The Sultan of Brunei’s Car Collection
Ferrari wagon-izations and hypercars bathed in magnetizing yellow are just a couple hints the Sultan of Brunei is perhaps the most Jalopnik head of state in the whole world. Like us, he seems to have a maddening obsession with odd cars. However, what sets him apart is his seemingly unending pot of money with which to manifest his wildest automotive fantasies.
Although word on the streets of Bandar Seri Begawan is his fiscal fortunes have depleted as of late, before he sold off some of his assets, he and his family created what may be the most impressive car collection the world has ever seen. Although we already knew this, it wasn't until we were surfing the pages of our fave super car photo site that we realized the sheer height of awesome the collection truly achieved. Not only did they gather production cars, they commissioned the creation of entirely new models from manufacturers like Ferrari, Aston Martin, and Bentley. Hit the jump as we walk you through the crème de' le' crème of the massive collection of automotive exotica found in the garage of the Sultan of Brunei.
Here is a video of exactly what his garage looks like:
Here's a perfect example of the type of asks the Sultan would make to automakers. The V8 Vantage of the '90s was an awesome piece of brutish British muscle. In our mind, the only way to make it more badass was to add more doors, and it would appear the Sultan was of the same mindset as the Brunei royals ordered Aston Martin to convert some Virages to Lagonda-badged sedans and wagons. Some were even converted to Vantage technical specification.
Done in-house by Aston Martin Works, the Aston Martin Special Series 1 was styled to look like the classic DB4 Zagato. But while the old DB4 had to make do with an inline-six, the Series 1 rode on a V8 Vantage platform complete with twin-supercharged V8 power. Because when you've got the money to make it happen, you make it happen.
Where the Series 1 was pure retro, the Series 2 was the culmination of contemporary. Striking a nice balance between elegant and aggressive, the Special Series 2 was also believed to be based on the V8 Vantage. Sounds like a nice way to counter-balance the design of the Series 1. Or at least the Sultan seemed to think so.
The AM3 was the most non-traditional design of all the custom Astons. Perhaps this was because it was bodied by Pininfarina in Italy. The lights were given a smoked treatment to blend in with the black plastic front fascia. And like all great contemporary designs, it still looks modern today.
Although the AM4 was much more conservative than the AM3, it too was designed by the denizens of the clay workshops of Pininfarina. Also on the V8 Vantage chassis, we think it looks something like a big DB7.
Before the Porsche Cayenne or Cadillac Escalade, if you wanted an SUV with a stuck-up sense of over-built purpose, there was only the Range Rover. Unless you were the Sultan, in which case you'd commission Bentley to construct a batch of SUVs with a unique Bentley chassis and Range Rover 4WD systems. At least they didn't ride on 24" spinners.
Originally the Java was a concept to show what a Bentley based on a BMW 5-series might look like. Apparently the Brunei royals liked it enough they had Bentley build a convertible version of the show car. The gleefully exorbitant brand-bastard madness didn't stop with the drop-top, as it appears he had some wagons built as well. Though from what we understand they didn't actually use a BMW for these functioning examples of concept gone crazy.
We told you this guy loved wagons — and an extended-end Bentley is certainly an expensive way to show that love. While we're not too keen on the I'm-Lovin'-It McDonald's themed interior on the jaundice-colored Bentley, we adore the styling on the silver one. What's better, if you believe the badges, these were equipped with four-wheel-drive. Think of it as a Volvo wagon — except symbolizing the opposite of every ideal of the Swedish brand.
Back when all Bentleys were styled starting with Lego models, the Rapier was designed to be a modern and forward-thinking interpretation of the brand. The flowing lines are still more sleek that the current lineup from Crewe. Although now, the front view might cause people to initially confuse it for a Jaguar XF.
The BMW 850CSi was the best you could get from Bavaria, but that wasn't good enough for the Sultan. This version of the big coupe is tuned by Alpina and called the B12. In addition to those fancy stripes and vents, the car had a V12 pumping out about 350 HP.
Yes, that's right, with a 16-cylinder engine made from two V8s stuck together, the Cizeta-Moroder V16T was one of the most ambitious hypercar projects ever attempted. The engine was mounted in a Fiero-like sideways fashion, instead of the longitudinal way you'd expect in a Lamborghini. Even the headlights were over-the-top, it had two flip-up lamps on each side.
Known as the Dauer 962 Le Mans, it's an extremely limited edition street-version of Porsche's dominant 962 race car. It's also said up to five of these once lived in the Brunei royal garage, but we're told this yellow example was apparently the favorite. At one time, they were arguably the fastest road cars in the world. That is, if you actually consider them "road cars."
The Ferrari 456 is arguably the most elegant car to come from Maranello in recent years. That being said — why stop with mere elegance when you're a Sultan. No, a Sultan demands indulgence. Which we're assuming is why he built himself a four-door sedan and wagon version of the Italian stallion. With a wave of his hand, he commissioned design-shop Pininfarina to build some super-sized versions. We're even told the Sultan reportedly had them set up shop on the royal grounds, just for this sort of special project. Must have been why they tossed in that sexy drop-top 456 Spider at no extra cost.
The Ferrari F40 only came in red, right? Not if you're the Sultan. It's ironic to see the most exciting car of its day in the most drab color imaginable, but we think it's awesome.
Obviously, this wasn't the only McLaren in the garage, but where else are you gonna find one in yellow? And we all know what yellow is good for. We can see it now — the Sultan cruising — one chick magnetically sealed to each side due to the raw yellow magnetism of the McLaren. Yeah, or else he had so many credit cards in his pockets, the stripes on the back actually became magnetized. Whatever the reason, we're assuming the man doesn't need a yellow McLaren. But we're also assuming that wasn't his reasoning behind the color either.
Essentially a re-bodied SL, the Argento Vivo design was originally a Honda concept car by the same name. But what sets a Honda concept apart from a Mercedes is all about what's under the hood. In this case, an AMG 7.3-liter V12, the same engine used in the Pagani Zonda.
Yet another awesome wagon, the special S-class Touring model was designed just for the Sultan. Of course, it never hurts to have some extra power to drag around all that extra cargo room, so AMG installed another one of their 7.3-liter V12s under that pretty hood.
No, that's not just a sheet-metal restoration. It's been restored by HWA, the people that made the CLK-GTR, and was given modern underpinnings from a (then) new S-class. Style of the old, power of the new. We like that combination.
The Sultan didn't just use HWA for the 600 above. Like many tuning houses, the Sultan of cars had them take a swing at a few four-wheeled wonders. Like the Mercedes above. Sure, it looks just like a normal 300 SL, but it's got a modern drivetrain. That gives it plenty of "go" to match the gullwing "show."
Ok, so this wasn't actually called "The Panty Dropper" or "The Shaggin Wagon" but it might as well have been. Why else would you have a yellow Mercedes Sprinter with a red interior? We're wondering if those seats fold down conversion van-style. What happens in Brunei, stays in Brunei, right?
What could be better than the Rambo-Lambo? How about a wagon version? Just looking at this thing pumps enough testosterone into our system to make us want to go on a Lion-hunting expedition. In the middle of a war zone.
Think Jaguar's XJ220 is just too ugly? Of course not. So why would you have one re-styled by Pininfarina? Because you can, and because the end result looks absolutely fantastic.
Nowadays, it's common to see stretched Escalades and Navaigators, but this Range Rover was stretched long before big SUVs were played out. We wonder how it'd do off-road? Our bet is we'd find out right about the first time we tried to scale a rock taller than a foot.
Styled by Bertone, this one-off Roller dubbed the Majestic is distinct enough to be noticed by those in the know, but subtle enough to be overlooked by most everyone else. Much less vulgar than say, a current Phantom.
What collection would be complete without a basic stretched Rolls-Royce? We're sure the Sultan had plenty of limos like these, but something about this Roller just gives it the quintessential "rich guy" flavor.