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08-02-2012, 05:44 AM #1Junior Member
- Join Date
- May 2012
Ferrari Saudi Arabia during the 1960's and 1970's.
Dear L4P members,
I've posted this on other forums, but was recently asked by a friend to share given the relative rarity.
Please feel free to ask any questions that you may have:
A warm hello from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
These are based on the vague recollections of my father, who worked in the dealership/workshop as manager from 1973 until 1978.
Ferrari, as part of the Fiat umbrella, entered the Middle East region the in the late 1960's under the agency of Meta Automotive.
META Automotive was a company under the ownership of the late HRH Abdullah bin Saud, the fourth son of the late King Saud, who held the office of Minister of Agriculture and then Governor of the Western Province until the early 1960's. META Automotive was a subsidiary of META (Middle East Trading Agency Holdings) established by the Prince after his retirement from government office.
They served as the sole agent in the ME region for the four Fiat brands: Autobianchi, Lancia, Maserati, and Ferrari in addition to Lamborghini. Autobianchi and Lancia comprised the bulk of sales, between 50 to 80 cars per month, while Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini sold a total of one to three cars per month. Sales of luxury cars were primarily to the Saudi and Lebanese markets. The entire non-Saudi Gulf market would account to one or two cars per year.
The workshop consisted of six to eight mechanics with European and Lebanese experience.
The sales of sports cars during the era was limited by a relatively undeveloped road system. There was only one strip within the city that allowed owners to extract any semblance of speed from their high-performance machines.
Operations ceased in 1978, when the Prince closed the automotive subsidiary for personal health reasons.
Fast Auto Technic reestablished the Ferrari agency in 1998. I'm unsure as to who held the agency within that 20 year gap.
Unfortunately, sales and vehicle details are non-existent. It would've been nice to retroactively track down the VIN and title numbers of the cars sold within the era. All that remain are a few pictures taken sometime between 1975 and 1978.
Feel free to ask any questions that you might have.
I hope you enjoy,
And answered the following question:
Originally Posted by Questioner
Upon arrival in Jeddah, META would then clear the car at customs and traffic police. Jeddah customers would then pick up their car outside the traffic department or have the cars delivered to their house. The agency would have the Riyadh and Eastern province cars transported or driven to the respective cities. A few of the sportier-engined owners from Riyadh would pick up the car from Jeddah to enjoy the stretch of highway and 'break-in' on the way back.
The cars would be stored at the workshop or in covered parking at HRH's residence in Riyadh. Storage was kept in the Capital due to proximity of operations and bulk of sales. The luxury sales ratio of Riyadh to Jeddah was around 9:1. As for long-term storage, I would think Riyadh's average humidity level of ~30% might be friendlier than Jeddah's ~50%?
There is an Official Ferrari Club in the Kingdom. I am unaware as to the full extent of their activities and will update when I learn of their activities. Felipe Massa and Stefano Dominecali visited our Reem ciruit for a Phillip Morris sponsored event during March of 2011. From what I hear from friends, Fast Auto Technic, the Ferrari & Maserati agent in the Kingdom, seem to be doing a commendable job in sales, after-sales, and customer activities.
Captions of images, from top to bottom, left to right:
1. Father, head mechanic, protruding 308, 512BB, and a De Tomaso Pantera.
2. Head mechanic in a freshly serviced 308.
3. Head mechanic and a 512BB. Note the painted 'Prancing Horse' on the workshop door.
4. My baby cousin with the father's black 365 GTB/4 Daytona.
5. And finally, Papa and his baby.
Father, head mechanic, protruding 308, 512BB, and a De Tomaso Pantera..jpg Head mechanic and a 512BB..jpg Head mechanic in a freshly serviced 308..jpg Posing with the Daytona..jpg Papa and his baby..jpg
Last edited by Ramy; 08-02-2012 at 07:35 AM.
08-02-2012, 01:06 PM #2
Very nice write up Ramy. Sadly the oldest Ferrari i've seen here in Jeddah are 360s/550s etc.
Here is a photo that was given to me the other day from the Fast Auto Workshop...as you can see there is a classic in it with new Diplomatic plates on it so im sure these cars still driven here but i don't know much about them:
08-02-2012, 03:48 PM #3
very cool thanks for sharing!"Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won't, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can't."
08-03-2012, 03:52 PM #4
awesome history thx for the share~!
08-04-2012, 06:35 AM #5Junior Member
- Join Date
- May 2012
Thank you all for the warm welcome.
Interesting picture BG, that seems to be a nice 330 GT 2+2.
I haven't seen too many Ferrari classics out in public.
08-09-2012, 12:47 PM #6
Very cool pics...and welcome08 Range Rover Sport Supercharged
08 BMW 328i