When cult leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh fled India (after his cult got a nasty reputation for prostitution and drug running) and landed in our great land of opportunity, he bought his first Rolls Royce. It would be the beginning of the ridiculous rise and fall of the Rajneesh cult resulting in an unheard of collection of colorfully-painted Rolls Royces.
After a brief stay in NJ and the purchase of his first Rolls, which he said allowed him to “ride in a tranquility that compares with the peace by Buddah,” Rajneesh took to the west coast for greener pastures for cult building. His 10 followers, heavily armed guard, and 1.5 million dollars picked the Big Muddy Ranch in eastern Oregon, but this proved problematic considering it didn’t have the water, sewer, or phone systems needed to build his cult empire.
Instead, Rajneesh just started buying up the town of Antelope. His followers quickly took political power and renamed the town to “Rajneesh.” And, essential to all great cults, they legalized nudity in the city parks.
The “town’s” population swelled as did Rajneesh’s bankroll. His 5,000 followers lined his pockets with roughly 100 million dollars. Despite spending thousands on a massive movie collection and enough nitrous oxide to put down a horse (he even bought a $12,000 dentist chair) Rajneesh still had enough money to buy 2 Rolls Royces a month.
As his collection neared 40 he began his famous, “Drive-by Blessings.” Followers would line the roads each day at 2 pm and showered the hoods of his Rolls Royces with flowers. After that it was back to work for most of his followers in the 41 commune businesses.
Despite clearly being a cult leader, Rolls Royce was happy to take his money, and even sent engineers to the commune’s service center from time to time.
To no one’s surprise, Rajneesh’s commune came crashing down in the mid-80s as the cult attempted to rig a county election. Rajneesh was arrested and deported back to India. He changed his name to Osho and finally kicked the bucket in 1990 in Poona, India.
When Rajneesh fled and the cult toppled it was time to liquidate an unimaginable collection of expensive luxury items, guns, planes, and more. Of course, the centerpiece of the liquidation was his 93 Rolls Royces.
Sneaky Rajneesh once again found a way to retain some of his cars by purchasing 8 of them before the sale. The remaining 85 went to Bob Roethlisberger of Dallas, TX for a cool $7 million.
Getting the cars from a snowy Oregon to Texas proved challenging and costly. $200,000 costly. He sold 43 of the cars individually before his untimely death due to cancer in 1986.
Source: Strange but True Tales of Car Collecting by Keith Martin and Linda Clark