Cars and Coffee: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
For most everyone outside of the Middle East, we assume that only basic cars can be found in this region of the world. Of course, there are luxury and exotics cars for the wealthy, but we did not expect that head-turning customs could be found. Recently, we travelled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and were told that on Fridays there was a Cars and Coffee type event held in the parking lot of the Tim Horton’s coffee shop. Curious to see what the people in the area drive, we had the opportunity to check out the event and were surprised at what we found.
Upon our arrival, we were first blown away by the number of vehicles in attendance and estimated about 300 rides total. As we got closer to the parking lot, we soon discovered that there was a lot more to these vehicles than we originally thought. Not only were there wild customs, but there was a wide variety of cool vehicles as well. We soon found out that there is a passionate group of people in the area that go to great lengths to drive something different from the rest.
While taking to a few of the local car owners, we found out that Saudi Arabia has strict regulations on imported cars that are over 30-years old. The people there are allowed to have classics in collections but are not legally allowed to drive them on the streets. Like most car enthusiasts around the world, we sometimes have to become outlaws in order to really enjoy our rides. As you can see, these Saudis don’t let the law stop from enjoying these fascinating rides. Keep reading to see our top 7 from the show.
7. Zimmer Neo-Classic
Built back in the United States, these cars are a bit different to say the least. Basically, they take newer vehicles and transform them into something you would expect a royal to drive. Replicating styles from elaborate touring cars of the early 1900s, these vehicles are in your face. This Zimmer wasn’t something we haven’t seen before, but we definitely did not expect to see something like this in the Middle East.
6. Bizarre Volkswagen SP2
Though this was not a wild custom, it was interesting to see a vehicle that was never introduced to the US domestic market. Back in the ‘70s, the Brazilian segment of Volkswagen decided to make a car of their own called the SP2.
These sports cars only had about 75hp but look super fun to drive. Unable to outperform their competition, these cars were only produced from 1973-1976. As you can see this one was taken care of and kept in good running order.
5. Custom Chevy C10
Knowing where Saudi Arabia is in relation to the rest of the world, we only expected to see European or Asian branded vehicles. This American built pickup was a complete shock to see. Not only it was strange to see a classic Chevy truck, but it was quite exciting to see a wild custom version. This truck had large steelie wheels, air-bagged suspension and a custom paintjob.
4. Outrageous Lifted Mustang
Not only was it shocking to see a Ford Mustang in this country, but it was even more surprising to see one done up so differently. This vehicle is like having your cake and eating it too. The owner wanted something different from what can typically be found in the region but also allow him to take it off the streets for some real fun. The most interesting part is that it uses a classic Chevelle chassis to give it the height for trekking out in the desert.
3. Cool Chrysler 300
In the American classic scene, cars like this have been a hit. Back in the day, distinctive modifications like chop tops and faded paintjobs of the were the norm for show cars of the 60s. Seeing a car like this ’62 Chrysler 300 is really shocking as you would not expect to see a vehicle that showcases styles of the classic American scene. This particular car was built by Zocchi’s Custom Creations in California and made its’ way to the Middle East.
2. Saudi Lowrider
The most amazing thing to see at thing to see at the Cars and Coffee event was the variety of vehicles we found there. This ’58 Chevy lowrider was definitely different from the rest.
With a hydraulic suspension, intricate paintjob and hand-etched chrome pieces, this car really stood out. Making it a true lowrider of Saudi Arabia are the murals of the royal family. This was something you would only find there.
1. Homemade Supercar
Just because you have limited resources doesn’t mean that you can’t own your own supercar. The owner of this creation wanted something unique but within his budget.
Taking things into his own hands, he set out to build his ultimate dream car. We figured that he started with something else, to help it get to this point but were quick to find out that was not the case.
In fact, just about everything from the chassis to the body were custom made. The exceptions to this were the wheels, seats and LS engine. The design is sensational and looks like something one of the large manufacturers might dream up. This car was a true representation of Saudi custom car building.