Rainbow Sheikh's 'Power Wagon'
Desert and oil. These sum up the emirate of Abu Dhabi perhaps better than anything.
Think it looks like a 1950s Dodge? Well, look again.
Desert and oil. These two things sum up the emirate of Abu Dhabi perhaps better than any other feature about it.
Back in 1994, His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al-Nahyan, also known as the 'Rainbow Sheikh', due to the fact that he once bought a fleet of Mercedes every colour of the rainbow as a wedding present, decided that he would like to celebrate the desert, by building a very special Bedouin caravan.
He had already constructed several others, including a bizarre spherical creation which is said to be a 1:1,000,000 replica of the world, only with wheels.
However, on this occasion the Rainbow Sheikh chose to honour the pioneers of the oil boom - and show his passion for classic dune-bashing four wheel drives - by building the most incredible replica of a 1950s Dodge Power Wagon, only eight times the size of the real thing.
Built over a period of months, the scale of the construction was limited only by the size of the wheels that the Sheikh could get, which apparently were used on a machine for transporting oil rigs.
The truck is built around a metal frame more reminiscent of static plant, rather than anything mobile. This is emphasised by a flight of stairs leading up to the 'front door' somewhere below the cab, which on our visit was locked, sadly.
However, we have it on good authority that the machine houses just about everything needed for comfortable living, including four large, air conditioned bedrooms (The air-con units are visable behind the false radiator grille) as well as a living room, bathrooms and even a patio in the pick-up bed.
The first thing you notice about the monster is how accurate it is. Every last detail follow that exactly of an early model Dodge. The steering links are in place and there are brakes.
Even more surprisingly (given that this is a caravan) there is an engine, which can apparently be used to propel the truck short distances.
Best of all, you can this see truck alongside the Sheikh's various other creations, several real Power Wagons, a Kenworth 851 and 100-odd cars, including the rainbow Mercedes for free, as His Highness has generously opened his collection to the public.