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Automotive

Automotive notable Preston Henn dead at 86

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Autoweek has learned that wayward Florida car collector, racer and Swap Shop founder Preston Henn died Sunday at his beachfront home near Fort Lauderdale.

Henn most recently made the news when he sued Ferrari after the company refused to sell him a limited-edition LaFerrari Aperta. The suit was later withdrawn after Henn “made my point,” he told Autoweek.

In 1983, Henn, along with co-drivers A.J. Foyt, Bob Wollek and Claude Ballot-Lena drove his Porsche 935 to a win in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The next year, Henn’s Porsche, driven by John Paul Jr. and Jean Rondeau, was second in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Henn, in another Porsche 962, failed to finish. It was one of his five starts at Le Mans.

The son of a North Carolina powerboat racer and theater chain owner, Henn founded the Swap Shop chain of drive-in theaters and flea markets across Florida. The largest remaining one, in Fort Lauderdale, houses his exotic car collection, including a yellow 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale that raced at Le Mans; it’s thought to be possibly the most valuable Ferrari in existence. Henn was also the first civilian to buy a new Gulfstream 650S, then the fastest private jet in the world. It costs $65 million.

What happens to his exotics remains to be seen, though at present, they will likely pass to his wife of more than 60 years, who survives him. Henn told Autoweek that his will had provisions to keep the Ferrari at Swap Shop on display past his death.

Services are pending.


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