• Germany's news in English

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

Tom Bristow · 3 Jun 2014, 08:54

Published: 03 Jun 2014 08:54 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.

Story continues below…

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.

Do you have a story to share with The Local? Email news@thelocal.de.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Tom Bristow (tom.bristow@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd