Inside billionaire Sheikh Hamad’s obsession with supersizing cars: the UAE royal is a Guinness World Records holder with a US$20 billion net worth … but why is he called the Rainbow Sheikh?
What do you do when you are one of the richest people on this planet with billions of dollars at your disposal? Obviously, you might end up frivolously spending to fulfil all your desires without having to think twice, right?
His family has ruled Abu Dhabi for more than three centuries, and most of his wealth comes from his family’s control over Abu Dhabi’s oil deposits, which comprise 95 per cent of the UAE’s oil, Celebrity Net Worth reported in 2018.
While the billionaire sheikh seems to prefer to stay relatively under the radar, he’s grabbed headlines with his exorbitant spending to build some wild automotive creations. It seems the 74-year-old loves to live by the motto “go big or go home” – which is clearly evident from his massive car collection split across four museums in the UAE, Morocco and beyond.
Here’s a look at his collection ...
Sheikh Hamad got the nickname ‘Rainbow Sheikh’ from a quirky request
Sheikh Hamad seems to be a big fan of colour, as you’ll find many cars from his collection decked out in a distinct rainbow paint job, including a Fiat 500.
According to Business Insider, back in the early 1990s, he famously asked Mercedes to build him an entire fleet of S-classes finished in every colour of the rainbow as a wedding present, which ended up earning him the nickname Rainbow Sheikh (not because he’s a staunch LGBTQ+ supporter).
Sheikh Hamad apparently takes this nickname very seriously and you’ll find rainbow murals at different places in his museums.
His gigantic car collection doesn’t have a single supercar
According to Road and Track, despite the fact that the billionaire sheikh owns countless automobiles that are on display at four different museums, you’ll be surprised to learn that his massive car collection doesn’t contain a single supercar. The only sporty car in his collection is a first-gen Porsche Boxster.
That’s right: he can afford the world’s rarest and most expensive supercars, but he chooses not to indulge in them. Instead, Sheikh Hamad goes for quirky off-road vehicles, supersized replicas, American classics and Mercedes-Benz cars. What’s fascinating too is that one-third of his collection is made of Mercedes, while he doesn’t own a single car built by Audi or BMW.
His obsession with supersizing goes beyond automobiles
As you can see from Sheikh Hamad’s Instagram profile, he has an obsession with going big, which is clearly exhibited by his gargantuan replicas of various automobiles.
However, more than a decade ago, his interest in supersizing spilled over to a very different kind of project. According to Business Insider, the billionaire sheikh had people carve his name on a mostly uninhabited island near Abu Dhabi called Al Futaisi, forming waterways in the sand.
The winding series of canals were carved into the southern end of the Island to spell out his first name. Measuring almost 3km (two miles) in length, the inscription was so large that it could actually be seen from outer space. However, the letters mysteriously vanished a few years later. It still remains unclear why Sheikh Hamad had it hastily removed.
He’s a Guinness World Record holder
Sheikh Hamad has several world records to his name, which include the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of 4×4 vehicles at 718 cars. While his pyramid-shaped Emirates National Auto Museum houses more than 200 vehicles, according to the museum website, he also built a dedicated museum for off-road vehicles in Sharjah where you can find some of the craziest automotive creations designed by the billionaire sheikh himself.
Here are some of them …
1. The replica of the world
One of the most bizarre creations that’s part of the sheikh’s collection is a giant globe caravan. You can either consider it as a supersized model of our planet with wheels, or a 1:1 million replica of the world, according to Caravan Times. It is not self-propelled and needs a towing vehicle to be moved around. But what’s even more strange is that there are nine guest rooms and nine bathrooms inside the round caravan.
2. The world’s largest running Jeep
The sheikh’s eclectic collection includes a gigantic replica of a World War II-era Willys Jeep that was crowned the world’s largest motorised car by Guinness World Records in 2010. It is almost 6.5 metres tall, making it too big to fit inside the pyramid-shaped museum. While the exact specifications were never published, according to Road and Track, it is powered by a relatively tiny engine that can be seen behind the grille.
3. The world’s biggest SUV
In addition to the world’s largest motorised car, Sheikh Hamad’s bizarre collection is also home to the world’s biggest SUV. Called the Dhabiyan, it’s a 10.8 metre-long, 10-wheeled automotive behemoth that was hacked together from several different commercial vehicles and a military truck, per Times Now News. It’s so massive in size that it makes a Ford F-150 look like a toy car.
4. The world’s biggest pickup truck
Of course, the sheikh also owns the world’s biggest pickup truck, which is a supersized replica of a 1950s Dodge Power Wagon that’s only 64 times the size of the real thing, per Financial Express. Are even we surprised any more? The truck is also a rolling luxury villa with four large air-conditioned bedrooms, a living room, bathrooms and even a patio.
5. Supersized Hummer H1
Most likely no one would call the Hummer H1 small in size ... However, Sheikh Hamad still decided to create a giant replica of the SUV with military roots. According to World Record Academy, the incredible vehicle was revealed earlier this year and was awarded the world record for the largest Hummer in existence. It is three times bigger than a normal Hummer H1 by scale and 27 times by volume.
- Sheikh Hamad bin Hamdan al Nahyan, aka Sheikh Hamad, is an Emirate royal and his family has ruled Abu Dhabi for more than three centuries, with control of over 95 per cent of the UAE’s oil deposits
- The 74-year-old billionaire royal famously asked Mercedes to build him an entire fleet of S-classes finished in every colour of the rainbow, earning him the nickname ‘Rainbow Sheikh’