The Stealth Claim

Legal Files” has written many times about the concept of diminished value — where even a perfectly repaired car is still worth less than it was before the damage occurred.

This month, I’m enlisting the help of Mike Shoemaker, a Houston-based attorney who conducts a national practice representing car and aircraft owners when their vehicles have been damaged in crashes and casualties. Shoemaker will give us a new spin on this subject.

But first, a little refresher on diminished value.

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New Tax Opportunities

Collectors lamented that the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated our ability to do 1031 Exchanges with our collector cars. After 2017, 1031 Exchanges are limited to real estate. This also means that doing a straight exchange with a car dealer doesn’t work either. That is, going to a Porsche dealer and trading your Ferrari for a Porsche is now a taxable transaction.

But the new law also produced an unexpected new planning technique that is attracting a huge Read More

Jerry Seinfeld Sued Over ’58 Speedster Sale

Alawsuit has been filed against Jerry Seinfeld, alleging that the 1958 Porsche Speedster he sold for $1,540,000 at the March 2016 Gooding & Company Amelia Island Auction is a fake.

Seinfeld politely and sensibly declined to comment on the litigation, as one would expect, so we have to rely upon the complaint filed in the lawsuit and reports in the press for the story.

Special car and occasion

The Speedster was one of 16 Read More

Corvette Litigation Hits the Finish Line

After five years of “Legal Files” columns about this case (December 2013, p. 40; January 2014, p. 42; September 2015, p. 73), the legal battles over the #1 Cunningham Corvette seem to have come to an end. On December 21, 2018, Porter County Indiana Superior Court Judge Jeffrey W. Clymer appointed Indianapolis attorney William Baten as receiver, directing him to take possession of the Cunningham Corvette and sell it at a no-reserve auction.

To refresh your memory, the Corvette we Read More

The Other Side of the Stolen Ferrari Case

Recently, “Legal Files” wrote about the end — or perhaps temporary cessation — of the litigation involving Barney Hallingby’s 1957 Ferrari 250 GT (October 2018, p. 50).

The Ferrari was once the property of Andreas Gerber and Bernhard Friedli. They claimed that it was stolen in Spain in 1991. Friedli litigated the matter in Spain and lost, with the Spanish court deciding it was a civil business dispute and not a theft.

Fast forward to this year, and Hallingby was Read More

What Could Possibly Go Right?

If you are a lawyer who works in the collector-car field, you get a lot of clients who are disappointed with cars they purchased from Internet ads.

They aren’t all stories with unhappy endings, but they are a treasure trove of legal work.

A recent victim, “Frank,” purchased a Porsche 930 from a dealer 2,000 miles away. The Turbo looked perfect in the many photos on the website, but Frank knew that little pictures can lie.

So he called the Read More

Limited-Edition Supercars Tempt Trouble

Recently, 24 Champion Porsche customers were shocked to discover that the approximately $2.5 million they had given to Champion as deposits on 911 GT3RS cars and other highly-allocated Porsche supercars was stolen — and no cars were ordered.

Actually, the problem was that they didn’t give the money to Champion Porsche, which is located in Pompano Beach, FL, but to a fraudulent entity created by its Vice President of Marketing, Shiraaz Sookralli. Thus, they were not only out their deposit Read More

Clever Internet Crooks Want Your Money

When was the last time you spent Sunday morning reading the classified section of your newspaper looking for a car to buy?

Been a while? Yeah, me too.

The Internet has pretty much replaced newspapers as the central marketplace for used cars. That is understandable, as the Internet allows easy access to buyers and sellers all over the world with a few clicks of the mouse.

But the electronic pipeline also provides equally easy access to scam artists of every Read More

Ten Years Stuck in a Legal Quagmire

More than nine years ago, “Legal Files” (December 2008, p. 26) reported about the seizure of a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT Pinin Farina Series I cabriolet, chassis 0799GT, from the Sharon, CT, home of noted collector Barney Hallingby.

Hallingby got the car back after about a year, but the litigation over its ownership has just ended — or has it? With the assistance of Hallingby and his lead counsel, Denver’s Lawrence Treece, we are now able to tell the full Read More

Tucker Torpedo Launches Into Court

Preston Tucker sure had big dreams. After World War II ended, he embarked on an ambitious plan to design, build and market his own car. His dreams came to fruition, and his eponymous company eventually produced 51 Tucker 48s before it went down in a financial firestorm.

Tucker’s car was identified as the Tucker Torpedo during its design and promotion phase. When the concept was finalized and ready to go into production, Tucker reportedly grew concerned about “Torpedo” reminding people Read More