A Tale of Two Sultans: Michigan vs. Brunei

by Lucas Elke (not pictured above)

For most car enthusiasts, the dream of owning their favorite car(s) is all too real, if not consumingly distracting. Some keep their fantasies well within reason and yearn for a modest Ferrari, maybe two. While others, myself included, let their dreams escalate into an expansive hangar of exotics complete with a private racetrack that recreates the best turns from the best tracks in the world. But for a privileged few their dream has turned into an absolute reality. Take the aptly named Sultan of Michigan…

An avid car collector from, you guessed it, Michigan, the mysterious Sultan has amassed a fleet of cars that would make an Arab Sultan jealous. Although the “Sultan” himself has managed to maintain a mystical anonymity, his collection has been well publicized.

A member of the MidWest SCC, he opens his garage to fellow enthusiasts on the condition that they respect his anonymity in public forums. As such, multiple videos, photographs and forums of the cars are on the internet and none disclose any personal information, not even his name.

Primarily focused on the glory days of American Muscle, each car from his collection is in mint condition and attached to a trickle charger for immediate use. There are multiple, yes, multiple, ‘Cudas, Chargers, Mustangs, and Camaros; an entire room of Corvettes with show pieces from every generation; and, a large quantity of the best European exotics.

Just how good is the collection? For American Muscle, it is considered one of the best in the world. A few hundred words won’t justify the magnitude of this collection, so here’s a video to help me out. In between your bouts of speechlessness and uncontrollable drooling, try naming a few of your favorites. Below, I’ve listed some of my personal highlights. Unfortunately, embedding this video has been disabled.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMQMgwouKlU

0:27 – The ‘Cuda Corner: One of Plymouth’s most desirable cars ever produced, top specimens can reach $1,000,000 USD. The Sultan has three.

0:59 – Pontiacs: While GM managed to ruin this iconic brand after 84 years of production, a few of their best works, the Firebird and GTO, are seen here.

1:18 – Ford: What’s a serious American Muscle collection without a wall of Fords? Here, there’s a handful of ‘Stangs and a few samples from Ford’s most popular tuners: Shelby and Saleen.

2:45 – The Corvette Room: Obviously the most prominent model in his collection, there’s models from every generation of ‘Vettes. The most important being a Supercharged C1 from Corvette’s first ever production year, a 430hp StingRay, and a completely redesigned spectacle from Callaway (the tuner, not the golf company).

5:40 – Porsche 959: One of the most pristine examples of Porsche’s first ever production supercar, it still has the plastic on the driver’s seat!

6:00 – Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione: Paying homage to the great Mille Miglia Alfa Romeos of the late 1940’s, it is considered one of the most beautiful cars in recent history. Only 500 were ever made and just 90 of those made it Stateside.

6:09 – Ferraris: For being an American Muscle guy, he certainly has a soft spot for the Prancing Horse. Eight of the Italian beauties are present with the first three being the show stoppers: a 288 GTO, F40, and Enzo – Not a bad way to spend $2,000,000.

7:15 – Lamborghini Reventon: Lambo’s most recent poster-child, only 20 coupes were ever produced. The instrument cluster was designed to resemble a fighter jet’s, and so was the price tag.

As incredible as the collection is, what it truly represents is an absolute passion, love, and respect for automobiles and a desire to share that enthusiasm with others, a real dream come true. Unfortunately, dreams can morph into nightmares just when they start to seem too good.

1988 Ferrari Testarossa F90 Speciale

This is the case with the Sultan of Brunei, an actual Sultan of a country, who is known to have had the largest car collection in the world. What most people don’t know is the collection belonged to his third brother, Prince Jeffri. Reports estimate the collection to be 2,500 deep with bastardizing customization done to many of the best models.

What makes this tale a nightmare is the current condition of the vehicles. All of the cars have literally melted away, completely unused, in the tropical heat of Brunei. In his March article for Sports Car Market magazine, Michael Sheehan recants the gruesome horror of a trip to the Prince’s collection. If E.A. Poe were a car fanatic, not even he could write a fable of such terror.

I’ll let you read the article for yourself, but before you do, I’ll try and put it into perspective. The eight Ferrari’s you saw in the Sultan of Michigan’s collection would cost around $3,500,000 at current market prices. Prince Jeffri spent $78,000,000 on completely custom Ferraris built by the design house Pininfarina, including the absurdly groteque Ferrari Testarossa F90 Speciale.

He is also reported to have written off $10,000,000 worth of the world’s ultimate supercars including the McLaren F1, an unimaginable number on Porsches, Lamborghinis, Mercedes and Bentleys. I warn you: read Sheehan’s article using extreme discretion, especially if you have high blood pressure.

A Princely Collection of Rotting Cars

Two Sultans, two very different approaches to flagrant displays of automotive wealth. To each their own.

 

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