The Dubai International Motor Show has been the largest car expo in the region for several years, but the Riyadh Car Show, which opened on November 18, eclipses the former in terms of sheer scale.
The Riyadh Car Show differs from traditional motor shows in that it has a heavy focus on exotics and collectibles, with a strong presence from ultra-premium brands including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Pagani, Bugatti and Zenvo. The show in Saudi Arabia is more along the lines of events such as the Pebble Beach Concours (staged at the Pebble Beach Golf Links in California) and Concorso d'Eleganza Villa D’Este (held on the shores of Lake Como in Italy) than a conventional car exhibition.
According to its organisers, the total value of cars being exhibited exceeds $500 million, providing an indication of its upmarket focus. That said, the show isn’t an elitist invitation-only affair; entry is open to all, with tickets costing under Dh150. Organisers are expecting more than 100,000 visitors over the event’s 10-day duration.
“We didn’t face any difficulty so far, even with over 600 cars here,” said event organiser Meshael Alamoodi. “This is the biggest car event in the Middle East and for the first time, Ferrari is participating with us, which is a huge deal, along with two ‘Made in Saudi’ car manufacturers.”
The Riyadh Car Show 2021 Auction by Seven Concours, hosted by Silverstone Auctions, is a key element of the show. Silverstone Auctions had a successful debut at the 2019 Riyadh Car Show, as a diverse collection of rare hypercars, supercars and classic cars were put on the block.
The highlight of the 2019 event was the 2017 Pagani Zonda Riviera, which sold for an impressive $5.5 million. This year’s auction by Seven Concours promises to bring another dizzying collection of best-of-breed cars to market with more than 200 vehicles up for sale.
The lot list already has tantalising offerings that include a 1993 Porsche 911 (964) Turbo S Leichtbau (Lightweight), a 2019 McLaren Senna, and a 2021 McLaren Elva. Also up for grabs are speciality vehicles such as a custom-built 1984 Peterbilt 359 truck and ultra-rare cars such as the McLaren P1 XP Carbon Series.
“We are delighted to be returning to The Riyadh Car Show,” says Nick Whale, managing director, Silverstone Auctions. “Our last sale in Riyadh was unbelievable, with some truly unrepeatable cars going up for auction. Our lot list is growing daily, with dozens of impressive vehicles already consigned.”
Also sure to garner attention from showgoers is the Heritage of the Automobile display, which features classics such as the Jaguar E-Type, Lamborghini Miura and Aston Martin DB4 among others. In addition, there’s a plaza featuring modern classics that include a Porsche 944, a Ferrari F40 and 328 GTB, a Bentley Turbo R and a TVR Tuscan Speed Six.
Meanwhile, the Manufacturer’s Area is more along the lines of a conventional motor show, with participating brands using it as a platform to showcase their latest models. One of the offbeat exhibits in this area is the GFG Style Hyper SUV. GFG Style is a design house founded by ex-Italdesign brothers Giorgetto and Fabrizio Giugiaro, and the Hyper SUV is a four-wheel drive electric monster that’s built on an aluminium chassis and features all-carbon bodywork. The manufacturer says the Hyper SUV can sprint from zero to 100 kilometres per hour in 3.5 seconds and reach its top speed of 200kph “on any terrain”.
Showgoers can recharge in the VIP Lounge, where there’s not only coffee and food, but also a display area that showcases the best vehicles from the public exhibition. The Riyadh Car Show isn’t only about static displays as there are live shows – in an outdoor area dubbed The Runway – where visitors can see drifting exhibitions, as well as stunt shows with barrel rolls, precision driving on two wheels and plenty more.
The Riyadh Car Show is running until November 28, and is part of the Riyadh Season 2021, which is a five-month festival from the Saudi Seasons schedule, where food, art, theatre and live events are all brought to the Saudi capital.