Legal Files (68)

He is accused of using over $200m of investor funds to support a lavish lifestyle, including a 70-plus car collection For the past few years, Tim Durham was a well-known fixture at collector car auctions. Arriving on his private jet—and spending freely—he rapidly amassed a significant collection that included Duesenbergs, Ferraris and a Bugatti Veyron.Durham looked like a real rags-to-riches story. He was the product of small-town Indiana beginnings, but he had big designs to become wealthy. He was quoted as wanting to be as wealthy as Warren Buffett and become the richest man in the world. Durham reportedly made…
2010 was a difficult year for tax planning. The federal estate and generation-skipping taxes were repealed, but the gift tax exemption was stuck at $1m to keep people from taking too much advantage. Plus, there was talk all year long about a retroactive reimposition of both taxes. We saw an epic battle over the continuation of the Bush Tax Cuts, which morphed into a battle over the Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy–even though no one seemed bothered by the Bush Tax Cuts for the Not So Wealthy, even though they represented 75% of the tax expenditures. The impasse grew…
You may avoid paying sales tax if you ship the car by common carrier to a non-sales-tax state "Legal Files” had a great time at the Scottsdale, AZ, kick-start to the 2011 auction season. Auctions are a popular place to buy your collector car. But to ensure that you are as happy when you get the car in your garage as you were when you were bidding, there are quite a few details that need to be thought through ahead of time.Condition and authenticityAbove all else, be sure that the car you’re buying really is what you think it is.…
Internet buyers think that when the car doesn’t meet their fantasy image they can return it for a full refund, just like sale pants at Nordstrom’s 1940 Ford Deluxe Convertible. Just redone by a well-known local shop. Beautifully restored with no expense spared. All aspects are correct and highly-detailed. Undercarriage immaculate, etc., etc. $58,950.Sound pretty nice? The buyer thought so when he saw this ad in an Internet listing, so he called the dealer, who was located 3,000 miles away. The conversation went well, but ended abruptly when the buyer made what the dealer thought was a lowball offer. The…
It’s not a good day when your mechanic calls and says, “Uh, I’m not sure how to say this, but I had a little accident with your car.” It’s even worse when your car is a 2006 Ford GT Heritage that had been modified to a “Twin Turbo.” (On the Internet, some claim the value of cars like this can exceed $250,000.) This Ford GT had some running problems that were threatening the owner’s participation in an upcoming Ford GT rally. The owner turned to a tuner who was a mainstay on the Ford GT Forum and goes by the…
The High Court in London has recently given judgment in the case of Brewer vs. Stanley Mann, Fortis Lease UK Limited and Stanley Mann Racing Limited. The judgment emphasizes the importance of accuracy when giving sale descriptions of collector cars. The judge’s finding, heavily in favor of the private buyer and against the seller, raises some interesting issues for dealers, auction houses and buyers. This judgment has caused some waves in the U.K. trade, and is already subject to appeal.The factsIn June 2007, London-based vintage Bentley specialist Stanley Mann sold a car which he described as a 1930 Bentley Speed…
In many cases, insurance adjusters say that all they are required to do is fix the damaged parts, which can create a non-matching Frankenstein carPictures of a McLaren F1 that suffered an engine fire were all over the Internet last year. It was an ugly sight—and saddened every car collector who saw it. “Legal Files” is pleased to report that the F1 was saved. In fact, the owner and I just returned from a very suitable shakedown cruise in it through the Scottish Highlands.“Legal Files” had assisted the owner in the acquisition of this iconic supercar. Hours of seat time…

Stolen Property

Written by October 2010
The epic legal battles over a stolen 1954 Ferrari 375 Plus Grand Prix Karl Kleve was a Cincinnati real estate investor who amassed an impressive collection of over 400 cars. He also designed and built 24 Kleve Supercars. Among the Cadillacs, Rolls-Royces, Kleves and Bugattis was a 1954 Ferrari 375 Plus, s/n 0384AM, one of only six made. The 375 Plus was the 427 Cobra of its era, brutally fast, with barely adequate brakes, and an adequate suspension. S/N 0384AM had a long and storied history, participating in the Mille Migla before coming to the U.S., where it was particularly…
He paid world-record prices for some of the world’s rarest automobiles, and he often bought several high-end cars in a single weekendHere’s a car story that has all the ingredients of a soap opera:  A billionaire dies in a car crash, and his longtime girlfriend is left out of his will. He owned hundreds of cars worth millions of dollars—and owed millions of dollars. To cap it off, all this turns into a high-stakes courtroom battle just before the sale of some of the cars at a high-profile auction.The girlfriend claimed: Her boyfriend bought the cars as gifts for her,…
Our sister publication, Corvette Market, reported the sale of a 2007 “Jay Leno Special Edition” Corvette at the Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach auction in April. The well-optioned, 1,873-mile Corvette was in show-car condition. Leno reportedly “handpicked” the car from a Carson, California Chevrolet dealer. The Corvette was autographed on the valve cover by Leno, carried Jay Leno signature exterior badging and a laser-inscribed Jay Leno dash plaque. The lot also included a selection of Jay Leno memorabilia, including an autographed photograph of Leno with President George W. Bush, and a genuine Corvette jacket and golf cap, both with Leno’s signature embroidered…
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