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My Car

Millionaire splurges on two more cars for his collection Add to ...

Robert Herjavec

Profession: CEO of Herjavec Group; judge on CBC's Dragons' Den and ABC's Shark Tank; author, Driven: How to Succeed in Business and in Life

Age: 48

Hometown: Varazdin, Croatia

Notable achievements: Started one of the first companies to supply corporations with Internet security systems; sold his first business to AT&T for more than $100-million in 2000; sold a Silicon Valley-based technology company to Nokia for $225-million

Currently: Dragons' Den, Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. on CBC; Shark Tank, Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on ABC

Robert Herjavec is a self-made millionaire and the nice judge on CBC's Dragons' Den and ABC's Shark Tank.

In addition to handing out cash to budding entrepreneurs, he also splurges on cars. He just added two more to his collection: a 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and a 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead coupe.

Queue jumpers, lane blockers, gas pump dawdlers, parking lot prima donnas and stop-sign Samaritans: it's enough to make you road weary

Why did you buy an SLS AMG?

I'm the first person to buy it in Canada. I've had one on order for four years and then I saw the first photos of it and I cancelled my order. It doesn't look as good in photos.

The guys at Mercedes told me they cancelled, but they didn't because they knew I would love it when I saw it. They did an amazing job. It's one of the few cars you have to see in real life.

When I ordered the SLS, I asked Mercedes to build one in matte black because that is so cool.

The guys in Canada said yes because we know I'm a big celebrity. And then the request made it all the way to Germany and they said, who? That is why I have a red one and not matte black.

It's so beautiful. 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.

What does the SLS say about you?

I appreciate fine cars.

I don't think it's a showy car. I don't think the average person looks at the SLS and says that's a $250,000 car.

I think it says that I really love cars.

But it has more than 500 horsepower - do you really need that much? You can't appreciate it in Canada. What's the point of buying one?

I love the car. Are we going to go through a phase where the high horsepower is going to go away - are the super-fast cars going to become like cigarettes in 20 years? Where kids, my daughter's generation, would look back and go, why would you have a car with 700 horsepower?

I hope we don't get there because it's not about driving fast all the time. It's about experiencing the overall essence of the car.

Why did you buy the Rolls - isn't that an old man's car?

No! Have you seen the 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.

You also own a Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 roadster, a Gallardo Spyder, an Aston Martin DB7 Vantage, a Rolls-Royce Phantom, a BMW 7-Series and a Cadillac Escalade - how do you decide what to drive?

It depends on the weather. It depends on what I'm wearing. If I'm wearing jeans I'll take out the orange Lamborghini, which isn't that comfortable.

Have you always been a car guy?

I think you're born with a passion for cars or you're not.

My wife has no passion for cars. She had a 10-year-old car with a broken side mirror and she had it taped together with green masking tape. It killed me. So I went out and got masking tape that at least matched the car.

She says, 'What do you care about what people think?' It's not about what people think. I feel bad for the car. How can you do that to the car? So, I bought her a new one - a Porsche Cayenne.

Are your kids allowed to drive your cars?

My 17-year-old son, you think, would be like 'Dad, let me drive the Lamborghini.' But he couldn't care less.

My middle daughter, Skye, for her 13th birthday I got her a custom licence plate with her name so when she turns 16 or 17 she's definitely going to want to drive.

Are cars a good investment?

Absolutely not. The worst investment you can make.

I think if you buy old cars and restore them they can hold their value. Buying cars for investment is like a bunch of guys sitting around talking about their golf game. There's a lot of lying going on.

Have you made any money on your cars?

My friend and I have a car - a 25th Anniversary Lamborghini Countach. He owned it and sold it to me for a profit. I owned it and sold it to him at a profit. He owned it and sold it back to me and I sold it back to him. We both go through phases with it. The car always goes up a little in value.

The problem with old cars is I'm not a collector. I'm a driver. I don't have the cars to look at - I want to drive it.

Old cars drive like old cars. I'd buy a 1967 Jaguar XKE - gorgeous car, but my Smart car probably has more horsepower than that.

Mercedes is unveiling an electric version of the SLS AMG at the Detroit auto show - what do you think of electric cars?

It's interesting. I didn't believe in that stuff until I test drove the Tesla and I got to tell you the power is amazing.

There's no lag. There's no skill to going fast in an electric car. It's going to happen, but for me as a car purist, I know this is going to sound funny, but there's no smell and there's no sound and nothing to look at.

Maybe I'm vain that way, but I want to open up that motor and go WOW! Even if you don't know what any of it does. You open up the electric car and there's two gerbils - nothing else.

The interview has been edited and condensed.

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