The cars are the stars at Yas Island parade

Hundreds of cars descended on Yas Island to take part in the National Day celebrations as the UAE sought to set another world record.

In celebration of the UAE’s 42nd National Day, thousands of cars gathered on Yas Island in a bid to set a world record for the ‘most decorated cars’. Charles Crowell / The National
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Abu Dhabi // Hundreds of the most elaborately decorated vehicles in the country descended on Yas Island to take part in the National Day Union Car Parade.

Mannequins, sculptures, spray paint, jewels, stickers and national flags adorned the vehicles, some of which arrived seven hours early.

The parade, from du Forum to the Ikea store, included motorbikes, pick-up trucks, a military vehicle developed in the UAE, antique vehicles, a luxury vehicle-pick up hybrid, 4x4s, and even a 6x6, with about 300 vehicles in total.

Traffic was so heavy around Yas that police closed most of the roads to incoming traffic as early as 4pm – about an hour before the parade began.

Cris Bautista, 43, brought his family in his pick-up, which not only had the body decorated but was sporting three large UAE flags with pictures of the country’s Rulers. “The leaders are helping the Philippines so much, so I wanted to share some of my love of the country in this parade,” said the Filipino, who has been living in the UAE for 23 years.

Team Spirit of the UAE 1971 had three cars this year, including a 1962 GMC pick-up with pictures of UAE leaders and landscapes covering every inch of the car’s body.

“It’s like a newsreel of the history of the UAE,” said Abdul Jalil Al Marzooqi, one of the team members. In the back were miniature versions of Burj Khalifa, Ferrari World, Burj Al Arab, and Capital Gate – all of which could be lit up at night.

The other two cars included in the Emirati team included a sparkling golden BMW coupe they named Sabiqa Al Dhahiba – the golden racer – and a Lexus 4x4, which was an ode to the UAE’s fishing heritage, with miniature dhows, fishing nets and pearls fixed to the car.

Another eye-catching vehicle was the Nimr, or tiger. But you probably won’t see this on the streets anytime soon as it’s a 300-horse powered UAE-developed military vehicle.

It was dressed in military colours with a giant falcon embellishing its paint job.

Another one-of-a-kind vehicle was Anas Ibrahim’s custom luxury heavy-duty pick-up.

“It’s a Mercedes G Wagon converted into a pick-up and is the only one in the world.”

It was on display at the Dubai Motor Show and was an illustration of what the Kurdish businessman’s company, Militant, will offer the military, police and private customers.

“It took four months to convert this into a pick-up but all its parts are Mercedes.

“I’ve lived in London and even though there is incredible diversity there the unity you feel among everyone in the UAE is unique.”

Sami Sayad drove his family in their UAE-flag-covered 4x4 from Sharjah early in the morning.

“I’ve been participating in National Day parades for the last 15 years,” said the Indian citizen.

“It’s a spirit of oneness and I’m proud to be a part of UAE’s National Day,” he said. “Whatever we are today we owe it to the nation, so I look forward to celebrating with citizens and expats alike.”

This year’s parade also featured an attempt to set a record for “most decorated cars”.

However, the effort came up short as only 171 of the 250-car minimum needed to start the record had passed the strict guidelines set by the Guinness World Record body.

“Egyptians, Americans, Pakistanis, Filipinos and many more nationalities are taking part in the parade,” said Ashley Roberts, the Life and Styles Show event director, which organised the parade in conjunction with the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.

“This says a lot about the involvement of the entire community of the UAE in National Day events.”

The three most creative cars from the parade will be displayed this weekend during the “UAE’s Best Dressed Car” feature at the Life & Style Show’s Speed & Power event at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.