‘Golden Devil’: Saudi Range Rover bedazzles London
The supercars parading through London's streets reached a whole new level of extravagance this week when a wealthy Arab rolled his gold Range Rover into town.
The 'Mystere' is a £150,000 version of the famous British vehicle which has been given an overhaul by German tuning house Hamann.
The car's normal design has been replaced with a customised body-kit which includes oversized bumpers and a bonnet vent.
Its Saudi owner has also opted for the luxury off-roader, which is fitted with 23-inch alloy wheels, to be kitted out with a black and gold wrap.
The car, with the registration plate '666', has been flown over to the UK by its Saudi owner and is parked outside the expensive Wellesley Hotel in Knightsbridge.
A top-spec Range Rover costs £100,000 - with Hamann charging around £50,000 for the 'Mystere' conversion.
One local resident said: 'Range Rovers don't normally stand out because there are so many of them in London, but this one is different.'
'You can't miss it. It is amazing that the owner, who must be quite rich, decided to have it wrapped gold coloured. It is so eye-catching, but I don't think it will be winning any style awards.
He added: 'It was parked next to a Rolls-Royce Ghost, and you hardly noticed the Roller. It is not often that a Rolls-Royce looks like the understated car.'
Last year, residents of West London complained the capital was being inundated with supercars, which they claimed were leading to unruly driving.
Petrol-heads were seen driving round wealthy areas of the city in Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Bugattis and attracting bands of camera-carrying youngsters, known as the Carparrazzi.
Channel 4 made a documentary about the drivers, called Millionaire Boy Racers, after local residents called for a clampdown.
In 2010, a £1.2 million Koenigsegg CCXR and £350,000 Lamborghini Murcielago were clamped outside famous department store Harrods.
Crowds of tourists watched in disbelief as a traffic warden first ticketed then clamped both vehicles, which were believed to have belonged to the oil-rich Qatari royal family.
It was the first summer in which the so-called 'invasion of Arab supercars' was noticed on London's streets, with a £1 million-plus Bugatti Veyron and a £500,000 Mercedes Benz McLaren SLR, both chrome-finished and with Middle Eastern plates, spotted outside the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge.
It is believed wealthy Arabs from Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia relocate to the capital in the Middle East's hottest summer months and compete over who can show off the most expensive vehicle.
Experts said insuring some the supercars on London's roads can cost more than £50,000-a-year, with a £15,000 excess.
Last summer, a £350,000 purple and orange Lamborghini was seized by the police after the driver was pulled over, again outside Harrods, because of police concerns about his insurance.
Weeks later the same car was seen back on the streets, but was given a parking ticket just days after police handed it back to the owner.