Ferrari 250 GTO Gearbox At Center Of Bizarre Lawsuit

24 December 2019 - Carbuzz

Ferrari 250 GTO Gearbox At Center Of Bizarre Lawsuit

If you paid approximately $50 million for a super-rare Ferrari, you might feel entitled to the car's transmission, too.

The Ferrari 250 GTO is easily among the most historically significant cars ever produced, and inarguably the most coveted; a 1963 example set a new world record in 2018 when it reportedly sold for a reported $80 million to WeatherTech founder and CEO David MacNeil. It's mighty big news any time one of the 39 original examples built changes hands.

Likewise, it's a big deal when the sale of a Ferrari 250 GTO ends up at the center of a lawsuit.

As the UK's Telegraph reports, British racing driver and classic car dealer Gregor Fisken is suing Washington lawyer Bernard Carl for breach of contract. The reason? Mr. Carl allegedly failed to deliver the super-rare Ferrari's original transmission to Mr. Fisken after the sale.

Mr. Fisken reportedly purchased the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO for $50 million in October of 2017, sans transmission, with the understanding that its missing gearbox would be provided to him at a later date. But Fisken allegedly fought with Carl over delivery logistics, refusing to pay the costs to ship it to England, and a $25,000 "release fee" demanded by the US dealer in possession of the transmission.

As a result, Carl says, Fisken violated the terms of their contract and is not entitled to the missing 250 GTO gearbox. Carl is demanding $500,000 from Fisken to pay for his efforts in locating and securing the transmission. Now, Mr. Fisken and Mr. Carl are fighting it out in London's High Court, while the Ferrari has already been sold by Fisken to a new owner.

Fisken insists that the gearbox must be surrendered to him, as any monetary damages would be insignificant, reportedly saying: "The restoration of original parts to cars of this nature is of great significance... This is not simply about the unique nature of the gearbox itself, but the restoration of the GTO's provenance."

Earlier this year, an Italian court ruling established the Ferrari 250 GTO as a work of art in the eyes of the law, forbidding third parties from attempting to replicate its design.

There is no true modern day equivalent to the Ferrari 250 GTO - an "homologation special" sold to the public in limited numbers so that Ferrari could campaign the car in the FIA Group 3 Grand Touring Car class. One could make a case for the Ferrari 488, however - a production supercar that has raced in the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.