Let's take a look at some very, very rare photos. Slightly cheeky photos as well.
The livery on the plane places the location quite well.
That's right, these are pictures from the tarmac at Brunei International Airport, and the plane in the background is from Royal Brunei Air
Well, this is not a plane spotting blog, but a Bentley Spotting blog.
See the four wheel drive/4x4/ SUV in front of the plane?
Yep, it's a Bentley.
That's right, a proper, real Bentley SUV from Crewe.
It is the Bentley Dominator.
The Bentley Dominator was a special commission coachbuilt Bentley for the Royal Family of Brunei.
It goes down in history as the first Bentley SUV every produced, well before the Porsche Cayenne, the VW Touareg or the AUDI Q7, of you get my drift.
A total of 6 Bentley Dominators were built for the Sultan of Brunei, or most likely his playboy brother, Prince Jefri.
Here is a good up close look at the front of the Bentley Dominator.
All 6 Bentley Dominators were built in 1996.
This was at the hight of the Royal Family of Brunei special car buying spree, where is it said that Prince Jefri spent around you know, 8-14 billion dollars in about a decade on things like, well a Bentley Dominator. And gold dunny brushes.
Here is a good shot of the rear of the car.
From this view you can see that there is a split to the rear tail gate. Take a close look were the glass and the polished metal stripe with the distinctive Bentley badge is. There is a split, where the glass and metal surround opens up, then there is the lower tail gate that would open down.
The rear bumper bar is moulded to fit the opened down lower section of the tail gate. It actually would make quite a good seat.
Just like the car is is based on. That's right, the Bentley Dominator is pretty obviously based on the Land Rover Range Rover.
From the VIN we know that the Bentley Dominator was built in 1996. With the Range Rover, the series 2, otherwise known as the Range Rover P38A was introduced in 1995. The last on the Range Rover Classics were made in 1996.
I'm not quite sure if the Bentley Dominator was a Classic or a P38A , but I'm pretty sure that Bentley would have asked for the latest and newest version for this prized customer.
The car is very impressive.
The VIN number for all the Bentley Dominators constructed are:
SCBTH98C5TCH00422 with Brunei registration plate BP 9669
SCBTH98C7TCH00423 with Brunei registration plate BQ 7667
SCBTH98C9TCH00424 with Brunei registration plate BQ 7587
SCBTH98C0TCH00425 no registration plate known
SCBTH98C2TCH00426 with Brunei registration plate BQ 7570 (yellow coloured)
SCBTH98C4TCH00427 with Brunei registration plate BS 9929
From decoding the VIN using my previous article here
we know a bit about the car, but not as much as you expect.
The chassis of the car is 'TH' and the engine is '98'. But when you look up the Bentley manual of VIN numbers, chassis TH and engine 98 are no where to be seen. Such was the secrecy of the construction of these cars for the Royal Family of Brunei. The knowledge of their existence was kept very close.
That is why these photos are so rare and special.
Apparently these are relatively new photos are of the Bentley Dominator returning to Brunei. Where did it go? Why did it temporary leave Brunei? Does it coincide with any recent announcements?
I have no idea of the actual reason why the car left Brunei for a bit.
So I will make one up.
It is well known that the current Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer was head of Porsche’s research and development team during the time the Porsche Cayenne SUV was being conceived. And he wants a Bentley SUV made so he can double the sales of Bentley Motor cars. Then get back into racing with Team Bentley.
So he asks his the people at Crewe, "Do you gents know anything about designing and building a SUV?"
The answer was "Yes, new boss, of course we do. We have made about half a dozen around 15 years ago." "We sold the lot as well, for about 20 million pounds." "Made a killing."
"That's great news chaps, I want to see one."
A little while later....
"Hello your Royal Highness, good afternoon." "We have a new boss and he is very interested in making a new Bentley SUV, and we told him about the Bentley Dominator we made for you in 1996." "Do you remember it?" "Is it ok if we borrow it for a bit to show the boss?" "We will bring it back to you of course."
"Thanks Sultan, we'll use your plane."
Probably did not happen, but I am hoping it did.
For more posts on the Royal Family of Brunei cars check out my previous articles -
The Sultan of Brunei Darussalam's Different Bentleys
The Sultan of Brunei Darussalam's Different Rolls Royces
The Bentley Buccaneer
Bentley B3 by Pininfarina
Bentley Sports Estate
Mulliner Park Ward Limousines
Bentley Continential Range
Sultan of Brunei Bentley Continential R Special
Bentley B2 Convertible by Pininfarina
The Bentley Rapier
Brunei Royal Wedding Procession
Bentley Rapier Spotted Again
Rolls Royce Mulliner Park Ward Limousine
Bentley Sports estate car for Brunei
Bentley Continental Estate Car for Brunei
Practical Yellow Bentleys
Rolls-Royce Phantom Majestic by Bertone
Sufacon - SUper FAst CONtinental
'The Emperor' State Limousine by Hooper for the Royal Family of Brunei
If you only care about looking at photos, this may interest you.
Bentley Spottings Royal Family of Brunei Gallery
If anyone else would like to contribute to this gallery please email.
Labels: bentley spotting, coachbuilt, Royalty