Heard the one about the American, the Arabian, and the Australian? That's the American CHEVROLET CORVETTE
Z06, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Australian journo. The latter's me, lucky enough to combine the first two. Call it a freelancer's keenly-honed sense of opportunity, or just plain dumb luck, but when the stars aligned to deliver the chance to drive a 505-horsepower 7.0-liter V-8 legend in a region of the world drenched in cheap oil I didn't have to be asked twice...
The heads-up display shows 100 mph as we clear Abu Dhabi and head for Dubai, the next emirate up a very straight, flat, smooth road. Until we hit the border, 100 is supposedly fine despite the 120 km/h (70 mph) speed limit signs. Once in Dubai we have to throttle back to 85 mph. Mind you, on either side of that invisible border there's plenty of traffic pulling higher speeds. Low-slung AMG S-Classes, a profusion of Lexii, big V-8 SUVs: Anything and everything new, prestigious and petrol-powered is on the prowl in the fast lane.
Dubai quickly emerges from the desert haze. Towers march across the barren landscape like alien invaders. Then we're in the heart of it, navigating through a canyon lined in concrete, gold-plate and silver glass. We take the requisite tourist snaps of the seven star Burj Al Arab hotel, and the world's tallest structure, the 2717-foot Burj Khalifa. It's an eye-popping sight, a massive, thinning spire that could be a rocket loaded down with booster engines. Clouds struggle to hover halfway up.
An hour later we're well clear of Dubai...and 21st century civilization. All the way to the horizon is a sea of red, wind-whipped sand. A freshly minted blacktop freeway slashes across the emptiness. A black AMG E63 ambles up to our two Corvettes, surveys them and then flatulently accelerates away. Surreal.
Our only other company is a herd of wandering camels. Our guide, local Chevy (and all things GM, for that matter) addict, Mitchell Perera, of Liberty Motorsports, warns they have no fear of cars. Collisions are usually fatal for all involved.