Category Archives: Automotive

Ferrari 488 Spider and California T HS Test Drive in Kfardebian

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Scuderia Lebanon invited me for a test-drive on the new 488 Spider and California T HS last week in Kfardebian. The test drive was scheduled on a week day and I couldn’t attend but I didn’t want to miss out so I sent my younger brother as he’s never been in a Ferrari yet.

The event took place at the Massaya vineyard in Kfardebian from 10 AM till 3 PM. An assigned driver would drive us first from the vineyard down to where CBJ is located and then we’d drive all the way up to Warde. Both cars were equipped with an award-winning turbo charged 3.0L V8 engine but the 488 Spider had more hp (661 HP) than the California (553 HP).

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The test drive was perfectly organized, the roads were empty and the weather was sunny but breezy. My brother chose the 488 Spider and was given all the necessary instructions on the way down from the vineyard. Once they got to CBJ, he sat behind the wheel and went for his first Ferrari drive. The first acceleration is always a big scary but he quickly got the hang of it and sped all the way up to Warde. Driving a Ferrari is a truly amazing experience and I’ve been lucky enough to test drive my first Ferrari two years ago and go for a ride in LaFerrari last year. Needless to say, the ultimate experience would be driving a Ferrari on a track but that’s not possible in Lebanon.

Just to give you an idea on how LaFerrari compares to the Ferrari 488 spider my brother drove last week, LaFerrari has a higher top speed (350 vs 329), a considerably larger engine (6.3l vs 3.9l), has 12 cylinders vs 8 for the Spider, and 302 more hp (963hp vs 661hp) which is insane!

Here are few pictures and a short video from the test-drive:

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[YouTube]

Random Car Going The Wrong Way in Yesterday’s Hill Climb

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Jawad Slim Photo Credits: Biser3a

Lebanese Rally driver Jawad Slim almost got killed in yesterday’s hill climb when he almost crashed into a car going the wrong way. Slim was able to miss the incoming car and escaped unhurt but crashed his Mitsubishi in the process.

The question is: Where did that car come from and why wasn’t the stage secured properly? This accident could have easily been a fatal one.

#PekingParis2016: Charbel Habib and Walid Samaha Made it To Paris!

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The Peking Paris 2016 race has finally come to an end and TeamLebanon has made it all the way to Paris! Charbel Habib and Walid Samaha drove their Porsche 356C across eleven different countries and ended the race with a gold medal and second in their category. This is a monumental achievement for the Lebanese Team as no one has ever finished the race with a 356C and maintaining their gold medal despite all the obstacles they faced is incredible!

IMG_1259 You have to be one heck of a driver to cover an impressive 13,695-kilometer in a 40 year old car. Charbel’s perseverance and focus were key to this achievement

IMG_1274 Our heroes would have never reached Paris without Walid’s all-nighters and meticulous work to keep the car running

I haven’t received pictures from Paris yet but the cars are there now. I will update you with new pictures as soon as I have them.

porsche Porsche Lebanon’s unconditional support helped Charbel & Walid enormously throughout the race, especially when they ran into mechanical trouble

italy San Martino di Castrozza welcoming the Lebanese team

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#PekingParis2016: Team Lebanon is One Week Away From Making History!

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Charbel Habib and Walid Samaha just crossed borders to Poland with their 1964 Porsche 356 C after driving over 5000 KM across Russia.

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They are still holding the second spot in their category and holding a Gold medal which means that they did not miss any of the set time targets placed by the organizers.

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They’ve been facing a lot of issues with the car just like everyone else but Porsche Lebanon and the mechanics has been very supportive and things are going well so far. The co-pilot Walid has been working day and night to do the necessary repairs along the way, which has helped enormously in keeping the car going. Yesterday was a big day for the repairs and #TeamLebanon will have to drive for six more days before arriving in Paris and making history!

walid Walid Samaha

The pictures and videos that I am receiving from the team are simply stunning. This is truly an adventure of a life time!

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Enhanced & More Secure (Biometric) Lebanese Driving Licenses?

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1 via Lebanon24

According to Lebanon24, The Lebanese Ministry of Interior and Municipalities is preparing to launch new secure driving licenses that will reduce the use of stolen and counterfeit licenses. The new licenses will come in the form of a chip-enabled magnetic card that uses biometric identification.

I couldn’t find further info on this topic but we are definitely headed towards biometric passports (I will elaborate on this issue very soon) so I wouldn’t be surprised if driving licenses get a much-needed upgrade at last. On another note, what needs to be changed as well is the process to receive a driving license. Chip-enabled driving licenses may prevent terrorists from copying them but they won’t prevent stupid drivers, who got their licenses without taking any lessons or going through a driving exam, from causing deadly accidents.

loool Bayometric? Lol

The Problem Was Never Parking Tariffs in Beirut, but Valet Parking Tariffs

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parking fees

Beirut’s governor Ziad Chbib issued new parking tariffs for Beirut yesterday which were distributed as follows:

Blue Zone (Qoreitem, Manara, Ras Beirut, Serail, Raouche, Bab Idriss, Minet el Hosn): 3000 to 7000 LL
Green Zone (Mousseitbeh, Tallet el Khayyat, Wata): 3000 to 6000 LL
Yellow Zone (Achrafieh, Mar Mikhail, Hekmeh, Sioufi, Hotel Dieu, Mar Elias, Unesco): 2500 to 4000 LL
Red Zone (Bachoura, Mazraa, Tarik Jdeide, Bourj Abi Haidar): 2500 to 4000 LL

It’s definitely a good initiative but one that will be impossible to implement because of Valet Parking companies, especially in Beirut. When valet people book all the park meter spots and take over parking lots, they will simply tell customers there are no spots left and force them to give their cars to the valet and pay a minimum of 5000 LL. The only thing that needs regulation in Beirut and outside it are valet companies.

On another note, who do we report violations to? Do I call the ISF at 11 PM and tell them the parking guy made me pay 4000 LL instead of 3000 LL?

I’m sure the governor has good intentions but we all saw how his decision to ban illegally placed election posters was widely ignored. In fact, there are still posters hanging all over Beirut up until now, including those of the current municipality.

lbc tarifss via LBC

#PekingParis2016: Team Lebanon Off to a Great Start, Currently Ranked 2nd in Their Class!

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pekin paris

The Peking-Paris began on June 12 and #TeamLebanon has been doing great so far! Charbel Habib and Walid Samaha just crossed Mongolia yesterday after 8 days of off-road driving in one of the most adventurous and difficult routes of the Peking-Paris race. It took some time for the team to get used to the GPS system and they got lost on the second day but were able to get back on track and avoid penalties. Day 3 was one of the toughest for the Lebanese team as their GPS system broke down twice and they had to drive all the way back to the mechanics to fix it but since then, they’ve been scoring great times and are currently ranked #2 in their class and #34 overall.

Team Lebanon has already covered an incredible 3,684 KM through China and Mongolia and are performing very well despite having one of the smallest cars in the race. Here are few selected pictures that will walk you through their stunning journey since Day 1 and show you how challenging this race is:

start2 Ready to go!

camping2 Camping on Day2

drive Hello Mongolia!

fixing roof Fixing damaged roof stack

teamlebanon4 Camping …

teamlebanon3 and taking a short coffee break

team lebanon2 Rough terrain

peking paris3 In the middle of nowhere.

drive Stunning landscapes

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#TeamLebanon will spend the next 13 days driving over 5000 KM across Russia. I will make sure to keep you posted with their updates.

Best of luck to Charbel & Walid!

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[YouTube]

For All Those Complaining About the Valet Parking, Stop Using it!

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“Mich Chatir 2ella bil na2”!

That pretty much sums up the below report on Valet Parking in Lebanon. Everyone MTV interviewed was complaining about the valet parking services and sharing their bad experiences but none of them was apparently willing to stop using the valet, as if there are no alternatives or someone is forcing them to do so.

I stopped using the valet two or three years ago and it’s much easier than you think. There are parking lots almost everywhere I go and when there aren’t any, I order an Uber or take a “service”. If I’m with my family and can’t park too far (wedding for example), I drop them first and then go park wherever I want. Sometimes I even park where the valet is supposed to, keep the keys and ignore them. Most of the valet parking guys are assholes and even when they are not, they couldn’t care less about your car.

If you can’t stop using the valet service, then you are probably a show off or a lazy bum or simply couldn’t care less about your car.

[YouTube]

Meet Charbel Habib: The Only Lebanese & Arab Competing In the 35-day Long Peking – Paris Rally

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pekin paris

What needs to be proved today is that as long as a man has a car, he can do anything and go anywhere.

The Peking-Paris rally is often considered as the greatest motoring adventure and attracts every 3 years over 100 teams from all over the world to compete in the 35-day long rally. This year, a Lebanese team formed of Charbel Habib (driver) and his co-driver Walid Samaha is proudly taking the challenge and will be the only Lebanese & Arabic team to take part in this extraordinary journey.

What is the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge?
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The Peking to Paris motor race is an automobile race, originally held in 1907, between Peking (now Beijing) and Paris in France, covering an impressive 13,695-kilometer total distance and crossing many countries in Asia and Europe including China, Mongolia, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy and France.

The 2016 Peking to Paris Motor Challenge starts from the Great Wall outside Beijing on Sunday, June 12th, and finishes with a drive into Paris to cross the finish line in Place Vendome on Sunday, July 17th.

Who is allowed to race?
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The race is only restricted to vintage cars which are divided into four different categories:
– Vintage cars (1920 to 1931 type cars).
– Vintageant cars (1932 to 1941 type cars).
– Classic cars up to 2.0 liters (1942 to 1975).
– Classic cars over 2.0 liters (1942 to 1975).

Who is the Lebanese team competing?
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I had the honor to meet Mr. Charbel Habib and his co-driver Walid Samaha a couple of months ago and I was mind blown by the collection of classic & vintage cars that he has. We are talking about over 40 old cars that include a number of Porsche’s, Ferraris, Lamborghini’s, Mercedes, Bugatti’s, Maserati among others.

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What I loved about Mr. Habib is how devoted and passionate he is about his collectibles. There’s a story behind every old car he purchased and he has a special garage set up to restore all these cars and make them look and run like new. When he was briefing me about his 1964 Porsche 356C, he knew every single detail related to the car, the changes that his team has done and of course the history behind it.

For those of you who are not familiar with old cars restoration, it is more than just a hobby and requires a lot of time, patience, know-how and money. Restoration means more than just making a vehicle’s exterior look nice as you need to go through every single part of the car and try to be as historically accurate as you can. You need to find the same exact parts, keep the same engine, find the right tools to work with etc. Of course it’s always easier to rebuild everything but the real challenge is in bringing back a car from the dead and up to its original factory specs.

Some people look at classic car restoration as an investment but from what I’ve seen and read, it’s more of an art and the skills to work on these old cars are becoming harder to find than the cars themselves.

What is the car?
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As stated earlier, the Lebanese team is racing in a 1964 Porsche 356C. The 356C was the last revision of the 356 series and was succeeded by the popular 911 model. The car features a 1.6 liter twin-car air-cooled engine, disk brakes all around, and the most powerful pushrod engine Porsche has ever produced, the 75HP “C”.

It takes around 10 seconds from 0 to 100kph and weights around 2000 pounds. Check out Jalopnik for a full review of this dream car.

How hard is the Peking to Paris race?
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I don’t know if you’ve ever driven or been in a vintage car, but it’s often very demanding and uncomfortable. When I was visiting Habib, he took me for a ride in his 1964 Porsche 356C and in another antique car from the 1930s. Riding in these old gems was quite special but racing across countries for 35 days with a 1960s sports car is quite hard and physically demanding. Keep in mind that they will have to drive all day, carry with them tents, sleeping bags and all spare parts including wheels, and that the rules and regulations are quite strict.

Of course Peking-Paris is also a fun race and teams will get to camp beside rivers and lakes and enjoy stunning sceneries on a daily basis.

Race starts on June 12
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All in all, being a classic car guy isn’t for everyone and taking part in the Peking – Paris Rally definitely isn’t for everyone. You need determination, stamina, know-how and passion and I’m pretty sure our Lebanese team has them all!

I will keep you posted with updates from the race as soon as it starts! You can follow updates on [ClassicCarLebanon] on Facebook, as well as Twitter [@ClassicLebanon] and Instagram [@ClassicLebanon]