Crazy Trucks & SUVs at Saudi Arabia Cars and Coffee!
Old GMCs, New Fords, and Even a Hummer!
It's a great time to be a truck fan, no matter where you live. We recently had the unique opportunity to attend a cars and coffee event in Riyadh, the capital city of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We knew trucks were a big deal in the Middle East, but nothing could have adequately prepared us for just how deep the car culture actually runs.
Also surprising was how well most people spoke English, which naturally helped us in sharing our love for cars and trucks. We learned a bit about import laws, which year vehicles can be brought in and from where, along with what types of modifications are allowed and which ones aren't. As it turns out, aside from emissions testing, they aren't that far off from us in the United States. Most modifications are illegal, so those wishing to customize their rides do so on the down low. To import a vehicle not sold in the Kingdom it either needs to be brand new, or more than 30 years old (don't quote us on this, remember the language barrier). Because of this there's also a vibrant gray-market for importing American and European vehicles through neighboring countries.
Classics can be registered as such but aren't supposed to be driven on the highway. Still, that doesn't stop many as they say the local police aren't likely to run the plates unless they've done something outrageous.
What may have surprised us the most, and we totally blame this on Hollywood, was the lack of supercars. We arrived thinking there would be a sea of Lambos as far as the eye could see. Instead, what we found were clubs consisting of older GMC pickups, Ford F-150s, and Jeep Wranglers. A lot of the trucks were stock, but there were a few that were heavily modified, this held especially true for the Wranglers. We saw a couple Ford Raptors, a Mustang body on a 4x4 chassis, and even an H1 Hummer.
We were told by the organizer that this event happens every Friday during the cool season at the Tim Hortons in Riyadh (amazingly Timmy's has been in Saudi Arabia since 2014!). Most of the time the event draws 20 to 30 vehicles. However, when word got out that American journalists and celebrities (Chip Foose, Denis Collins, and several other TV personalities attended) the event exploded to more than 200 vehicles with people driving as far as 400 kilometers to attend.
It was truly an impressive event. And it showed us that the love of cars and trucks transcends almost everything else, bringing together people of all races, religions, and political backgrounds, uniting them under one common love. Truly the car culture is alive and well all around the world.