When you think of Dubai, you think a city famous for quite a few things – The worlds tallest structure, the worlds largest mall, the worlds largest indoor ski resort, insert handful other worlds biggest things. But of course, that was not always the case. From humble beginnings come great things. And there was a time when the Dubai World Trade Centre was the only tall structure one could see for miles.
The beginning of Tomini Classics is no different. What started off as a simple purchase of a 67’ Jaguar E Type, has now become one of the biggest private classic car collections in the Gulf. A collection that deservedly, has its own showroom.
With over a hundred cars valued around the USD twenty five million mark as of today, this place is nirvana, literally. And you can take home a part of ‘heaven’ with you; provided you are able make an offer to the Chairman of Tomini Group. An offer he cannot refuse.
It is apparent that we at carculture.ae have a soft spot for classics. Truth be told we have a soft spot for anything on four wheels, the Fiat Multipla is the only exception here. Thus when the Tomini Night Tour date came up, I headed straight down to their showroom in Al Quoz, to enjoy what they like to call ‘A walk across six decades of automotive history’
It took Miguel Llorente, one half of the two-man army at Tomini Classics only a couple of seconds to spot a hungry Rob; in a carculture.ae shirt by my side. All was good though, as a quick chat, a few donuts and a cuppa later, we were ready for our Night Tour.
Taking a rather quick flight from Britain, we landed in Stuttgart to vier of Ferdinand Porsches finest creations – The 911, the direct replacement for Porsches first production vehicle – the 356. Arranged on Tomini’s floor by model years, the red example is a 1965 specimen and one of the earliest 911’s on US shores, the orange model is a 1970 US spec 911S 2.2 on classic Fusche wheels and the blue model is a 1973 example.
Lurking in the background however, was the holy grail of 911’s – a 1973 2.7 Carrera RS. The RS (Rennsport) badging stands for ‘Racing Sport’ and signifies a competition Porsche. Going by todays standards, a car is fairly quick if it does nought to hundred in a whisker over 5 seconds. This Porsche however, accomplished that feat fourty-four years ago!
A lightweight body, a high-revving motor and responsive steering make this Porsche the perfect recipe for the driver. A pretty expensive recipe may I add, with an average price of 750,000 USD.
To my left was arguably the finest automobile from Germany and to my right was its equivalent from the far-east. Japans first attempt at a super-car, a machine revered for its handling and precision. A car that during its final development stages, was fine tuned by none other than the rainmaster, Ayrton Senna himself – the Honda NSX.
From what we know, this 1991 first gen is the lowest mile NSX on the planet, with only 65 miles on the counter. That’s just a whisker over 100 or so km. I was in frenzy when I saw this car at Caffeine and Machine; needless to say I was drooling uncontrollably again. I don’t think there is another car that would make me feel this giddy – I thought to myself.
But I had spoken too soon, because just as I finished admiring the Honda, I stumbled upon what looked like a 1967 Ferrari 330 P4. And I had to press Miguel about it, because I have more chance of spotting a rainbow-colored unicorn in Dubai Zoo, than coming across this car in flesh.
Nevertheless, this model is a replica from the ground-up - a modern interpretation of the 330 P4. Featuring a tubular steel frame and hand-formed aluminum body, the owner completed this project sometime in 1998. Miguel referred to him as a mad guy from the States, and he could not be more accurate. I like to call him Bob Norwood, for the record.
Parked just a little ahead of the P4 replica was the legendary Lancia Stratos. This 1976 model being the only one I have seen on these shores. One of the finest creations to come out of the House of Bertone, this car racked up multiple wins and three consecutive World Rally Championships from 1974-76. A homologation requirement, Lancia built just fewer than 500 of these for the road.
As commanding the Jaguar is, it is not the crowning jewel of this collection. Soon, it was evident. What almost every visitor was looking forward to when they RSVP’D to the Tomini invite. A glimpse of the most expensive Asian car ever sold – the Toyota 2000GT. Produced from 1967-70, the 2000GT was Japans first ever ‘sports car’. It is an automobile that forever changed how the world would view the Japanese auto industry. Arguably, it is this car that laid the first stone for the path that sports car from Nippon would take.
Only 351 vehicles saw the light of day, with most being painted either white or red. With a hand-made aluminium body, the 2000GT was the first Japanese vehicle to feature a limited-slip differential, disc-brakes and independent suspension on all four corners. It also holds the honor of being the first 'million-dollar' Japanese sports car.