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Ex-US army officer can't drive his €88k Ferrari

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Ex-US army officer can't drive his €88k Ferrari
Joe with his Ferrari in Germany before shipping it to the US. Photo: Submitted
08:54 CEST+02:00
A retired Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army claims he has been the victim of a scam after a dealership in Munich sold him a Ferrari which was seized by custom officials as soon as it arrived in America.

Joe Pagnotta, who retired this year, bought the F430 F1 in September 2013 as a retirement gift from a luxury car dealership in Munich.

After five years of working in Germany at bases in Mannheim and Stuttgart, he returned home to Florida in February. But when his Ferrari arrived off the ship it was taken by US customs officials in Brunswick, Georgia.

A mistake appeared to have been made in the car’s paperwork which meant the Ferrari was not allowed to be driven in the US. 

Joe, 49, told The Local: “US Customs performed the normal entry investigation on the car and its paperwork and found out that the dealership had sold me a non-American specification car.

“I immediately contacted the dealership to ask for help, their answer to me was, ‘we have 100 percent of your euro, you are now in America, the car is in America, there is an unfortunate typo on your title paperwork, too bad’.

“The dealership has since told me not to call them, email them, or return the car to them. My German soldier friends went to talk to the dealership to find a resolution on my behalf and they sent them away.”

The former soldier has spent €3,000 on flights back to Germany to try to sort out the problem, paid €2,400 for transportation of the Ferrari to and from the US and has been fined €1,000 by US Customs for illegally importing a non-American specification vehicle into the US.

He wants to warn others who buy cars in Germany to take back to their home country. “I own a car physically in the United States that can’t be driven in the United States or modified here by any American company.”

The Ferrari, which cost €88,000, was Latin America rather than US specification and can only be converted to US specification at the Ferrari factory in Italy. It was originally built for and sold to an owner in Brazil by the dealership Joe used.

The car is now being deported back to Germany where Joe will have to sell it privately or trade it for another vehicle.

He is looking into taking legal action against the dealership and showed The Local copies of emails from the dealership’s sales manager which stated the Ferrari was“perfekt” for Joe and was originally built for the US market. He is due to meet lawyers in Munich this month.

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