Stolen Ferrari "Found" in Connecticut

Discussion in 'Classic Cars' started by smokeydonut, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. This is about as confusing a story about a stolen car as I've ever heard... talk about hiding in plain sight.


    A rare 1958 Ferrari 250 PF Cabriolet valued between $1.5m and $2.5m, which was stolen in Spain 15 years ago, turned up in Connecticut on Thursday, September 4.

    Michael Sheehan, along with his worldwide gang of Ferrari spotters, have constructed a timeline for the 1958 Ferrari 250 PF Cabriolet, s/n 0799 GT, which now resides at the heart of a "Who's Car Is It?" controversy that spans the Atlantic. Though reported stolen 15 years ago, collectors in the Ferrari world have known the whereabouts of the car, as the timeline illustrates:

    S/N 0799 GT. 250 Series I Cabriolet. 16th of 40 built. Covered headlights and no fender vents. Entered Pininfarina plant on 11/05/57. Pininfarina job #19463. Gearbox #45 C. Rear axle #70 GTC. Built for Dino Fabbri of Italy. Painted MM 11911 black with Connolly VM 3218 natural leather. European Auto Sales Stock #1471.

    1957, 31 Oct. - Entered Pininfarina plant.

    1958, 1 Feb. - Gearbox assembly completed.

    1958, 4 Feb. - Engine tested.

    1958, Feb. - First owner Dino Fabbri, Italy.

    1962, Mar. - Converted at the factory to disc brakes.

    1967 - Sold to Tom Meade.

    1967 - Sold by Tom Meade, Modena, Italy, by L. Kitt Tucker, Jacksonville, FL. Car had just been rebuilt by the factory and had 52,000 km on it at that time.

    1970 - Sold by Tucker "to a man who lives in Houston, TX."

    1970, 11 Sept. - Registered by Peter Bowers, Houston, TX. Registered on Texas plates NTF 852, later 365 VQV. Title no 56560922.

    1971-1975 - Listed in the FOCUSA Rosters by Peter A. Bowers, Houston, TX.

    1980 - Still owned by Bowers through the 1980s per conversations with Sid Simpson, Ferrari mechanic in Houston.

    1989, 03 Apr. - Sold by Bowers for US $680,000 to Michael Sheehan's European Auto Sales and Restoration. Purchase agreement states warranty was as inspected by European Auto staff. $50,000 deposit sent to Bowers with balance due in 15-20 days or sooner.

    1989, 6 Apr. - Incoming wire information for European Auto for $120,000 for Andre Zenari, c/o Birkhart Transport AG, Leonhardsstrasse 53, CH 4003, Basel, Switzerland. Deposit on s/n 0799, with full price being $780,000.

    1989, 17 Apr. - Notarized handwritten letter to European Auto from Peter Bowers from Texas, stating "I, Peter Bowers, hereby sell Ferrari no. 0799 to European Auto sales Inc. in accordance with the attached contract."

    1989, 17 Apr. - $7,000 (1st payment sent by Michael Sheehan's European Auto Sales on finders fee) to Lawrence Diaz.

    1989, 17 Apr. - $3,000 (2nd payment sent by Michael Sheehan's European Auto Sales on finders fee) to Lawrence Diaz.

    1989, 21 Apr. - Sold by Michael Sheehan's European Auto Sales to Andre Zenari, C/O Birkhart Transport AG, Leonhardsstrasse 53, CH 4003, Basel, Switzerland, for US $780,000. The broker was Werner Schoch.

    1989, 15 May - As per European Auto Disbursement request and check for $35,560 payable to W. Schoch Porsche Sales commission on 1958 Ferrari 0799 from Garry Roberts.

    1989, May - Sold by Andre Zenari to Dr. Andreas Gerber, Pieterlen, Switzerland. Registered on plates BE 79395.

    Owned by Dr. Andreas Gerber of Switzerland until allegedly stolen from his warehouse in Marbella, Spain in 1993.

    1993, 07 July - Report of theft regarding Ferrari 250 Pininfarina Cabriolet s/n 0799 GT was filed, Interpol case #216543.

    1994, June - For sale by a Mr. Mennino, Bologna, Italy. Allegedly Mennino lost 0799 to the bank.

    1994 - The car was sold back to the United States, having been on consignment (along with two other classic Ferraris) at a dealer in Marbella, Spain, and offered via an Italian broker named Gianni Mennino.

    1995 - Advertised by Classic Coach, Ltd. of New York and sold to Scott Rosen of Medford, New Jersey.

    1995 - Owned 1995 by Scott Rosen, Medford, NJ.

    1995, 11 Jan. - As per phone call from Scott Rosen, this car has undergone a complete restoration at Frank Triarsi's shop. Car now has Series II taillights placed horizontally at top of rear fenders.

    1997, 12 May - Rosen traded the car to Jeff Schwartz for another 250 GT Cabriolet Series 1, s/n ‘0779 GT’, plus US $225,000 in cash.

    2000 - Rosen bought back ‘0799 GT’ for US $525,000 and it was advertised in June 2000 at US $595,000.

    2001, January - Sold to Paul “Barney” Hallingby of Sharon, Connecticut, in January 2001.

    2001, January - Shown at Cavallino Classic, Florida. The front sheet metal had a "275 GTB" type look. When shown it was missing all its tools and the spare. License plate was Conn. 34234.

    2004, 20 June - Shown at the Hartford Concours in Connecticut, silver with dark red leather trim.

    2005, 5-6 June - Shown at the Greenwich Concours, Connecticut.

    2007 - December issue, Forza magazine, seven page feature on this car and other cars in the Hallingby collection.

    2008 - An advertisement was placed in Cavallino magazine calling for information on the whereabouts of the car and its theft on the 7 July, 1993. It's location was hardly a secret.
  2. Legal analysis by Sports Car Market's John Draneas...

    Legal Wrangling Begins Over Stolen 250 PF Cab

    In the wake of the recent discovery in Sharon, Connecticut, of a 1958 Ferrari 250 PF Cabriolet that went missing from Spain some 15 years ago, SCM's legal analyst John Draneas attempts to shine some light on where this confusing case may be headed:

    The legal analysis begins with the seemingly simple question, �Which law applies?� And with which meaning, Spanish or U.S. law? After all, the Ferrari was stolen in Spain, but it is now in the United States.

    If U.S. law applies, it is likely that the European owner can recover the Ferrari without any obligation to the current owner. The current owner would have clear recourse against his seller, and his seller against his seller, etc., until the chain gets all the way back to the thief, who ends up holding the hot potato.

    But we do not have any uniform law in the United States. Each state adopts its own laws. Many times their laws are very much the same, but there can be differences. Each of the links in this litigation chain can be controlled by a different state�s laws, depending on where the seller and buyer reside and where the sale took place. There can be different abilities to recover, and different statutes of limitations could apply. The key points are that each link is separately analyzed, and once the chain is broken, there is no way to get back to an earlier link.

    The Uniform Commercial Code generally provides that good title passes to a purchaser if he buys the property from a dealer who customarily sells such items of property. But this provision of the UCC has repeatedly been held inapplicable to stolen property. For the rule to apply, the property must be entrusted to the dealer by the owner, and the owner is the fellow in Europe.

    Much time has passed here, and it would seem that a statute of limitations might apply. However, statutes of limitations generally run from the time of the discovery of the theft, or the discovery of who has the car. And there is generally no duty of �due diligence� imposed on the owner. That is, he doesn�t have to look very hard, and can generally just wait until the car pops up.

    Very similar to a statute of limitations, a legal doctrine known as laches might apply. Generally stated, this legal theory would require that the owner make reasonable efforts to report the theft and locate the car, and if he sits around too long doing nothing, the court might refuse to order the return of the car. But this legal doctrine is very imprecise, and its application is difficult to predict. And if it were applied, it would be applied both ways. The purchaser would have to establish his own innocence, and that he made a reasonable investigation to determine the title of the car before he could expect a court to preclude the owner from recovering the car.

    In this case, the same rumors and innuendos that should have helped the owner locate the car might also work to destroy the purchaser�s innocence sufficiently to prevent the application of the laches doctrine.
  3. Interesting stuff
  4. I heard about this on the radio a few days ago. It was local news for me.
  5. Ok... this is worse than Portugal...
  6. #6 smokeydonut, Sep 9, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2016
    This just in...

    Sources forwarded the official Search and Seizure Warrant Affidavit and Application to SCM just minutes ago. They were used to allow the Connecticut State Police to enter and seize the 1958 Ferrari 250 PF Cabriolet, S/N 0799GT, from the premises of long-time Ferrari collector and SCMer Paul "Barney" Hallingby.
  7. let the lawsuits begin!
  8. Interpol and Spanish authorities couldn't find the same car in the same city less than a year later?
  9. #9 smokeydonut, Sep 23, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2016
    Well now it looks like this whole thing got started as a dispute between two Italian co-owners of this car...

    If so, I hope the 'new' owner gets his car back from the CT State Police. I spoke to him back in 2003 over this very car & for what it's worth, he didn't strike me as a thief or even a dupe who'd knowingly buy a 'hot' car.
  10. that car has had quite the life since its birth

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