Bill Harrah’s Legendary Chopper-Baiting Ferrari Daytona Looks Like (It’s Worth) A Million Bucks

An aircraft salesman once approached Bill Harrah trying to sell him a helicopter to get between his hotels in Reno and Lake Tahoe. Harrah said he’d buy one if it could make the run faster than his Ferrari. The Ferrari won, or so the story goes, averaging 146 miles per hour, and a legend was made. Now that legendary Ferrari is going up for auction.

Harrah may be best remembered as the founder of an empire of hotels and casinos (today part of the Caesars Entertainment group), but he was also the West Coast distributor for the Prancing Horse marque.

When he bought this copper 365 GTB/4 Daytona for his own personal use in 1971, he had it thoroughly upgraded by noted tuner Frank Mir of Santa Monica to near competition standards. The vehicle that resulted became known as the Harrah Hot Rod, complete with flared fenders, competition-style alloys, and an upgraded version of the 4.4-liter V12 engine later rated at 386 horsepower instead of the standard 352. Consider that, if you applied the same percentage gain to the Daytona’s modern successor, you’d be left with a Ferrari 812 Superfast kicking out 865 hp instead of “only” 789.

Since Harrah’s passing in 1978, his hot rod Daytona has passed through the hands of some notable collectors, but is now consigned – complete with “H” Nevada plates – for sale by RM Sotheby’s during Monterey motor week this coming August.

Among Daytonas, factory Spiders and Competizione models tend to sell for the highest prices, with RM having sold a coupe of those roadsters for $3.3 million apiece. Harrah’s will be offered without reserve, but is sure to fetch well more than the million bucks it looks. (Photos by Robin Adams, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.)

Photo Gallery

  • That Ross Chap

    That is a stunning looking car – I haven’t seen a Daytona in anything other than red, blue or yellow, but the bronze orange gives it a very sophisticated, distinctive grand touring colour. It is perfectly suited with the character of the car

  • Six Thousand Times

    Easily worth the money for such a legendary car.

  • TheHake

    One of the most beautiful cars ever made. It was never called the “Daytona” by Ferrari though.

  • KidRed

    Hmm, I’d take a more affordable Datsun/Nissan 240Z.

    • Michelin

      You can also take a wonderful Lady Niva ….
      Strong and cheaper 🙁

  • Kash

    it looks like an Asian brand took a stab at designing a Corvette.

    • alexxx

      c*mon…you can do better :-))

      • Kash

        it does though. Namely Nissan. It looks like Nissan tried to design the Z to be a Corvette.

        • alexxx

          you are aware that designing a car has it limits…whatever you desing its destined to look similar to at least one car…30 years from now,todays cars will all look alike…

          • Kash

            I do, but I don’t really think the current Maxima will look like anything else from today or the next 10 years 30 years from now. You also have to admit that this era for Ferrari’s design had a very American-esque element to it, mainly for their front engine cars.

          • alexxx

            I am not sure you see the big picture…When you see some old old movie,say from 30th,all cars looks same or same-ish :-)… Did it happen to you ever,you see a car in a split second or in a distance and you are not sure was it Ferrari or Corvette or even Lamborghini? It happened to me numerous times and I follow cars all my life…. We learn to recognize small differences…and small differences they are… Now you made me write long posts like you do 😂

          • Kash

            lol. cars and more importantly their design is a major part of my life and even career. Sure cars from the 40’s and 50’s all look the same because the designs were more similar between brands then than they are now.

  • alexxx

    every sports car should have those extended exhaust tips…

  • SteersUright

    That massive rear wheel and tire alone are worth a million bucks! Damn this car is a beauty that outdoes any modern Ferrari. New ones all look like Japanese car designs to me (excepting the stunning LaFerrari though). Nothing wrong with Japanese cars, especially from brilliant engineering perspective. But, they sure aren’t the prettiest cars out there.

  • Michelin

    I read a lot of strange comparison between Ferraris, Asian cars and corvettes.
    Now they could seems like the Ferrari, but you must consider ages of cars
    GTO and others Ferraris was masterpieces who inspired a lot of following cars.