Marooned: Adam Levine Claims He Was Taken for a Ride Over Possibly Fake Maserati
Pop/rock star Adam Levine -- perhaps best known as the lead singer of Maroon 5 -- is suing a car dealer over what he claims is a forgery.
It started a little over two years ago. Levine traded two Ferraris to classic car dealer Rick Cole for a Maserati. Not just any Maserati -- Levine was trading for a 1971 Maserati Ghibli 4.9 Liter Spyder. One of just a handful ever made. Now, Levine claims, the car isn't authentic and Cole knew it.
The lawsuit was filed a week ago in Los Angeles by the Adam Levine Living Trust. The claim is that Cole and/or members of his company knowingly falsified details about the car to make it seem authentic.
Only 25 of these Maseratis were ever built. Levine traded in a 1968 and 1972 Ferrari, plus $100K in cash, to acquire the car. Between the cash and the two cars, it's estimated Levine traded in $950,000 in assets for the possibly fake Maserati.
What makes Levine think he got faked? Well, the LA Times dug up some lawsuit-related documents and it appears that when Levine went to sell the Maserati, he discovered the VIN belonged to a different car, one that was owned by a collector -- and been in that collector's possession for several years.
Furthermore, Levine found out that the car's authenticity had been questioned before, to the point that it was pulled from an auction in 2015 amid questions about whether it was real or not.
Levine's suit alleges that the car is inauthentic and that intentional attempts to falsify the car were made. Attempts like having new numbers stamped on the engine and chassis.
From the suit, cited by Robb Report: “After the questioning of the authenticity of the vehicle at , someone tried to make the vehicle appear authentic by reproducing or stamping a new chassis plate to make the writing seem more like that used by Maserati at the time, in an obvious attempt to convince a potential buyer. Upon information and belief, it was Cole and/or his agents who made these changes.”
Texas-based Cole is well known for selling to celebrities. The lawsuit is accusing him of negligent misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, and breach of contract. Levine wants either the sale rescinded or $850K in damages.
More from the suit, again via Robb Report:
“It is now readily apparent that Cole was well aware that the vehicle is not the actual [Maserati], and that the vehicle has a substantial cloud over its identity, authenticity, and provenance, crippling its market value to a figure far less than that paid by the trust,” Levine’s lawsuit claims, adding that the dealer allegedly “repeatedly discouraged” the resale of the vehicle. “[Cole] obviously feared that if the Trust marketed the Vehicle, it would eventually learn the truth,” lawyers for the Adam Levine Living Trust wrote in the suit.
Levine and his lawyers don't try to determine what the car actually is, but they think it might be a Ghibli Spyder or Ghibli Coupe. Levine notes that since he's not a car dealer, he believed that Cole was selling a true Ghibli 4.9 Liter Spyder.
We've reached out to both sides for comment and will update if and when we hear back.
[Image: Andre Luiz Moreira/Shutterstock.com]
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Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.
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