We’d like to formally introduce the ‘gentleman driver’.
Regular readers of the Nocturnal Bandit may have noticed a recurring theme in a number of the classic car stories that have appeared on these pages. On numerous occasions, a ‘gentleman driver’ has appeared in the story. He is frequently presented as a man who simply puts on his driving gloves, waits for the engine to get warm and at the opportune moment, buries the loud pedal deep into the floorboards of whichever car we are in. Today, I’d like to formally introduce you to him.
I met Assyl Yacine a few years ago on a visit to the Tomini Classics showroom in Dubai. Having seen the cars through the glass, I had ventured inside, only to meet this gentleman who took the time to show me around and patiently explain the little details that make each car so unique. My visits to the showroom became more frequent and every time I visited, Assyl would point out the newest additions to the collection. One thing led to another and I found myself in a 1973 Porsche 911 RS on a Friday morning in June, but that’s another story.
As hot days turned into even hotter weeks, I got to experience an increasing number of classic machines on the road. A Lancia Stratos, a Ferrari 308, an Aston Martin DB6, the list goes on. Being driven spiritedly (and I mean that) to our predetermined shoot locations was always a treat, and I seldom exited the car without a beaming grin on my face.
Additionally, the opportunity to spend time with a fellow classic car enthusiast was something I greatly appreciated. In addition to being a wealth of knowledge on classic cars, Assyl was always ready with a helping hand, be it a Ferrari screwdriver to change my camera battery or a sumptuous breakfast after an early morning drive in the Ferrari Daytona.
Furthermore, the classic car experience doesn’t only consist of getting into a car and driving fast. When you’re piloting a machine that’s spent forty or fifty years in operation, things can and do go wrong. I learnt that first hand too, and it simply added to my perspective on classic motoring. It’s great to put on rose-tinted glasses and wax lyrical about the good old days, but when your transmission won’t shift into a particular gear, all that nostalgia goes out the window. When the car is running on all carbs, however, the glorious noise and the sensation of pure adrenaline in a decades-old machine is almost indescribable. Being around classic cars all day, it is par for the course for a person to get desensitized to the experience of piloting a classic machine. Yet, every time I stepped out of a car with a smile on my face, that smile could only be matched by the one on Assyl’s.
As the summer comes to an end, I am very grateful for those numerous opportunities to ride in cars that had once held pride of place on my bedroom wall, creating countless unforgettable memories. A warm disposition and an unwavering enthusiasm for vintage metal make Assyl Yacine stand out from the crowd and I am glad to say that I count him among my close friends. Here’s to many more miles and smiles together!
Special thanks also to all the staff at Tomini Classics. It’s a supreme team effort to maintain, transport, drive and protect classic cars of this calibre and the Bandit would like to express his gratitude to you all.