How to Get Euro Plates for your Car

Post by Mark

One of the first modifications I wanted to do for my new Lotus was to swap out the car plates. The car came with the squarish shaped U.S. plates but because of the low and wide stance of my car, I knew the much wider and slimmer Euro plates would look better on it. But I didn’t have any idea on what the process was to swap the plates, nobody I asked had any idea and I figured it probably meant I needed wasta or something. Turns out, all you need is a bit of time and patience.

A reader got in touch with me last week after he reading my Lotus post in which I requested info on plate swapping. He told me he was going to the General Traffic Department to get his damaged Euro plates swapped for new ones, and I could come along and swap my square plates for Euro plates as well. All I needed was:

– Civil ID Copy
– Car Registration Copy
– U.S. Sized Car Plates
– KD5 Stamp
– The Car
– Bdal Talef Loha Orobiya “بدل تالف لوحة اوربية” (you get this from the typing guys outside the traffic department)

I got this done at the Asma branch of the General Traffic Department. Not sure if you could do this anywhere else, the license plate printing facility is located in Asma and I don’t know if they have one located elsewhere. Below is the process to getting your plates swapped:

– First thing you do once you get to the traffic department is visit the container room outside that houses the typists. You need to request “بدل تالف لوحة اوربية” which is the European plates request form. They will request a copy of your car registration and civil ID. They charge KD1 for typing this request out onto the proper form.

– Once you get the form with all the copies stapled, you need to head inside the building and then upstairs. When you’re up you’ll find a stamp machine, buy a KD5 stamp and stick it on the top left of the document.

– Next you need to head over to the the raed’s office “رائد” (Police Major) who will need to sign the document. Now here things might vary for you. As the raed was about to sign my request, he asked what the car was and I told him a Lotus. He didn’t know what that was and so told me to take the car to the vehicle inspection area to have them confirm I could fit Euro plates on the car. I told him I had pictures of the car I could show him, but I think he just wanted me to do a little running around.

– The vehicle inspection area is right next door, so I took my car and headed there, gave them the papers and they just signed and stamped it for me.

– I then headed back to the raed, he took my paper and signed and stamped it as well.

– Now you’re nearly done. The next step is to make a copy of your signed document and then take both the original and copy of the document and head to one of the computers so they could insert your request. Depending on how nice the person handling your papers are, they might have on of the helpers make the photocopy for you which is what happened in our case.

– Once your request is inserted into the computer you need to leave the building and drive over to the car plates section which is located on the side of the main traffic department building.

– Make sure you have a copy of the request along with your old car plates. You need to remove them off your car yourself so make sure you have the correct tools with you. Hand over the final document along with your old plates to the guy sitting behind the desk and in around 10 minutes you will get your brand new plates.

The whole process took nearly 2 hours, it might take you less or more depending on the amount of people there and the steps that they make you take. No wasta is required though which is great and the new Euro plates look much better on my car now.


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Taxi Meters

Post by Mark

Something weird has been happening with me and cabs recently and I’m having a hard time understanding the logic behind it. Years ago on the blog I complained about how cabs weren’t using the meters and instead charging whatever they wanted even though the meters would result in a cheaper rate. So for example a ride might cost 800fils based on the meter but the cab would tell he wants KD1.5 for the trip. They basically made more money not following the meter which they are required by law.

Recently though the price of fuel was increased and along with that the taxi meter rates. But I don’t think cab drivers themselves have increased their rates.

This past month I’ve had to use a cab twice, and both times I was quoted a lower price by the driver than the meter eventually read. So first time the cab driver told me the ride would cost me KD2, I got in, he started the meter and by the time we got to the destination, the meter read KD2.6, but I just paid KD2. The second time I was quoted KD2.5 and the meter at the end of the trip read KD2.9. So I’m really confused, if they use the meter which they are supposed to by law, they get more money. So why are they not using it? I don’t get the logic here.


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GT4 For Sale

Post by Mark

This is probably the coolest thing thats gone up for sale in my classifieds section so far, the rare Cayman GT4. The GT4 was one of the other cars I had my eye on before deciding on the Lotus. Check it out in the classifieds section [Here]


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My Datsun’s Final Send-off

Post by Mark

Last September my Datsun was used in a commercial for the groceries delivery brand Baqal. They were doing an old school commercial and my car fit the theme so they paid me to do donuts in an empty sandlot (always fun). Since then I’ve been waiting for the commercial to come out so I could post about it, and it finally did… a week after I sold my car. So I guess it kinda works out as a final farewell to the Z. She will be missed.


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Hello Lotus!

Post by Mark

Those of you who follow me on instagram and twitter probably already figured out that I sold my beloved Datsun last week because I bought a Lotus Exige instead. It wasn’t a planned purchase, it just happened, I guess something like an impulse buy but on a grander scale. Last Saturday I went with a friend to check out a 1972 Chevy C10 pickup truck which I was planning to buy. On our way back I had to drop my friend off at a garage when I came across a used car lot that had a yellow Lotus Exige displayed for sale, the same one I had reviewed nearly a year ago. So I sent the Lotus brand manager a message about it and he told me if I had an itch to drive the Exige again, they had the roof off on their current vehicle and I could come in the next morning and take the car out for a couple of days. Who would say no to that?

The next morning I headed straight to the Lotus dealership and picked up the Exige. A few minutes after driving off in the car, I had a huge smile on my face I remembered why I loved it so much when I took it out last year to review. So when the brand manager messaged me back the next day to confirm I would be dropping the car off in the evening, I told him I had fallen in love with it and this time I wasn’t bringing it back. After a couple of days of negotiating on the price over whatsapp, I went back to the dealership and paid for the car. I’m still unsure if I got a good deal or not since I don’t consider myself a great negotiator (Tip: Do NOT tell the dealer you love the car), but I’ve got the car now with no regrets so thats all that matters.

When I originally wrote my review of the Exige last year, I described it as a car not meant for 99.9% of the people and I still stand by that. I actually spent most of that review complaining about the car. It’s extremely quirky to put it nicely with a lot of odd and unorthodox things about it. But, with all the issues I had with the car when I reviewed it, something about it really attracted me to it. I’ve reviewed a lot of amazing cars for the blog but nothing connected with me the way the Exige did. I love sitting inside the small cozy cockpit, I love the way it looks on the outside, I even love how awkward it is to get in and out of and I definitely love recording videos of my friends trying to get out of the car. If the Exige was a person, it would be an awkward introvert and I think thats why I love it.

There are only 3 Exige’s in Kuwait at the moment, my midnight blue one, a white one and a yellow one so it’s a pretty rare car and I feel special. But, I’m now curious to see what that means to the cost and availability of parts, supposedly service costs is similar to Lexus which is great, but I didn’t ask about the parts since I didn’t want to freak out and change my mind about buying the car. Speaking of parts, there is a pretty active online community of aftermarket parts and I’ve already got my eye on some carbon fiber body panels and other upgrades, but the first thing I want to modify on the car is the license plates. For some reason Alghanim (the dealer) installed square ones on the car but I think the wider rectangular ones would look so much nicer on it. So if anyone knows what the process is for swapping the square plates for the rectangular ones is, please let me know!


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Goodbye Datsun

Post by Mark

240z-1

Next week would have been my one year anniversary with the 240z but yesterday, I sold the car. I didn’t want to sell it, but I’m getting another car and it just wouldn’t have made sense to own three cars. The night before I sold the car, I took it out for one last drive and it was just so sad. I felt like I was giving away my dog. Not sure why I was being very sentimental since I had the car for only a year. I think was because I was driving it everyday and had spent so many late nights at my mechanic making her a daily drivable car.

240z-3

Luckily a good friend of mine who is a car nut bought the Datsun from me so I’ll still get to see it. I’m actually looking forward to seeing what he’ll do with it since he’s restored other old cars before and my Datsun could use a bit more TLC from someone like him. Watching him drive off with the car though was still a pretty sad moment.

So no more Datsun, it was fun while it lasted.


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Fahaheel Expressway Flooded

Post by Mark

A friend forwarded me the video above of the Fahaheel Expressway near Mangaf completely flooded. As you can see in the video a lot of cars drowned sank and many people were stranded. I have a friend who lives in Mangaf as well where their whole neighborhood flooded and all the underground parking lots filled up drowning their cars as well. Pretty messed up.

Thanks Ghadeer


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Kuwait Motor Town Race Circuit from Space

Post by Mark

The Kuwait Motor Town Race Circuit is expected to be completed sometime next year but you can already see the layout of the track from space using Google Maps. You can compare the satellite view from top to the rendering below for a better idea of what you’re looking at.

For some reason the track doesn’t show when using a desktop browser but only when accessing the coordinates from your phone. I guess the desktop version of Google Maps isn’t updated yet. So if you want to see the track from your phone, click [Here]


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Portarage Roadside Assistance App

Post by Mark

This is kinda related to my previous post, Portarage is a local roadside assistance app that allows you to request help if you run into car problems. The app has four different kinds of assistance you could call for:

– Tow Truck
– Flat Tire
– Petrol
– Battery

A couple of years back I had posted about a similar app called Winch but that’s no longer available or working and was only for calling a tow truck. Portarage should be a better alternative since not only can you request a tow truck but you could request a jump start, help fixing a flat tire or call for fuel in case you run out.

The app is available for both [iOS] and [Android] and is free to download.


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Niceness Level 10

Post by Mark

I ran into a mechanical problem on my way to work this morning in my Datsun. As I was driving down the Gulf Road, my accelerator cable broke. Luckily I was driving fast enough so I could change lanes all the way to the right and then coast through a green traffic light until I managed to take the exit into the Chili’s parking lot. By then my car was going super slow but it still had enough momentum for me to find a spot and park my car. I checked under my dash right away and saw the frayed cable. I was upset but calm since I know with old cars you need to have patience and mine barely gives me any trouble anymore considering I drive it everyday and I’m not really gentle with it. After a few minutes of contemplating what I should do, I decided I would just try and fix it myself since I kinda knew what I needed to do. Cut the story short, I connected the cable back to my pedal but then ran into an issue with the cable no longer reaching my carburetor. So then had to move my cable bracket closer to the carburetor and readjust the location of my throttle spring and got everything working. If you want to see all the steps I tweeted them: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

It took around an hour and I felt a sense of accomplishment when I was done, but thats not what this post is about. While I was working on my car in the Chili’s parking lot, two guys came up to me and asked if I needed any help.

The first guy looked a bit “3agaidi”. He pulled up in a white Hyundai with fully black tinted windows as I was about to start work on the car and asked me if everything was ok and if I needed any help. I told him I was good and explained to him what the problem was. He offered to drop me off to Shuwaikh or home if I wanted to but I told him I was going to fix the car myself. He then told me he had a 79 Datsun himself, but that he uses it only for “استعراض” which roughly translates to, “I do burnouts in the middle of public roads”. He was pretty nice though and left after a few minutes by driving out of the parking lot the wrong way (of course).

The second guy who came up to me was an older American guy. I was halfway through the job and he also asked me what was wrong and if I needed any help. I told him the accelerator cable broke but I managed to reattach it. He asked me if I had enough slack left to get the cable back to the carburetor and I told him I didn’t, but I was working on a fix for that by moving the cable bracket closer to the carb. He told me he was a Suburu guy so he knew a thing or two about repairing cars (car people will understand this). He was with his wife and they walked around looking at the car for a bit before they went into Chili’s for brunch. Now here is the cool part, around 25 minutes later as I had just finished up and was done testing the throttle, the American guy comes back out with an ice cold lemonade! He’s like you’ve been working under the sun so I figured I’d get you a lemonade.

Like seriously wtf? That was probably one of the nicest things a complete stranger has ever done for me. He handed me the lemonade and then walked all the way back into Chili’s. I was thinking like wtf? Since when are people this nice? It also made me feel like such an un-nice person myself. I would never have thought of doing something like that to a complete stranger. I mean, I think I’m a nice guy, but if I was like Level 6 on the nice scale, this guy was a Level 9 or 10. I wish I had gotten his name or went inside to Chili’s after I was done and thanked him again. But at that point I wasn’t thinking straight, I just wanted to get out of the sun and my car out of there and back home. His niceness really only hit me once I was driving back hone drinking the lemonade.

Although my morning didn’t start off great, the experience with the two strangers was really an eye opener. I kinda want to try and be nicer to strangers from now on. I’ll have to check back on this a year from now and see how this plan turns out.


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