Legal Files (81)

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…
Holding onto the certificate of title until you get paid is no legal protection. Once the buyer pays the broker, that certificate of title is worthlessThe Oregon Court of Appeals recently decided a case of interest to car collectors. The case involved a 29-foot Sea Ray boat, but the legal principles apply equally to collector cars.The boat's owner, a supervisor at a title and escrow company, kept the boat moored at a Portland marina. The marina was also the home of a yacht brokerage that used several rows of berths to moor its consigned inventory. The owner's son told the…
The judge started his opinion by pointing out that his "analysis will be swifter than Richard Petty's race-clinching pit stop at the 1981 Daytona 500"Here is an unlikely case of Car Guy v. Car Guy, brought, it just so happens, before a car guy judge. It's the story of a race car owner and race car driver who had been a winning combination for many seasons. Somewhere along the way, it all went south. (All quotations are from the court's opinion.)Judge Chandler of the Delaware Court of Chancery begins his opinion: "Success on the track does not guarantee success off…
Continuous History Car vs. Original Component Car? You decideIn a perfect world, every historic car would boast a spotless provenance and a documented list of distinguished owners, none of whom ever "abused" the car by changing a major component, let alone by crashing it. The real world is different. Witness competition cars, which in their heyday were used very hard and crashed frequently. The urgency then was to get it to its next race. It got whatever it needed-a new frame, another engine, a new body. Just fix it! As a lawyer I have been involved in numerous disputes involving…
He learned that the broker and seller were going to be in Monterey that August, so he made arrangements to serve them both at The QuailAbout two years ago, a Los Angeles SCMer contacted "Legal Files" hoping for advice about how to get his money back after a long-distance Ferrari deal went bad, very bad."Ed" thought he had done everything right. He had become seriously interested in a 1953 Ferrari 212 Vignale located in Japan. The Japanese seller, represented by a California broker, described the top-condition Ferrari as "a rush deal that wouldn't last." Ed would have to post a…
If the winds were unforeseeable, they would be considered an act of God, and neither the auction nor tent company would be liable for damagesWho would have thought that the wind could blow so hard? That turns out to be the multi-million-dollar question in Scottsdale.The big story from this year's Arizona auctions was not the market, but the weather. What was called the worst storm in 40 years-with estimated 80-mph winds-blew through the area on Thursday evening and destroyed two 800-foot tents at the Russo and Steele auction. "Breaking News" updates sent to SCMers included TV news and YouTube videos…
Maybe, if you have a valid out-of-state title for a modern kit car and can get an SB 100 "free pass"-but don't try it with a "Born-Again" post-1967 MiniLegal Files" was recently contacted by an SCM subscriber who thought the current economic climate made this the right time to buy a replica 1965 Ford GT40 and had found a nice one at an acceptable price. The car was originally titled in California but had since left the state. When our subscriber asked California's DMV about bringing the car back, he was told he would have to reapply to register it…
It's pretty easy to conclude that the FBI should have hired a towing company. That the car was wrecked proves the agent was incapable of driving itWe all know that federal, state and local governments have broad powers to seize assets from drug dealers and other persons suspected of crimes. Lately, there have been a number of seizure situations involving valuable cars that have gained widespread media attention. In today's media world, the seizure of a Bugatti Veyron, six- or seven-figure Ferrari or Lamborghini or the like is an instant attention-grabber. But sometimes, the story gets even better when things…