Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta says selling his black Porsche 944 was the best financial decision he ever made.
That’s because buying it in the first place was the worst of her. He was in his 20s and fresh off a breakup when he spotted the sleek model in a used car lot near his home in Arlington, Virginia. He had a third party make sure the car and the deal were valid, then paid $20,000 for it, taking out a loan to cover part of the cost.
“It almost broke me,” Nasetta, 60, told CNBC Make It. “I spent all my money on that stupid car.”
In retrospect, it was a poor decision from the outset, Nasetta says: He was earning only $17,000 a year at the time. Almost immediately, he had to spend an additional $2,000 on a new steering rack – and the car’s problems only got worse from there.
The Porsche “was riddled with problems that I couldn’t tolerate,” says Nassetta.
Today, a Porsche 944 can be worth over $30,000, depending on year and condition, according to car valuation site Kelley Blue Book. But Nassetta sold his car just 18 months after buying it, and maintains it was his worst spending mistake – and the last sports car he’ll ever own.
Sports cars are both a popular buy and a common regret. For example, ex-NBA star Dwyane Wade told Men’s Health in 2020 that the best financial advice he ever got was to “get rid of about 16 cars.”
One of those cars was a $6,000-a-month Maybach that Wade said he rarely, if ever, drives. He eventually sold the entire collection, he added, keeping one Audi Q8.
Since 2007, Nassetta has driven something more practical: a four-door Lexus sedan that he bought right after taking the top role at Hilton. The well-loved family car was new when Nasetta bought it, and has stood the test of time: In the 16 years he owned the car, he drove 115,000 miles on it, he estimates .
He also owns another car, a 1969 Ford Bronco. The average cost for a make and model is about $50,000, according to automotive lifestyle company Haggerty — but for Nassetta, the SUV’s value is more emotional.
Nasetta’s family owns a ranch in Montana, and Nasetta once told a nearby auto mechanic that the Bronco was his dream car. In 2020, the mechanic called Nasetta to say he’d found someone near the vehicle – but it was barely running.
Together, Nasetta and the mechanics spent two years repairing the car, completing the project last May.
“We repaired every little piece of it,” Nasetta says. “One of the things I learned living at the Hilton is that I love building and I love projects. So it gives me great pleasure to do this.”
Sign up now: Get better informed about your money and career with our weekly newsletter
Kind Snacks founder Daniel Lubetzky made a $220 million mistake—it turned his startup into a $5 billion company
Hilton CEO Says Don’t Make This Common Career Mistake in Your 20s