Two-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winner Preston Henn (above, right, Hal Crocker photo) has passed away at the age of 86 from natural causes. Floridian Henn, a colorful character who made his fortune with drive-in theaters and swap meet flea markets at his movie venues, first began racing in 1977 with a Porsche 914/6, then moved up to a Ferrari Daytona and a Porsche 934 before stepping into a Porsche 935 for 1979.
Over the next several seasons he contested both IMSA’s Camel GT series and the FIA’s World Sports Car Championship without much success until the 1983 edition of the Rolex 24 when he entered Andial’s trick Porsche 935L in T-Bird Swap Shop colors for himself, Bob Wollek and Claude Ballot-Lena, then picked up none other than A.J. Foyt after the legendary Texan’s original ride broke down early. By the end of the race the victorious quartet had pulled out a six-lap advantage.
Henn’s second Daytona win came as an entrant when he fielded Foyt, Wollek, Al Unser and Thierry Boutsen in a Swap Shop Porsche 962 for the 1985 edition, when their victory margin was 17 laps!
His entrepreneurial outlook served him well in both business and racing, and he was a man not to be trifled with. He forged his Swap Shop empire with hard work and dedication, the same qualities that made him a successful racer. To his family and his many friends throughout the racing industry, Vintage Racecar extends its sincerest condolences.