RAC Cars News


London's Month Of Excess

By raccars Published

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It happens every year at about this time, as wealthy Middle East residents flock to the UK's capital for what has become known as the 'Ramadan Rush.' Last year the explosion of spending was estimated to have reached £73 million, while locals and tourists alike suffer dropped jaws and raised eyebrows watching the most incredible collection of supercars rolling around the streets.

The parade of expensive metal gets more 'blingtastic' and expensive every year, and London's famously traffic crowded streets give ample opportunity for crawling around at snail's pace for passers by to admire. As evening approaches, there is a veritable catwalk of these automotive thoroughbreds lined up outside Harvey Nichols and Harrods, their owners untroubled by such minutiae as double yellow lines or parking tickets.

This year for example, the array of horsepower has included a shiny gold Range Rover, dramatically modified to resemble a space age bar of gold bullion and worth about £150,000. Also a blue, spider web decal-ed Ferrari 458 Italia, which at 3.3 seconds to 62mph, could flash past the gold Range Rover. Plus £350,000 worth of pristine white Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe wearing a Saudi Arabian registration plate, being ticketed outside the Harrods Laduree cafe. Then there's the £900,000 gun metal grey Porsche 918 with unique Oakley modifications, or the bespoke dark chrome Lamborghini Aventador, plus endless other Bentleys, Mercs and even £1 million Bugatti Veyrons.

The wealthy display is a response to Eid, a week of celebrations to close the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. In counterpart to the preceding weeks of moderation and self-control involved in following Ramadan, thousands of wealthy Saudi Arabians, Qataris, Kuwaitis and other Middle Easterners fly in to London with one objective: indulgence. This takes the form of massive retail therapy, and is getting more orgiastic and excessive every year. Where once some of these celebrants may have visited France to share their wealth, that country's ban on burqa wearing means a number of its former visitors prefer to swell the ranks in the UK instead. Along with an entourage of chauffeurs, bodyguards and other assistants, the visitors fly in their cars.

Apart from jewellery and luxury goods retailers, high end hotels and restaurants benefit from the influx, but it's the colourful supercar parade that's the most 'in your face' demonstration of obvious wealth and functions as a tourist attraction in itself, as much as the London Eye, Buckingham Palace or other famous landmarks. Fans of expensive, high quality metal should get themselves down to the more exclusive parts of London quickly for some serious gawping.

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