Claims being called unqualified is defamation.
Ferrari could probably have sold every LaFerrari Spider it will build three or four times over. Long before it had even been announced. When a very limited production run is massively oversubscribed like that, it’s inevitable that people will have to be turned away. Rather than swallow the disappointment and move on, one collector who was passed over for a LaFerrari Spider has decided to sue Ferrari.
Preston Henn, former racer and owner of the legendary Swap Shop in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, had his application to buy a LaFerrari Spider turned down. So desperate was he to secure one that he sent a million-dollar deposit cheque directly to Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne. But it was returned along with notification that he wouldn’t be able one at all.
Henn has taken considerable exception to this. He has a history with Ferrari stretching back 60 years and has owned dozens of them. He still maintains a large collection of Ferraris that he displays at the Swap Shop and elsewhere including the 275 GTB/C Speciale, chassis number 6885, which is thought to be worth $100 million.
According to the lawsuit, filed at the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Division, Henn found out through third parties that Ferrari considered him “unqualified” to buy a LaFerrari Spider.
Henn reckons the “demeaning” rejection amounts defamation. The filing says: “The publication of the statement that Preston Henn is not qualified to purchase a LaFerrari Spider is an untrue statement which harms Henn’s reputation, and holds him up to ridicule, disrespect, and disrepute in his profession, trade, occupation, avocation, and among his friends and business and social associates.“
Henn is seeking damages "in excess of" $75,000. A trial by jury has been requested.
It'll be very interesting to see how this plays out. Should it go to trial, Ferrari will have to make public exactly why it turned down Henn's application and, by extension, how it decides who is worthy and who is not. Further, if the judgement went against Ferrari, it could remove the right of all car manufacturers to choose who they sell limited-run cars to. Maybe even their right to limit production in the first place.