It's a rare car indeed: The Duesenberg, Model J Luxury Roadster was manufactured in a quantity of just 470 units between 1928 to 1937. Jay Leno was awfully lucky to get one of these cars. At least he was lucky, until the estate of the car's deceased owner got wind of it and filed a lawsuit to reclaim the car.
It seems that some questionable tactics are alleged to have been used in executing a "sham" auction through which Jay Leno came to take possession of the highly prized automobile. Bloomberg.com reported that the car's owner, John Straus, had at one time refused an offer from Jay Leno to purchase the car. Subsequently, Leno paid $180,000 for the car at auction, a mere fraction of its true value.
The garage which was storing the car had allegedly seized it, and had it sold to pay some delinquent parking fees. At this time, it is questioned whether or not those parking fees were even righteously delinquent. The plaintiff indicates that repeated attempts to pay outstanding parking fees were rejected, misdirected, or misapplied. The Bloomberg article stated: "Straus's parking account, which the garage claimed was in arrears, was credited $39,709 as a result of the sale."Bloomberg quoted court documentation of Leno's own words, excerpted from a forward he wrote for a book in 2007. In that forward, Leno stated: "I didn't want to lose it,...So I made up a story -- no, it was an absolute lie." The Straus estate, which is seeking damages in the form of $1.7 million and return of the car, claims that the statement written by Leno applies to the now contested Duesenberg.
This situation should serve as a reminder that our actions always follow behind us. When we try to get a better deal on something by bending the rules, it will often cost us more in the end. Going through proper channels, following the rules, and respecting the rights of others shall always pay dividends. On the other hand, short cuts, subterfuge, and deals under the table shall seldom pay off. Perhaps Jay Leno just needed to learn this lesson the hard way.
Jay Leno sued in lawsuit over rare Duesenberg