a gold mine! So if you’ve got an old Japanese car and need mechanical parts for, I can’t recommend these guys enough. Here is their location on [Google Maps]

Update: Here is a link to their [Website]


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Daily Driving the 240z

Post by Mark

240z

Back in April I bought a 1973 Datsun 240z that was in pretty great condition for a 43 year old car. When I initially decided to buy a classic car I didn’t want one I could just drive on the weekends every now and then but one I could drive every day if I wanted to. Since I bought it I’ve been driving it at least three times a week, mostly more, it’s become my evening car. The experience has been great so far even though I’ve had issues pop up.

Since I bought the car I’ve improved things in it quite a bit. I replaced all the bushings (rubber thingies that cushion metal parts) which removed all the rattling the car had, I installed an AC system so I could drive it during the summer, added a new carburetor to improve performance and a ton of other minuscule things all to make the car more driver friendly. And it’s worked. The car is more fun than ever to drive which is why I take it out so often.

steering240z

But the car isn’t without issues. Firstly because the car is so old, there are no warning lights meaning I need to keep my eye on all the gauges all the time. When the fuel is low you don’t get a cute little orange warning light to let you know, instead I need to check the fuel gauge often to make sure sure I’m good on fuel which I’m not used to doing. Such a small thing but I can imagine when the first car came out with a low fuel warning light people must have thought it was the smartest idea ever. What makes things even more unpractical in my car is the fuel dial isn’t even in the dashboard in front of me, it’s on top of the center console to my right and the second dial out of three there. Same with the temperature gauge, while driving home one day during Ramadan, one of the fan belts tore off and I didn’t notice. So my car started over heating and of course I didn’t get a warning light and since the temperature gauge is not in my field of view I didn’t notice the car over heating until water started splashing out from the radiator under the hood. Now I constantly look at all the dials every few minutes to make sure everything is working right. I also now drive around with my full tool kit in the trunk and a Haynes 240z Repair Manual just in case.

If you’re wondering how I still find parts for the car there is a shop locally I’ll be posting about soon called Hakimi where I’ve been getting my engine and mechanical parts from as well as from online shops like thezstore.com. Even with the random issues I’ve been having (and I’ve had a bunch but they’re too boring to list), I still love the car, a lot. I still enjoy driving it like I did the first day I got it and even more since the car drives a lot better now. Part of the fun of owning a classic car is fixing it up, it keeps things exciting.


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In Focus: Super Shop

Post by Mark

supershop1

I’ve been doing a bit of work on my Datsun and one thing I needed to get was a new carburetor. My car had a small single barrel carb and I needed to get a larger 4 barrel Holley or Edelbrock so I did a google search and found out about a shop called ProRPM. I passed by them but they turned out to be a tiny store and I couldn’t find what I wanted. When I told my mechanic I was having difficulty finding the part, he told me about a place called Super Shop. Not only did I find what I was looking for there but the price was also pretty similar to the price on Amazon. So I went around and took note of all the different brands they carried in case someone in the future is googles like I did. These are the brands I saw in their shop:

AFE
ARP
Auto meter
B&M
BBK
Comp Cam’s
Cometic
Edelbrock
Eibach
Fel-pro
Holley
K&N
Magna Fuel
Manley
Mcleed
Moroso
MSD
RPC
Wix

supershop2

So if you’re looking for any of these brands for your car then this is the place to check out first. Their instagram account is @supershop_kw and here is their location on [Google Maps]


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Careem Taxis Now Cheaper

Post by Mark

careem

Careem is a taxi app similar to Uber but one that actually works in Kuwait. Some of the features of the app include:

– Ability to add a credit card to your account and use it to pay for your rides
– The rides are metered
– Track your ride in real time
– You can pre-book a cab in advance

I’ve never used them but the biggest complaint I had heard about them was that they were expensive. They must have heard those complaints because they’ve now reduced their prices by 30% in addition to the fact they now accept cash payments.

Their app is available for both Android and iOS devices and if you want to find out more you can visit their website [Here]

Update: Careem just contacted me to let me know they created the promo code “248AM”. If you use this promo code in their app then you get 50% off you first “Economy Ride” journey. The promo code is valid until July 31 and applies to cash and credit card bookings.


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New Taxi App – Abi Taxi

Post by Mark

abitaxi

Haven’t tried using this app yet but hopefully it’s more reliable than the other taxi app I’ve tried using before, Q8 Taxi. I tried ordering a cab with Q8 Taxi when I had to drop off my car for detailing and the drivers kept canceling my taxi request. Whats taking Uber so long to launch in Kuwait??

To download Abi Taxi on your iPhone just search for Abi Taxi in the app store or click [Here]


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Police Chase in Kuwait

Post by Mark

A friend sent me two videos from a chase that supposedly took place this weekend. Seems like the crowd was rooting for the getaway driver. If you have any more videos of this chase let me know.

carchase


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The New Porsche 911 Carrera S II (991)

Post by Mark

911-front

The past few weekends have been pretty exciting for me, I had a Lotus for three of them and then this past weekend I had the new 2017 model year Porsche 911 Carrera S. It was actually perfect timing since I had recently taken out the Lotus Evora which I consider a direct competitor of the 911 so it was a good opportunity to compare the two. This wasn’t my first time in this current generation 911, I had previously raced one around the Dubai Autodrome during the Porsche World Roadshow a few years ago. But this model I drove this past weekend was the face-lifted version which they’re calling the 911 II.

911-rear

Visually the exterior of the 911 II doesn’t look that different from the previous years with most of it being just aerodynamical upgrades. But, there are some important changes that take place under the hood. The new Carreras are now turbo charged giving both the regular Carrera and the Carrera S an extra 20HP each. This upgrade has allowed the Carrera S to hit 0 to 100km/h in under 4 seconds making it the first Carrera to break the 4 second barrier. The previous model hit 0 to 100 in 4.1 seconds but this new model now does it in just 3.9.

911-carplay

Another major upgrade is the infotainment system which now includes Apple’s CarPlay. I’ve been using CarPlay since 2014 and although it looks pretty, it’s fairly buggy and lacks some important features. Luckily you’ll still be able to use your phone via bluetooth in the Porsche, something I sadly can’t do in my car. An important thing to mention is you now no longer have multiple options of the infotainment system to choose from. I think thats great because end of the day this is a Porsche so you’d expect all the cars to be fitted with the best infotainment system available. But previously what came standard was an infotainment system that lacked features unless you were willing to plough down around 800KD for the proper one. Now all the 911’s come standard with this new system which is great. Finally one more new feature which I personally loved is the new steering wheel with a rotary switch that controls the driving mode similar to that of the Porsche 918. The steering wheel was oddly my favorite thing about this 911, it felt great in my hands and the design will surely look great years down the line, something I can’t say about the older Porsche 911 (996).

911in

The 911 is pretty much flawless, there really isn’t anything I can fault about the car, even the trunk was surprisingly big. The car was fast, lots of fun to drive and the model I drove had a flashy lava orange color with a beautiful black interior. Which reminds me…People of Kuwait I have a request, STOP ordering Porsches with Bordeaux Red or Beige interiors! Please stop it! Seriously there needs to be an intervention. I was so surprised when I realized I was about to get into a 911 with a black interior in Kuwait, I figured it must have been an international Porsche dealer guideline or something. The Porsches interior looks so much sportier and hotter in black, it’s really the only way to go. Anyway, back to what I was saying, the car was fantastic and I can understand why everyone in Kuwait has one, it’s probably the best daily driver sports car you can get.. which is why I don’t think I’d ever buy one myself.

911yellow

The cars local success is the cars biggest downfall for me. Every other person in Kuwait seems to have a 911. When I want to plucker down KD40,000 for a car I don’t want to blend in with half the population of Kuwait. I mean I get why everyone is buying the car, it makes perfect sense but Kuwait is such a weird place, you’d think these cars were so much more affordable based on the number of them out on the road.

911side

Still that doesn’t stop me from heading over to the local Porsche dealers website every few weeks and building my own car. If you’ve never checked out their website before you should, there is an option to build a Porsche but the best part about it is it will tell you how much it will cost (Jaguar you guys need to add the prices on your website). So I’m on their website every now and then building a Cayman GT4 or a 911 for fun trying to fill it up with options that make sense and offer the most value and I take it fairly seriously as if I’m buying the car even though it’s all just imaginary. After driving the 911 this weekend there is one option I’m taking off the list for sure and thats the KD900 Burmester sound system. It’s not worth it, the car I drove this weekend had it and I was disappointed with the sound. It was extremely boomy and I can’t imagine the stock sound system sounding any worse. Another option I won’t be adding? The Lane Change Assist (a KD210 option), there aren’t any blind spots on the car and anytime the lane change warning light came out, the other car would be in clear sight of me. There are tons of options you can add to the car and they quickly add up. For example the Carrera S starts at a very reasonable KD34,000 but the model I drove costs around KD43,000 because of all the options it had in it. You don’t need door sill guards in stainless steel and illuminated (KD220 option), or the air vent slats painted (KD360 option) or the Porsche crest embossed on the head restraints (KD60 option) or a bunch of other superficial options. So if you hold yourself back with the options you should still be able to get a 911 at a fairly affordable price (for what it is).

911-side

I ended up dropping the car back to the dealer earlier then planned, that should basically summarize my feelings towards the car. I’ve driven a ton of cars over my lifetime, a lot of them were dull and a lot of them were exciting. When I took out the Camaro ZL1 or the Lotus Exige, I was a completely different asshole in them, when I took out the Mercedes S-Class I felt like a pimp. But with the 911, I just felt like a boring and responsible person, it didn’t excite me in anyway. On the plus side, they’ve introduced the Miami Blue color which reminds of the old 90s Riviera Blue 911 (993) which was and is my favorite Porsche of all time. FYI, thats the color to get with a full black interior.

Like I said, if you haven’t done so already, head over the Porsche Kuwait website and build your own car [Link]


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Omid’s Garage

Post by Mark

omid

One of my biggest concerns when I bought my 240z Datsun was that I wouldn’t find a garage I could take it to whenever I needed any work done on the car. The guy I purchased the car from showed me a spot in Shuwaikh where he used to take the car to, but when I passed by to get some stuff done on the car, I had difficulty communicating what I needed done due to language issues and I also didn’t really feel like it was a mechanic that I could connect with. Then while getting my car detailed at ProTech, the owner who had also recently purchased a 240z himself told me about a garage he found called Omid’s Garage. So I passed by to check the place out and right away I liked the place.

Omid is a young guy probably in his late 20s and is really passionate about cars and by that I mean he really loves his job. His garage is frequented by other 240z owners but also owners of other vintage cars and people who need anything from regular mechanical work done to complete engine swaps. Every time I passed by he would be like see this old white Caprice? It has a supercharged LS3 engine producing nearly 700hp. Or see that 240z there? It has a 400hp V8 engine. It’s like every regular looking car parked outside his garage has something interesting under the hood.

mycar2

What I liked about Omid is that it was a one stop shop for me. We didn’t have any communication issues, he was very organized and wrote everything down and I wasn’t an easy customer, I had a whole laundry list of random little things I needed to be worked on my car including:

– Needed AC installed
– Replacing all the cars bushings
– Check brakes, swap pads
– Right turn signal didn’t always work
– Dash lights were too dim
– There was an engine lag on strong acceleration
– Door lock issue needed to be looked at
– Wiper water pump wasn’t working
– New rubber shift boot needed to be installed
– Electric engine fan to be installed
– Alternator upgrade
– etc..etc..

omid1

So as you can see the kind of work I needed ranged from mechanical to electrical and I didn’t even list everything I had him look at. Omid had the car for around 2 weeks and went through my list and got everything done one by one. Not only for example was he able to get AC installed but he managed to hook up the AC to function with my cars stock fan/heater controls. I read about people doing this mod in forums online so it was great he had it done for me. The guy barely sleeps since he’s always working, the last day he was up till 3AM finishing up my car and by the time I got home and went to sleep it was around 4AM. Next day I wake up to find a message from him at 8AM asking me how the car is. Turns out he still hadn’t slept and was still working on other cars. But, he actually prefers working late at night on cars since he doesn’t have any distractions to deal with.

Since I had a great experience I wanted to post about him so that if anyone ever needs a good mechanic they could pass by him. His instagram account is @omids_garage and here is his location on [Google Maps]


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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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