UAE | General

Hobby turns UAE businessman a record holder

Whether it is a model car of Hitler's Mercedes, Princess Diana dolls or Cartier pens, this UAE national has got them all.

  • By Mariam M. Al Serkal, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 23:16 July 18, 2008
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Marial M. Al Serkal/Gulf News
  • Suhail Mohammad Al Zarooni displays his collection of 17 Diana dolls along with newspaper clippings, some dating back to 1940.
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Dubai: Whether it is a model car of Hitler's Mercedes, Princess Diana dolls or Cartier pens, this UAE national has got them all.

Suhail Mohammad Al Zarooni, 38, is a two-time Guinness World Record holder for 2002 and 2003 and set the record in the UAE for his collection of over 1,500 individual miniature model cars.

He still holds the title in the country as his collection has dramatically expanded to more than 7,000 model cars.

Exhibition

"I collect anything that sparks my interest. I can't make up my mind, so I end up collecting everything," said Al Zarooni, a businessman who has been passionately collecting model cars since he was 10 years old.

Residents and visitors this week are now able to view his private collection that is on display at Wafi shopping centre until July 22.

The week-long exhibition includes a limited edition of Cartier pens, a miniature car collection, First Day Cover stamps, 24 karat gold-plated bank notes, and a Princess Diana doll collection.

More than 3,000 newspapers highlighting significant events are also on display that dates back to 1940, which includes the report of Hitler's death and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

"I have been working on the exhibition for two months to make sure that the planning goes smoothly and design the perfect layout," he said.

Al Zarooni's enthusiasm for history will be on display at the Wafi exhibition in the form of mugs and plates commemorating historical British events, which includes the coronation of King Edward VIII on 1937 and a jug that was made in 1860 for the royal visit of the Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) to Canada.

Al Zarooni has been participating at the Collector's Exhibition for the past five years, which is part of the Dubai Summer Surprises programme.

"I always like to display new items and never show anything twice, so visitors are always in for a surprise. I am planning a road show in 2009, in collaboration with government of Dubai, so that my collection can be seen in different countries."

His collection has over 300 themes to it, but what he holds close to his heart is the collection of model cars. "I started collecting stamps and Dinky cars while I was in school, but I started collecting it seriously in 1988 while I was in college in the UK and bought my first model car for £25 [about Dh183]," he said.

Over the years, Al Zarooni has collected models of cars linked to famous personalities such as the limousine in which John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the cars of Hitler, James Bond and the British comic character Mr Bean.

His love for cars is not limited to model ones as he has also collected a total of 78 luxury cars, including a Bugatti, a 1974 Rolls Royce, custom-made Hummers, Maybachs and a Mercedes from the 1970s.

"I have 17 out of the 25 Princess Diana dolls made. I was always a big fan of Princess Diana but it was my wife who perked my interest to start collecting the dolls."

To accommodate his collection, he is using his houses in Jumeira, Deira and Bur Dubai as a storage since the collection is too large for one person to handle.

"I enjoy history and have travelled to many countries and searched hard for unique items.

And throughout my search, I have come to meet several prominent figureheads," he said, while he sits under framed photographs of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Benazir Bhutto, and Altaf Hussain, a party member of Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

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