abu dhabi – Mohammad Luqman Ali Khan is an avid researcher of vintage and classic cars. And after a decade in Dubai, the Indian retromobilist is chronicling a book, Automobiles of Sheikh Zayed, with an intention to tell the fascinating tale of the UAE’s transition from camel to Cadillac.
“As a retromobilist, I have been keeping track of automobiles used by the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. For some time now, I have been collecting photographs showing Sheikh Zayed in big American muscle cars of the 1960s and others like Mercedes Benz and Land Rover. The book will include a stunning photograph from the 1960s showing the off-loading of a Rolls-Royce off a dhow,” said the banker nicknamed ‘Vintage Khan’, who has a keen interest in royal cars.
Khan will also collect materials from places like Emirates National Auto Museum and Al Ain Classic Car Museum among others.
“I will visit these museums and check personal collections. I will also interview people who supervised the motorcade and were part of Sheikh Zayed’s entourage. I will spend hours at the National Archives Abu Dhabi, which is a great resource for documents and artefacts,” the Indian expat from Hyderabad, Telangana state, said.
He is hoping that museums and personal collectors will help him with photographs and details.
“This is the ‘Year of Zayed’ and I see the book as a collective tribute to the man on whose grand vision of welfare, equality and progress, this great nation is built.”
The cover of the book will be released in December.
Khan is gearing up to feature his previous book Automobiles of the Nizams at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance show in California next month.
“I am thrilled at being invited for a US release of my pictorial coffee-table book on the exotic motorcars of the legendary Nizams of Hyderabad. My book provides a glimpse into the glorious automotive past of Hyderabad. The highlights include the remarkably contradictory tastes and preferences, where one Nizam owns the most exotic of cars and the other Nizam owns the most economic and cheapest ones,” he said, noting that it took three years of research to finish the book.
He recollected that the Nizams had exotic cars collection like an outlandish throne-shaped Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, which has clocked less than 400 miles since 1913; the luxurious Daimler showcased at the 1905 Olympia show in London; flamboyant one-off Duesenbergs, Bentleys and a record number of Napiers of all shapes and forms.
His book has been invited to complement a special class called ‘Motor cars of the Raj’ dedicated to about a dozen historic cars from the British Raj, which are being shipped and flown from India to the US.
“From a tender age, I’ve always been fascinated with retromobiles and even today I prefer them over flashy supercars. This is a proud moment not just for the expat community but for the whole of the UAE, a motor-loving nation. I cannot wait to step on the hallowed lawns of Pebble Beach to release my book in the presence of the global motoring elite.”