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Back in 2013, Shemar Moore — then playing the role of Derek Morgan on the CBS procedural Criminal Minds — told THR about his present to himself to mark a contract renewal: “When Iron Man came out and I saw the [Audi] R8, I lost my mind. I said if and when CBS gives me a raise, I’m going to get one.”
That Audi R8, while still a fast-as-all-get-out exotic, now seems slightly quaint in comparison to Moore’s present collection of cars, all of which have personal meaning to him, including a brand-new Ferrari F8 Tributo with the license plate “Hondo 2” — in honor of his starring role on CBS’ S.W.A.T., on which he portrays Daniel “Hondo” Harrelson, and which was just renewed for a fifth season.
In addition to the Ferrari, Moore owns a Mercedes-AMG GTR (a model whose sticker price starts at $167,650) and a Range Rover Autobiography (from $131,000), and recently added the audaciously bold Rezvani Tank — a highly modified and customized SUV based on a Jeep chassis — to his fleet.
His car journey, though, started with a clunker. “My first car was a Nissan Stanza with 300,000 miles that my mother sold to me. It was basically a piece of junk, and she made me pay $3,500 for it, but it’s what got me started,” he says.
Moore’s first brush with a flashier ride is part of a very ’90s story. “I’m out of college, and I get The Young and the Restless” (Moore gained fame starring as Malcolm Winters on the CBS soap opera, playing the character starting in 1994 as a regular through 2019 as a guest star), “and I start to make a little money. I thought I was really doing it when I bought a Sport Coupe Thunderbird on 19-inch Momo rims; I just thought I was so cool. I actually dated Halle Berry when I had that car, so here I am in this Sport Coupe Thunderbird and dating Halle Berry, and this was once upon a time a hundred years ago,” Moore says, laughing at the memory.
All Moore’s cars have a level of customization to them. For instance, the Ferrari F8 has a complete carbon fiber package, custom HRE wheels and a Novitec suspension, which bumped the price to around $460,000, or a hike of about $180,000 over a stock model.
Sherif Yassa, COO at custom car manufacturer Icon 4×4, met Moore in 2002 and advises him on his purchases, including sketching out customization plans. “As long as I’ve known Shemar, he’s not into the mad performance aspect of the car, but he has impeccable taste and he falls in love with the image of the car first and what’s under the hood second,” says Yassa. “His love for cars has evolved and become more sophisticated as his knowledge — and wallet — grew. Now he has more of an appreciation for the marriage between form and function.
“The way it works,” continues Yassa, “he’ll text me, usually late at night, and ask me, ‘What do you think of this, this is kind of cool, or can I think of something different.’ ” Adds Yassa, “Ferrari was always a dream — when he attained the level he was at, it was time.”
The Ferrari — a No. 1 on the call sheet vehicle if ever there was one — resonates with Moore the most. “I didn’t want to be the guy who got a car just to show off or if it didn’t feel like the appropriate time. I felt like I needed a certain amount of success and a certain amount of life experience before I bought a Ferrari.”
Moore continues, “When I got S.W.A.T., it was a moment of pride for me. I’ve worked hard, and I defied the odds. When my mother was alive, she gave me a card that said, ‘Leap and the net will appear.’ I took that as meaning have faith in yourself and believe. Nobody knew I would even make it in this game, let alone sustain it in this game. I was like, you know what, I’m going to treat myself right, and I decided to get the F8. I feel like if I had that car on Criminal Minds, I would have felt like I was forcing it. The Ferrari represents the pride in my journey.”
By contrast, the Rezvani is a car he “stumbled upon,” he says. Made by a small manufacturer based in Irvine, California, the Hellcat-powered, 700-plus-horsepower Rezvani Tank starts at $300,000.
“I saw one a couple of years ago when the rapper Xzibit brought his out to the gun range where we practice shooting. He told everyone” — here Moore does a spot-on Xzibit impersonation — “‘Put your guns down and take a look at my bulletproof car.'”
“I didn’t think I was going to ever get one,” continues the actor, “but a month ago, I started thinking what cool SUVs are out there. I thought of Rezvani because we had used a Tank on an episode of S.W.A.T. last season. I literally got it like three days ago. I bought the Tank because it is so different.”
Moore says he is proud that S.W.A.T. (on which he’s also a producer) has addressed police killings of Black Americans in its current season, the series’ fourth.
“I think we have a responsibility. I can’t be a Black man in a SWAT outfit, especially with all the racial injustices, and the divide between civilians and cops that’s happening in real life [and not] touch on that on our show. I think we have a perfect platform to do that — to be woke, so to speak. We came out of the gates and we honored it. We talked about George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. We said it in the script, and we showed visuals [of racial justice protests], and we had marches on the show. We had this opportunity — with racial injustice and all these issues going on and especially since we were portraying cops — to tell real stories.”
Moore turns ruminative when asked about his long career: “I’m about to be 51 in a few weeks, and I had some tough personal losses the last few years. I lost my mother and father two months apart [in late 2019 and early 2020]. I lost my two beautiful dogs six months before that — they passed 36 hours apart. I lost a dear friend of mine, Kristoff St. John, from Young and the Restless, a couple of years ago, and so I just had this phase of life and loss,” explains Moore, who is single. “I can’t see myself, after S.W.A.T., doing 10 months out of the year on a show. But I don’t care what number on the call sheet I am, as long as I am a part of quality storytelling.”
This story first appeared in the May 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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