Dubai Man buys Number Plate for US$9 million
We have sort of become accustomed to conspicuous consumption from people in the Arab world and this week, a Dubai resident lived up to the region’s wild reputation when he shelled out a whopping US$9 million for a single digit number plate for his favourite Rolls Royce. According to the report carried by The Independent, Balwinder Singh, who is an Indian-born realty developer living in the desert kingdom of Dubai, won plate number D5 at the government auction in October. The self-proclaimed ‘simple man’ had already won one of the coveted single number plates – O9 – for a mere US$7 million at auction last year to put on his other Rolls Royce, along with snagging a third low digit plate for a piffling US$273,000 at this year’s event.
Dubai imposes no income tax and thus, in a very philanthropical statement, Balwinder said he considers the money he spent to be a form of charity or public service, as all the proceeds of the plate auction goes directly to the Kingdom’s Ministry of Roads and Transport. As in many countries, single digit number plates are a sought after status symbol, particularly by the rich and powerful, with the lowest numbers going for the biggest bucks. Just a few years ago, in 2008, another businessman in Dubai, Saeed Al Khouri, snapped up plate number 1 in Abu Dhabi for a staggering and somewhat eye-watering US$14 million.
This automotive-based displays of conspicuous consumption are not just reserved to the cost of the ride or the plate. The UAE is well known for its exceedingly opulent rides. It makes sense then that a set of diamond-encrusted gold-plated tyres should also be available. Earlier this year, the world renowned Guinness Book of Records certified a set of tyres encrusted with diamonds and wrapped in gold to be the most expensive set of tyres ever to be sold, at US$600,000.
The tyres were probably more of a publicity stunt than a real attempt at road-going tyres. Dubai’s Z-Tyres partnered with China’s Sentury Tires to produce a one-of-a-kind set of tyres to “celebrate and recognize the true worth of its range of its high performance tyres”. The tyres were sent to Italy where craftsmen studded them with diamonds. After this, they returned to Dubai where they were covered in gold leaf by the same craftsmen who had been involved with the building of the royal palace.
Looks a bit tacky to us…just saying.