View from the press: enhancing the way vehicles look and drive

published on 26th January 2017
Adam Workman and Hareth Al Bustani of the Abu Dhabi based, National Newspaper, recently paid a visit to Kahn Design.

They were treated to a number of test drives along with a tour of the laboratory in Bradford, and the flagship showroom in Leeds.

Read on to find out what they had to say.

It’s a brisk winter morning on the outskirts of Bradford in the northern English county of West Yorkshire; a crisp day when your breath immediately condenses into clouds of vapour. I’m at the headquarters of Kahn Design, one of the world’s leading car-modification companies.

It couldn’t be much farther from the UAE’s palm trees and sunny skies, but this design-and-engineering venture is no stranger to the Emirates’ love for unique high-end vehicles.

Kahn’s range of upgraded vehicles is more or less a what’s what of perfectly UAE models – Mercedes G-Wagens, Rolls-Royces, Range Rover Sports, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, etc – and has attracted customers from across the Middle East. It sells here direct to collectors and via one-off arrangements with various dealers, although there are plans to establish the company’s own Middle East base this year.

Among the most-recent models to land in the UAE are the "Black Hawk" Jeep Wrangler – under sub-brand Chelsea Truck Co – and, imminently, a one-off left-hand-drive version of the fearsome Aston Martin DB9-based bruiser the Vengeance, built specifically for the Middle East market.

The company’s founder is designer and entrepreneur Afzal Kahn. His motto is "The road is my catwalk", which hints at the Kahn moxie, based more on exterior and interior upgrades than tuning.

"It’s a hobby that turned into a business," Kahn says. "The first car that I modified was my own – well, my father’s. It was a Ford Escort van. I put a set of wire wheels on it, lifted the suspension, put some spot lamps on it ... and a big front spoiler. My dad wasn’t happy when it got nicked from outside the house."

Nowadays, Kahn rolls around with rather more rarefied wheels: one employee mentions the boss’s Bugatti Veyron, which brandishes the number plate "F1". The latter is estimated to be worth millions of dirhams.

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