My Dubai Car: 'I've always had a passion for fast cars'

For British expat Anya Johnson, “Team Lamborghini” trumps “Team Ferrari”

By George Kuruvilla

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Photos by Neeraj Murali.
Photos by Neeraj Murali.

Published: Thu 1 Feb 2024, 9:44 PM

Name: Anya Johnson

Ride: Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder, Mercedes Benz G Wagon Brabus 800, Rolls-Royce Cullinan & Bentley Flying Spur

Nationality: British

Profession: Entrepreneur

In Dubai since: 2015

Dubai’s meteoric rise to stardom among the world’s cities has drawn people from all over the globe in pursuit of success and splendour. Anya Johnson, a British expatriate and entrepreneur residing in the UAE for almost nine years is one such individual who has made full use of what the city has to offer. With as many supercars and luxury vehicles as she has businesses, she too is a self-confessed auto-enthusiast. These are her thoughts on the city and her vehicles.

When did you move to Dubai and what do you like the most about this country?

I first moved to the UAE almost nine years ago, initially to Abu Dhabi, and then to Dubai 15 months later. I love how safe it is here and the great lifestyle it offers, especially when it comes to raising my son. Dubai’s weather makes it a great place to live, despite those hot summer months, which is when I escape the heat. The country is so cosmopolitan and has an abundance of experiences, meaning one could never be bored or run out of fun things to do. Also, Dubai is a great hub to be based out of. It allows for easy access to most parts of the world, with the exception of those 16-hour flights to Los Angeles!

What do you do for work or how do you spend your days?

As an entrepreneur, I have many businesses here in the UAE across a vast variety of sectors, ranging from rental properties to salons’ one of which is named The Perfect Blend. My family recently sold one of our businesses here in Dubai, which was a world leader in the packaging industry. Up until the sale, I used to head the Dubai operations, which consumed a lot of my time. These days, I find myself searching for new investments.

I also love to travel, whether that be a staycation here in the UAE or discovering new countries across the globe. Recently I drove my Lamborghini with some of my fellow Arabian Gazelles to Oman. It was interesting trying to squeeze my luggage into such a small supercar.

What kind of car-related activities do you enjoy?

I have always had an interest in cars from a young age, especially for driving them fast. When I was younger, my mother always referred to me as a ‘boy racer’. She said I should have been a boy due to my love of speed, which is why I am so glad to have found the Arabian Gazelles. Now, I get to share my passion with like-minded women. I also recall taking my father to the Yas Marina drag strip a few years ago on Father's Day and beating him eight on eight times, something I have never let him live down. The guys who worked there commented on my skills and stated that my reaction times off the line were only slightly behind those of an F1 driver.

What made you purchase your vehicles?

I have always had a passion for fast cars. For me, “Team Lamborghini” trumps “Team Ferrari”, so when I was looking to purchase a supercar, it had to be the Lamborghini. My son Kaidan also has the same passion for cars. From the age of two, he could tell you pretty much the make and model of every car he spotted. He has a major influence over my choice of cars.

I always use an SUV for my daily drives and after owning a variety, from a BMW X6 to a Range Rover Sport, I just feel like nothing compares to the Mercedes Benz G Wagon – it is the pinnacle of SUVs.

What do you like most about your cars and SUVs and what could be improved?

My Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder is something else. The roar of the engine, the acceleration that pins you back in your seat, and the experience of driving with the roof down make it a pleasure to drive. However, not a week goes by without the tyre-monitoring warning light coming on. With that being said, the pleasures of owning a Lamborghini far outweigh the issues.

I love my Mercedes Benz G Wagon too. It is the Brabus 800 model. The noise it makes lets all my friends know I’ve arrived. But I am forever telling my passengers that they have to slam the doors to shut them correctly. An iconic feature of the SUV, I am sure!

What does your car mean to you?

Cars mean freedom to me. I, absolutely, hate not having a car and not having the ability to go where I want when I want, so much so that wherever I travel to, I always hire a car. On a bad day or when I need to clear my thoughts, there is nothing more soothing to me than getting in one of my cars, putting the music on full blast, and going for a long drive. Last summer, rather than catching a flight, I chose to do a road trip in the USA and drove through 14 states, from Miami to New York. That is how much I love to drive.

If money were no object what car or SUV would you have in your garage? Where would you like to drive it?

This is a hard question as I love so many cars and have a list of around five cars I must own at some point in my life. High on the list is a Koenigsegg. It could be a Jesko, Agera, or Gemera…give me any model as I am a fan of the brand. A Pagani or the Lykan HyperSport would also be nice.

The ultimate though, is the one and only, Bugatti La Voiture Noire, with its 1,479 horsepower, quad-turbo 8.0-litre W16 engine. Who wouldn’t want a car in the same fantasy realm as the Batmobile!

I love nothing more than coastal driving. So, to me, my dream would be to spend the summer driving the Bugatti la Voiture from the French Riviera to the Amalfi Coast.

Arabian Gazelles is the world’s first and very exclusive, all-women supercar club headquartered in Dubai.

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