Dragon's Garage: The exclusive rides of Robert Herjavec
"Everybody has a passion for something - mine is cars."
His story is one of rags to riches. He's a Croatian immigrant who came to Canada as a child with nothing. But his luck turned around after selling his online security software company to AT&T for a whopping $100 million in 2000. Nowadays, Robert Herjavec is a TV celebrity - he's a judge on CBC's Dragons' Den and ABC's Shark Tank. The self-made millionaire doesn't just invest his money into budding entrepreneurs; he also spends it on exotic cars. His latest is a 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG - and he's the first Canadian to buy it.
"I have it in red. It's beautiful. It's stunning. And I love the sound. They did an amazing job. Its one of the few cars you have to see in real life." But beauty can have its drawbacks. "I feel like a 15-year-old boy staring at the gorgeous cheerleader and then she says yes to me to go on a date and you're afraid. I walk into my garage everyday and I look at it. It's so beautiful I don't want to drive it. I'm afraid to drive it because I'm afraid someone is going to hurt it."
Herjavec is constantly adding new cars to his eight-car garage with lifts in his upscale, exclusive Toronto neighbourhood. He just bought a 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe. "All my friends think I'm nuts! Rolls-Royce - what are you 90 years old? I think driving isn't just about going fast. It's about the experience and the occasion. The Drophead Coupe is a wonderful car. Wherever I go I feel great. It's such an experience, a wonderful car to drive."
But that's not his only exotic - his collection also includes a 2009 Lamborghini Murciélago LP640 Roadster, a 2008 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, an Aston Martin DB7 Vantage, a Rolls-Royce Phantom which once belonged to mega rap star 50 Cent, and a BMW R1200C bike, which doesn't work. He kept it because it was in the 1997 Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies. His motorcycle license also expired; he won't bother to renew it. "I love bikes, but I love speed. Riding a bike can be dangerous. It's not about me - it's about everyone else. That's part of my fear."
His daily drivers are a Cadillac Escalade and a BMW 7 Series, which he plans to sell soon. "I'm going to get rid of the 7 Series and buy a Porsche Panamera Turbo. If you can drive a four-door sedan faster than some of my sports cars - how can you not love that? There's a real thrill in the driving experience. At first I couldn't get my mind around that rear end - that rear end is a horrible, horrible design."
What is good design? According to Herjavec, it's his Murcielago. "It's so beautiful. It gets more beautiful over time. Here's my measure of a great design - every time I go in the garage and I look at that car it still takes my breathe away - it's actually like my wife, after all these years she still takes my breath away," says the 48-year-old father of three. "I think the Murcielago will withstand the test of time. I think 20 years from now I'll still look back and go, 'wow!'"