No carmaker spends millions in research and development if they can’t make that money back in sales. According to Bentley Spotting, this is where the Sultan of Brunei comes in. The British automaker built six of these models for the Sultan and the Royal family. In total, each one cost $4.6 million.
Despite its ominous name, the Bentley Dominator is just the brand’s first production SUV. The Sultan of Brunei reportedly commissioned the build for the royal family. However, Bentley Spotting suggests that Prince Jefri ordered these machines for himself. For context, the Prince spent billions of dollars in cars throughout the 1990s, building a collection of ultra-rare vehicles.
Details surrounding the Bentley Dominator are quite scarce. The British carmaker borrowed heavily from the Range Rover for this build. However, all of the exterior designs were uniquely penned by Bentley itself.
In terms of engine options, Autotrader estimates that the SUV likely had either Land Rover’s 3.9-liter V8 or Bentley’s 6.76-liter V8 under its hood. Additionally, rumors suggest that the Dominator utilized the Range Rover’s four-wheel-drive system. Despite sharing major components with other models, these custom-built SUVs were far from cheap.
A total of six Bentley Dominator SUVs left the production line in the mid-1990s. Most notably, these SUVs feature unique interiors which didn’t resemble their Range Rover sibling. In fact, all six variants featured different color schemes.
The royal family didn’t shy away from using color. As far as we know, these SUVs feature yellow, red, blue, gray, and black exterior colors. However, the wildest one was the yellow one, featuring a red interior for a true McDonald’s friendly look.
Having an established carmaker make you a model from scratch is far from cheap. According to Bentley Spotting, each of the Bentley Dominator models cost the royal family $4.6 million. Adjusted for inflation, we’re talking about almost $8 million each in today’s money.
If the rumors are correct, all of the Bentley Dominator models built still live in Brunei. In fact, the royal family’s extensive car collection sits rotting in a warehouse today. Despite this, Bentley Spotting caught a rare glimpse at one of these machines back in 2011. A worker at an airport snapped some images of the ultra-rare SUV heading into a cargo plane back to Brunei.
While there is no confirmed information about where it was coming from, Bentley Spotting believes the SUV went to Bentley’s headquarters. This is because the British carmaker had been toying with the idea of building a production SUV. As a result, it would make sense that it would want to revisit its first attempt.