Middle Eastern Supercar Hoodlums Torment Posh Parts of London

August 11, 2010

Let's face it, this is hardly home invasion or drive-by shootings.

But some of London's most expensive residential neighborhoods are feeling beset by a particularly specialized new threat: public misbehavior by supercar-driving rich folks, at least some of them from wealthy Arab nations.

Yesterday, two wealthy Abu Dhabi residents managed to smash four parked cars along with their Lamborghini and another car in Lowndes Square, in the ultra-pricey Knightsbridge neighborhood. The cause? Street racing at 1:30 am.

The two were later arrested after walking away from the accident and casually telling a horrified bystander not to worry, "We'll pay for the damage." Charges included dangerous driving, driving without insurance, and perverting the course of justice; bail was denied.

The Lamborghini reportedly had been loaned by the factory to a client, and had less than 250 miles on it.

The British press has even coined a name for the supercars involved: "billionaire blingmobiles."

Harrods department store in London, by Flickr user OliverN5

Harrods department store in London, by Flickr user OliverN5

Three weeks ago, London's ever-zealous parking enforcement officers wheel-clamped both a $1.9 million Koenigsegg CCXR--one of only six made--and a relatively mundane $550,000 Murcielago LP670-4 SuperVeloce that had parked illegally outside Harrods department store.

Neighbors have complained about flagrant parking violations by pricey car owners for years. And residents were hardly mollified to learn that the supercars in the latest incident were owned by members of the Qatari royal family, the new owners of Harrods.

A neighborhood group has been formed, and has complained officially to London Mayor Boris Johnson. On the other hand, Middle Eastern shoppers are said to spend $400 million or more in London during August alone, when many take up residence for the month.

Pricey cars have long been common around London, many of them flown in for only a few months still wearing registration plates from oil-producing nations. Some carry distinctive colors--including a truly vile Halloween-themed paint job on an innocent Bugatti Veyron.

Poor supercars. They really deserve better.

[London Evening Standard; Kensington & Chelsea Chronicle; Harrods photo by Flickr user OliverN5]

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