Preston Henn’s famous Swap Shop just west of Fort Lauderdale first opened as a drive-in movie theater on Nov. 22, 1963 — the day John F. Kennedy was killed.
Ever since, for the next 53 years, Henn’s Swap Shop has become a metropolis, a place that draws some 12 million visitors a year (that’s 32,000 a day). As a tourist attraction, Henn advertises it second only to Disney World — although the owners of Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise make the same claim.
In 1983 Henn, along with co-drivers A. J. Foyt, Bob Wollek, and Claude Ballot-Lena drove his Porsche 935 to victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona. The following year Henn’s Porsche 956 driven by John Paul, Jr. and Jean Rondeauplaced second in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, just two laps behind the winning 956 of Henri Pescarolo and Klaus Ludwig. Henn, driving with Michel Ferté and Edgar Dören, failed to finish in their Porsche 962 after ignition failure while on lap 247 (Pescarolo/Ludwig covered 360 laps). Driving in the IMSA GTP class, Henn’s brand new 962 was the first time the new model was raced at Le Mans. There was another Porsche 962 in the Group C class run for British team John Fitzpatrick Racing, though it was a converted 956, making the white Swap Shop Porsche the first true 962 to race at Le Mans.
Henn also participated in offshore powerboat racing. He inexplicably ceased all racing activities a few years later and subsequently refused to discuss his racing career. Despite this, Henn still maintained an extensive exotic car collection both in his private estate and on display at the Swap Shop and is a participant of the Ferrari FXX program.