How London became obsessed with the golden supercars of a Saudi billionaire

The World
One of the fleet of golden supercars that has obsessed London's media this week.

One of the fleet of golden supercars that has obsessed London's media this week. 

Toby Melville

The supercars and their super-rich owners are back. Every spring, certain exclusive neighborhoods of London change. Usually quiet backstreets fill with the roar of revving engines and screeching tires. Parking bays fill with exotic creations: a Rolls in bright purple. A Merc encrusted with thousands of Swarowski crystals.

This year a fleet of four cars in particular have been drawing the attention (and disapproval) or Londoners: a Lamborghini Aventador, a Rolls Royce, a Mercedes G36 6×6, and a Bentley Flying Spur. All owned by 20-something Saudi billionaire Turki bin Abdullah.

And all in metallic gold. 

Bin Abdullah and his entourage took care to make sure they were noticed. The cars were parked prominently in a row outside one of London's most high-profile hotels, just around the corner from the Harrods Department Store. They weren't exactly legally parked, and most of them received tickets from the traffic authorities: the Lamborghini got two tickets and the Bentely and Mercedes a ticket each. Although Bin Abdullah probably was not too worried by the $500 in fines that that would cost him. 

On social media, bin Abdullah has also become known for his flamboyant lifestyle. In photos posted online, one of the golden cars can been seen with a pet cheetah riding shotgun. Other clips and photos show the golden car collection in a selection of cities and countries, riding in convoy. Occasionally Bin Abdullah is driving himself, with one hand on the wheel and the other on his phone performing a wobbly video selfie. 

The cars attracted have received a mixed reaction on British social media.

Some were openly admiring, but many were more critical of the perceived flashiness of Bin Abdullah's taste.

Perhaps the most popular response came from Londoner Rupert Richmond-Dodd, who decided to wrap his more modest Ford Ka in gold wrapping paper, and park it alongside Abdullah's Rolls. They didn't really look all that different.