Gentlemen, Start Your Lawyers!
Dream car turns into court battle
By William C. Lhotka
Of the Post-Dispatch
2005 Ford GT
All his life, Edward F. Brennan Jr. said, he was fascinated by certain models of cars - particularly the exotic Ford GT40s of the 1960s that won races at Daytona and LeMans.
So Brennan, a lawyer from Belleville, wasted little time meeting with salespeople at the Dave Sinclair dealership in Mehlville when Ford Motor Co. announced in 2002 that it planned to build a limited edition super GT with a 550-horsepower engine and top speed of 205 mph.
One-thousand dollars changed hands.
But after the red-with-white sports car arrived on the Sinclair lot at Lindbergh Boulevard and Lemay Ferry Road about two weeks ago, Brennan and John Sinclair, president of the business and son of its founder, were at odds about exactly what that money had bought.
Now their dispute has landed in St. Louis County Circuit Court.
A deal is a deal, insists Brennan, 64, who said the deposit he paid on May 24, 2002, included an agreement to pay whatever Ford eventually listed as the manufacturer's suggested retail price. Brennan said the sticker price for his model, with the options he requested, is $153,095 - and that is what he should pay.
Sinclair insists there never was an agreement to buy the car at a particular price, and that Brennan really bought only a right of first refusal when the vehicle became available. He said Brennan is using the courts to try to create a deal that never existed.
Brennan can have the car for $59,905 over the list price, Sinclair said, which is $213,000.
According to court documents, Sinclair already has another buyer willing to pay $223,000. Sinclair said listings on the Internet as of Wednesday show an identical GT going for $244,096.
In an order Monday, Judge Bernhardt C. Drumm Jr. barred Sinclair from selling the GT to anyone pending a hearing on the facts. In the meantime, Sinclair said, the car sits "on our showroom floor about 10 feet from my office."
He complained, "It just goes to show you that no good deed goes unpunished."
Brennan had a rejoinder of his own, invoking dealer patriarch Dave Sinclair's familiar pledge in TV advertising that "If something's not right, I'll make it right." Complained the lawyer: "They advertise that they will make things right - but not so far."
The disenchanted buyer and unhappy seller are set to be heard in Drumm's court June 23.