January is nearing, and a good percentage of us will be making the annual pilgrimage to Scottsdale auction week. Great cars in the winter desert is tough to beat, especially when you board your plane in single-digit weather. But with thousands of bidders chasing fewer cars, well-stocked bidders’ bars and many millions of dollars changing hands — total sales reached $291 million in 2015 — there are plenty of things that can go wrong and create a Legal File.
It’s the end of a great year for the collector car market. As it winds down, readers should take the opportunity to focus on a number of planning details.
Tax rates likely to stay the same
Year-end tax planning doesn’t look terribly complicated this year. Election season is in full swing — even though the election is many months away — and neither party seems very interested in starting a battle over tax rates. Consequently, it seems safe to predict Read More
As exchange rates fluctuate, collector cars cross the oceans in the direction of the arbitrage. Add in some recent changes in U.S. import rules, and there is now quite a bit of interest in importing collector cars into the U.S. Is that a feasible option for the collector?
U.S. law imposes a number of regulatory requirements on cars — safety, bumper, theft-prevention, emissions and other standards — which have often been very different than the requirements in other countries. The Read More
Last month, “Legal Files” gave a behind-the-scenes report on the settlement of the Cunningham Corvette case, explaining how hard it is to really be a winner in litigation and why settlements almost always make sense (September 2015, p. 70). This month, it’s the other side of the story — an example of a plaintiff taking it all the way and coming out on top.
Five years ago, “The Nightmare of Litigation” (May 2010, “Legal Files,” p. 32) reported on a Read More
The long legal battle over ownership of the #1 Briggs Cunningham 1960 Le Mans Corvette is over.
When we last wrote about this fascinating case (January 2014, p. 42), the parties were about to argue a motion to dismiss the lawsuit entirely, which was not granted.
A few weeks ago, they went to court to argue another motion about storage of the Corvette. The judge, in a surprise move, took them into his chambers and told them they should find Read More
We’ve read about many court cases involving collector cars, but here is a new one — a father and son in a bitter court battle over the ownership of a four-car Lancia Stratos collection.
The cars are a 1971 HF, a 1975 HF Silhouette Turbo, a 1975 Stradale street car and a 1975 Safari.
After successfully defending himself against criminal charges in Austria and Germany, the son lost the ultimate battle in the London High Court, which ruled that the Read More
Last month, “Legal Files” focused on ways that a buyer can protect himself in a collector car purchase transaction. This month, we are focusing on how the seller can protect his interests.
In today’s hot collector car market, the seller’s main problem is not getting the car sold, but keeping it sold — that is, not having to buy it back when the buyer complains that the car is not “as it was represented to be.”
Watch what you say Read More
The collector car market has been very strong the past few years, and many cars are trading at prices that were unheard of not long ago. An unfortunate consequence of today’s market is that mistakes can cost a lot more than they did before. There also is a perception that good cars sell super quickly, so you have to move fast to get the car. In this situation, trouble can come very quickly indeed.
Savvy collectors need to balance their Read More
Collector car insurance policies are the coverage of choice for car collectors. The premiums are very low, and you get better service and claims treatment. But while collector car insurance policies, as a class, are almost always superior to your basic consumer auto insurance policy, they are not all created equal.
Are you covered? Here’s a few examples of what to check in your policy:
Other Drivers: With one notable exception, all insurance policies cover you for anything that happens Read More
A recent Federal District Court decision in Illinois should be of serious concern to auction bidders. If it stands, we might all have to take a full coterie of mechanics and consultants with us to each auction.
Our plaintiff, “Ted,” was a successful bidder at a 2011 auction. (“Legal Files” won’t identify the auction company because, as will be explained later, it isn’t particularly unique in this regard.)
Ted purchased a 1967 Corvette 427/435 coupe at a hammer price of Read More