The Sultan’s Secret

21 April 2023

In 1888 Brunei Darussalam officially became a British protectorate, and until 1926, Brunei was of little interest to the rest of the world until the discovery of oil; however, in 1984, Brunei got their independence, and Hassanal Bolkiah ibni Omar Ali Saifuddien III, the Sultan of Brunei became the wealthiest man in the world.

As knowledge of the Sultan’s new wealth spread, he was overrun with many ‘sellers of goods for profits’ proffering everything from art, yachts, private jets and motor cars.

His car collection is legendary, one of the largest in the world, with most of his cars being bought throughout the Eighties and into the early 90s.

His favourite marques include Rolls-Royce, Ferrari, Bentley, and Aston Martin, and between them, he’s spent hundreds of millions of Brunei Dollars buying cars for himself and his family.

The ‘Secret Collection’ is estimated at over 7,000 horseless carriages, many custom-made. Six hundred are Rolls-Royce, with several bespoke motor cars like the Royale, Majestic and Cloudesque and 380 Bentleys.

Bentley built six Dominator SUVs for the Sultan, 20 years before the Bentayga was a glint in Bentley’s eye.

They also built the Buccaneer, Camelot, Phoenix, Imperial, Rapier, Silverstone and Spectre, to name but a few.

His brother, Prince Jefri, has many extravagances over and above cars (a story for another day).

The Sultan was such a vital car collector and car buyer that it’s thought he kept Rolls-Royce and Bentley afloat during their darkest days (before Audi and BMW).

About half of all Rolls-Royces and Bentleys sold in the early and mid-1990s went to the Sultan and his family.