At 3am on a Friday morning, when the rest of the UAE recuperates from a long week, the distinct sound of engines revving into life breaks the silence of the night. Rashid Al Amiri, founder and president of the American500 club, sets off in his 2012 Mustang Roush RS3, leading a convoy of 65 cars across the Emirates – all the way to the top of Jebel Jais Mountain in Ras al-Khaimah.
No amount of fatigue can dampen the passion of these petrolheads and their appreciation for American muscle cars; it is a shared ethos that brought the members of this club together in the first place.
Al Amiri, a 25-year old Emirati, was inspired to create American500 two years ago, in a bid to put an end to the stringent segregation that existed within the car community on the basis of the brand.
“The philosophy behind American500 is to bring all American cars under one roof. So we have Ford, Chevy and Dodge. Basically, combining these muscle cars in one club that everybody can enjoy and have fun with,” Rashid tells Sport360.
“Back in the day, I used to have a Ford and all my friends had Chevys. So I couldn’t really hang out with them because they were in Chevy clubs and I was in Ford clubs.
“So one night I decided, you know what, why do we have this segregation? We might as well combine and start a club that brought all my friends together.”
An oil hub like the UAE, boasting roads paved to perfection, is unsurprisingly a magnet to motorsport enthusiasts from all walks of life.
But Rashid, who is a final year student at Zayed University and also works for Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), as their site in-charge, stresses that safety not speed is a key tent for his club.
“What I hope to achieve with the club is to basically have a place where people can feel welcome in the car community and I think it’s a good outlet for people to have who truly enjoy cars, but are not reckless,” Rashid explains.
“The club promotes safety, always. We go on drives and before every drive we give a brief on what we are going to do and how we are going to do it and safety, because we don’t want to go out and break any laws. We don’t want to have anybody get injured, we want everyone to be safe and have fun. So, it’s a fun, safe drive.”
The club currently has 200 members and continues to grow rapidly, holding gatherings of a diverse ensemble of cars and an even wider array of people. Bound by a sincere love of muscle cars, these UAE residents soar across the country’s highways in a single disciplined queue, the journey always more important than the destination.
American500 is a club driven purely by passion and there’s no membership fee. Aspiring members can get it touch with Rashid, either through the American500 Facebook and Instagram or simply reach out to him directly to become a part of their monthly drives and social activities.