Classic case of overdrive, but don't tell mum and dad

The Life: Gaurav Dhar, business manager at Marshal Equipment and Trading, on his passion for classic cars and how he's revving up interest from others.

Gaurav Dhar with two of his classic cars. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Powered by automated translation

Gaurav Dhar is the business development manager at Marshal Equipment and Trading, a company specialising in card-based payment technology headquartered in Dubai. Here he talks about his passion for car collecting and how he's getting others involved in his pastime.

Where does your passion for classic cars stem from?

I always loved cars. I was born here in the UAE, so you always saw the latest cars on the road and it was always fascinating. Travelling to London and India to study, you constantly had kids growing up talking about cars. You could tell them about these cars in Dubai that no one saw on the streets of India or London. Then it got a bit boring.

How so?

It became too flashy. There was no value attached to it. That boyhood passion of seeing jagged lines of Jaguars and Lamborghinis faded into insignificance as you realised what people had them out here for: they were flashy gimmicks.

So what reignited your interest in cars?

I started reading up on the history of classic cars. I was fresh out of university and had no money to spend, but then I started studying the markets. I got in touch with auction houses worldwide and collectors and museums.

Then you created an online database known as the Rolling Art Emporium, which you're currently overhauling. Who exactly is the site going to target?

It's for existing collectors who want to enjoy and keep their passion going. It's enthusiasts who want to become owners. I decided to start [the site] to be the one-stop shop where everyone can learn about classic cars... whether it's helping people buy cars or giving people advice.

How much time have you invested in creating your site?

Sometimes I'm up until one in the morning on the phone to the US market, calling friends in museums out there.

You've said you've earned a commission by helping to sell certain models in the past. But you also collect as many cars as you can. What do you own?

I have a 1960 [Triumph] TR3A with modified steering. The Triumph was the first car with disc brakes for standard protection. Then I have a 1927 Ford Hot Rod with a 1967 Corvette engine in it. I just bought another car: a 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado. It's not only the first [US] front-wheel-drive car after the [now defunct car maker] Cord [in 1929], but the first car that took seven years to make and went through 1.5 million km of testing before they introduced it into the market.

How much have you invested in your cars?

I have no savings, and my parents are going to kill me … It's just fascinating, and should be respected. It can be an investment. Some people collect art. I like to collect cars.

* Neil Parmar