When William F. Harrah passed away in July of 1978, The New York Times lauded his “multimillion‐dollar gambling empire.” (You know Harrah’s Las Vegas? Yeah, that’s him.) But the second most important thing to know about Bill, as pointed out in the third paragraph of his obituary, is that he was a passionate car guy, and his collection provided the basis for the National Automobile Museum in Reno.
According to the museum, Harrah collected somewhere on the order of 1,400 vehicles in his lifetime. The most intriguing of these and certainly the rarest — if not the most desirable — is without a doubt the 1969 Jerrari, a half-Jeep, half-Ferrari hybrid. Classic Driver recently brought the Frankensteinian vehicle to our attention, as it’s for sale through their marketplace from a German seller; but before you try to calculate the shipping and import fees, you may want to know how this crossbreed came to exist in the first place.
First off, it’s not a sanctioned project by Jeep or Ferrari, and it’s certainly not the first SUV as Classic Driver posits (that title is up for debate, but Ford started using the moniker “sports-utility” on the first Bronco, and that came out a few years before the Jerrari was built). But the lack of support from Maranello is actually what makes the story interesting.
According to Classic Driver, Harrah’s mechanic crashed his 1969 Ferrari 365 GT+2 while driving through a blizzard, leading the businessman to ask Enzo Ferrari, the founder of the marque, if he would build a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Apparently Ferrari didn’t take to the request — the Italian marque is still in the process of building its first SUV, meaning they’ll likely be last in the luxury segment — so Harrah decided to commission his own, merging the 365 GT+2 with a 1969 Jeep Wagoneer.
The body is like a reverse mullet: party up front with the Ferrari’s sculpted grand-tourer shape, business in the back with the Wagoneer’s grocery-getting bulk. And despite the original mission to make a four-wheel drive Ferrari, Harrah didn’t simply move all the Jeep innards into his new concoction; no, the Ferrari’s 365 horsepower 4.4-liter V12 was originally what powered the most polarizing Americanization of Italian culture until Olive Garden came along. In its current state, however, a Chevrolet V8 has been swapped in, as Harrah reportedly put the V12 in another Wagoneer, the Jerrari 2.
How much is this German seller asking for the original Jerrari (which comes with its own unique hood badge replacing the Prancing Horse)? Unfortunately that figure is only available “on request,” but it seems to have been sold at auction in 2004 by the Petersen Museum “midway through an extensive restoration,” then again on eBay in 2008 for over $20,000. Today, it looks as though that restoration is complete, so expect the price to be north of that, but you’ll want to get more info, photos and video before you even think about bringing this monster back stateside.
Furthermore, if you consider yourself an eccentric just like Harrah and aren’t sold on the idea of driving around in someone else’s dream machine, we did just get a brand new Grand Wagoneer lineup from Jeep — so who’s going to take one for the team and mash one of those up with the Roma while we wait for the upcoming Ferrari Purosangue?
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