The mid-week long read: the perfectionist
Meet the Middle Eastern Porsche collector for whom cleanliness is key
The measured and meticulous Yousef Fittiani’s counts out 80 steps from the exit of Kuwait International Airport to a pristine 2006 Porsche Cayenne S. This is his daily driver, a car park hack, and yet the perfectly polished paint and immaculate interior make it nigh-on impossible to gauge its age. In a country in which sandstorms are almost a daily occurrence, this is a fairly extraordinary sight. To ensure such indefinite perfection, heavy transparent plastic mats cover the freshly brushed carpet. “Constant care is of the essence here; otherwise the cars age faster than they accelerate,” Yousef says with a smile. “I couldn’t bear to see a car from my collection in a neglected state.”
Yousef was born here in Kuwait in 1971. He studied in the US, graduating in 1995 before beginning work in the medical field two years later. His first Porsche arrived at just 19 years of age and now, almost 30 years later, he owns one of the most impressive collections of Porsche sports cars in the Middle East.
On the way to a private, air-conditioned underground garage, Yousef explains how his passion for Porsche came about. It began in the late 1980s, when he started his studies in the US. The wide-eyed youngster was immediately absorbed by and into US car culture: “One of my friends at college drove a 944 Turbo S, a wild beast that was as imposing off the track as on it. The purist Porsche design of the late 1980s had cast a spell over me. After my time at college, I regularly strolled past the window displays of the car dealers.” It was on one of these window-shopping excursions that he saw the car that was to have a profound effect on his future: an Alpine white 944 Cabriolet.
Still separating day-dreaming student from dream car was a sizeable US$42,000. A determined Yousef asked his father for a small loan and began scouting around car auctions on the East Coast. The idea was never to buy a car outright, but instead to school himself in the business. He soon discovered which cars required little care to be resold at a profit, and after a few intense months on the sale-and-resale carousel, Yousef had enough saved up to afford the 944.
In the intervening years, Yousef experienced the greatest roads and racetracks in the US behind the wheel of his 944. During this period he also visited the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart with his father, and by the early 1990s he had acquired another car: a Coral Red 1992 911 Carrera 2. The Porsche bug had well and truly taken hold.
“There was also one other thing I came to appreciate in the USA,” Yousef says. “The family atmosphere of the Porsche Club of America. No matter what corner of society the members come from, everyone in the club is equal and shares a common passion: driving Porsches.”
Back in Kuwait, the headlights of the Cayenne illuminate a red and white gate. An old man with a grey beard stands behind it, squinting into the bright light. When he recognizes Yousef’s voice, he gives a friendly wave and lifts the gate. A few minutes later, the second of two heavy garage doors opens and we find ourselves in the inner sanctum. This is where Yousef houses his collection.
Inside it is a shrine to Zuffenhausen. Since purchasing the 944 he has remained deeply loyal to the brand, collecting T-shirts, cups, caps, model cars, autographs, posters, and calendars. But he has also been gathering together a few bigger ticket items. Casually arranged around the brightly lit room are a silver 911 Turbo, flanked by a white 911 GT3 and a yellow 911 GT3 RS, both from 2007. Across the way is a 997-gen GT2 in Speed Yellow; behind it, a black air-cooled 911 Cabriolet from 1989. But the jewel of Yousef’s collection holds centre stage: an immaculate Carrera GT.
“I wasn’t actually planning to buy a GT. But then I found out that a renowned rally driver from the United Arab Emirates wanted to sell precisely this model with just 5,000km on it. I just couldn’t resist,” says Youself with a shrug. “Fortunately, I decided to go for it at the time, because the GT is a sensational sports car. A milestone.”
The engine bay is immaculate, as if it had just been assembled. Its proud owner flashes a sheepish grin before explaining: “During the initial maintenance work, I went to the Porsche Centre Kuwait several times and actually cleaned many of the car’s parts with a toothbrush before they were reinstalled.”
In 2003, he and several other local enthusiasts founded the Porsche Club Kuwait. As its vice president until 2013, Yousef organised countless gatherings and excursions, driving his cars all over the country in the spirit Porsche always intended. Testament to that, and flying in the face of toothbrushes and plastic matting, Yousef’s Carrera GT now has over 20,000km on the odometer. And he knows it will keep on ticking.