DUBAI // A German artist is touring the UAE in the hope of finding someone willing to pay Dh27.2m for a model car carved out of a 500kg block of gold.
The 25-inch-long Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4, which has not yet been made, will cost 16 times more than a full-size version of the car, which has a base price of Dh1.6m.
In order to whet the appetite of any potential buyer, a prototype of the car is currently on display in Dubai Mall. From there it will be on show on Abu Dhabi before leaving the country next month to go on a world tour.
The prototype, however, is no pale shadow. It is worth Dh1.3m and has already picked up the record as the most expensive model car made.
“I’m happy to be in Dubai, because people here like gold, and precious stones,” said model maker Robert Gulpen. “They also love fast cars.
“Those interests all come together in this work of art.”
Mr Gulpen, a former engineer for Mercedes-Benz, has been making model cars out of silver, platinum and gold for more than 12 years.
The gold-plated and diamond studded prototype of the Aventador is the most expensive he has made. He said he needs a buyer before he can afford to make the full, solid gold version.
“That is one reason,” he said. “The other is that it allows me to take any special requests over design from the buyer.
“The third reason is that it would be too dangerous to tour a Dh27.2m car around the world.”
Even with the prototype version, Mr Gulpen is taking no chances. The bullet-proof display case has won a Guinness world record for the most secure of its kind in the world.
It was originally planned to make the Dh27.2m version of the car from a cast mould, however, at 25 inches long, it is far too big for any fine detail mould, Mr Gulpen said.
Instead, it would be machine-carved from a 500kg block of 22 carat gold, a process that would cost Dh10.6m to make.
Mr Gulpen said about Dh2.4m of the profits from a successful sale would be given to charity.
Dubai is the first stop outside of Europe on the world tour. After Abu Dhabi it will be displayed in Singapore, Beijing, Macau, New York and St Petersburg.
If it is not sold during the tour, it will return to the UAE to be auctioned to the highest bidder in Abu Dhabi.
Mr Gulpen said he had already been contacted by several potential buyers in the UAE.
“There are some interested people,” he said. “But the mentality here is to first wait a bit before making a decision.”