Ferrari Collector Sues Luxury Automaker for Denying Him New Model

Preston Henn claims Ferrari has "harmed his reputation."

August 12, 2016, 2:10 PM
The new limited edition special series convertible version of the LaFerrari is pictured.
The new limited edition special series convertible version of the LaFerrari is pictured.

— -- Many Americans would be more than satisfied to own one Ferrari.

Not Preston Henn.

The 85-year-old Florida resident, owner of the giant Swap Shop flea market and tourist attraction in Fort Lauderdale, boasts a collection of 15 Ferraris, worth an estimated $100 million, that would make any car collector drool. His fleet includes the ultra-exclusive Ferrari FXX and the 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale, of which only three were built.

Henn wants another Ferrari to add to his enviable trove -– the soon-to-be unveiled, open-top version of the LaFerrari supercar. This new model, which enthusiasts are dubbing the LaFerrari Spider, will make its official debut in October at the Paris International Motor Show.

Auto blogs are reporting that just 150 units of the new model will be produced for a selling price of $1.7 million each. Ferrari would not confirm those numbers nor the car’s name. Ferrari is also reportedly selling the car by invitation only.

But a Ferrari spokesperson told ABC News that "all available examples have already been sold after a special preview to clients."

Moreover, Ferrari apparently rejected Henn’s attempt to place an order for the luxury automaker's new sports car.

Henn responded with a lawsuit against Ferrari, claiming that it “injured Henn’s reputation in his profession, trade, occupation, and in the world of high end automobile organizations, associations, and exhibitions and their individual participants” by deciding that he was “not qualified” to purchase the car. Henn is seeking $75,000 in damages plus compensation for other costs and fees in the lawsuit filed July 29 in the southern Florida U.S. District Court.

According to the lawsuit, Henn already owns a different and earlier version of the car, a hard-top LaFerrari, and has been an avid Ferrari collector for nearly 60 years.

Henn, a self-described “Ferrarista,” asked his Ferrari dealer earlier this summer to place an order for the new LaFerrari model, the lawsuit states. The dealership's owner later notified Henn that Ferrari North America officials said the company would not sell the car to Henn, according to the lawsuit.

Henn wrote a letter to Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat Chrysler and chairman and CEO of Ferrari N.V., to plead his case and included a check for $1 million as a deposit on the new model, the lawsuit states. Enrico Galleria, Ferrari’s chief marketing and commercial officer,responded in writing that “all units have been sold” and asked Henn “not to send any of those check [sic] directly to Ferrari or our manager,” the lawsuit said. Henn’s check was returned.

According to the lawsuit, Henn was informed by his "friends in the Ferrari world" that Ferrari officials had said he was “not qualified” to purchase the car.

Bruce Rogow, Henn’s attorney, told ABC News that his client also spoke by phone to a Ferrari representative prior to the lawsuit. Henn was again told he was not “not qualified” to make the purchase, Rogow said. No reason was given, he noted.

The assertion that Henn is “not qualified” is “untrue” and “harms Henn’s reputation and holds him up to ridicule, disrespect and disrepute … among his friends and business and social associates," Rogow states in the lawsuit.

A Ferrari spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit, telling ABC News in an email that “we never comment on legal proceedings/complaints filed or to be filed with Ferrari.”