In 1980, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. lost around $130,000 on its investment in Precision Steel. In that same year, Buffett was offered the chance to buy the entire car collection of one William Fisk Harrah – who had passed away two years earlier – for a little under $1 million.
Now, $1 million might not seem like that much in today’s money (especially when said car collection consisted of some 1,400 vehicles), but as a proportion of Berkshire Hathaway’s operating income, an equivalent proposition today would mean Buffett weighing up a $365 million purchase. The risk seemed too great, and he passed on the opportunity.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. By 1990, various parts of the collection had been auctioned or sold privately for a combined total of around $80 million. In fact, one of the cars in the collection was a Bugatti Royale, which would itself have been able to repay Buffett’s prospective investment many times over.
Thanks to Steve Harris Imports in Salt Lake City, Utah, you can do what Buffett didn’t: buy a part of Harrah’s world famous car collection.
The car in question is a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, customised to become the famous “Harrah Hot Rod”, so named because it was used to whisk the casino magnate between his properties in Reno and Lake Tahoe – apparently faster than a helicopter.
The most obvious modifications are the flared arches, and in turn the the 9×15 and 11×15 Campagnolo magnesium wheels from the Daytona LM that sit snugly under them. The car is also painted in rare and stunning Rame Metallizzato, a sort of golden copper colour that looks absolutely fantastic.
So… a slice of Italian American history, from one of the most infamous car collections of all time, offered for sale at $419,900. Given that RM Auctions has sold a ‘stock’ Daytona for $360,000 in the last eight months (albeit an incredibly clean, low mileage example), I reckon that’s a bit of a bargain…