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Adam Levine sues classic car dealer, alleging his 1971 Maserati isn’t the real deal

A man in a tank top with heavily tattooed arms sings into a microphone attached to a stand in concert
Adam Levine, seen performing during the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show, has sued a classic car dealer over an allegedly fake Maserati.
(Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)
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Singer Adam Levine says his 1971 Maserati is not the 1971 Maserati he thought he was getting when he traded two classic Ferraris for it in late 2020. Now he is suing to undo the $950,000 deal — or get paid enough damages to make it right.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California by the Adam Levine Living Trust, alleges that classic car dealer Rick Cole or his agents faked documentation and chassis and engine authentication marks on what was represented as one of only 25 or so 1971 Maserati Ghibli 4.9 Liter Spyders ever manufactured.

“Cole purported to have found an authentic Maserati Ghibli 4.9 Liter Spyder that he described as being ‘as good’ as an authentic Maserati Ghibli 4.9 Liter Spyder with a clear and indisputable identity that a representative of the Trust had seen and drove in Monterey a year or so earlier, and which was valued at over $1 million,” the lawsuit says.

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Cole bills himself on his website as an “internationally recognized sales agent, auctioneer, and appraiser of investment grade automobiles” with 50 years of experience in the industry. The lawsuit accuses him of, among other things, negligent misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment and breach of contract.

Cole did not respond immediately Wednesday to a request for comment.

The Maroon 5 frontman’s trust agreed in December 2020 to trade a 1972 Ferrari 365 GTC/4 and a 1968 Ferrari 365 GTC for the 1971 Maserati plus $100,000, which was what Cole suggested, the suit says.

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The Maserati, referred to as “the 1241,” was represented by Cole as having the vehicle identification number AM115.492.1241, the lawsuit says. Also mentioned is “the Real 1241,” the actual car given that VIN, which according to the lawsuit was actually sold several years ago to British luxury car collector Clive Joy and “has been in Switzerland ever since as part of Clive Joy’s collection, under the care of legendary race car driver Christian Trabe.”

Levine, a.k.a. “the Trust,” is “not in the classic car business at all,” the document says, and trusted Cole when he said the car was authentic, only to find out later that the 1241 was pulled from auction in 2015 after questions arose about its provenance.

Further, the lawsuit alleges that numbers stamped on the chassis and engine showed evidence that they were after-market additions to the car. Fonts and styles of imprints were not what was used by Maserati at the time those vehicles were made, the document asserts.

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“[S]omeone tried to make the Vehicle appear authentic by reproducing or stamping a new chassis plate to make the writing seem more like that used by Maserati at the time, in an obvious attempt to convince a potential buyer that the Vehicle was the #1241,” the document says. “Upon information and belief, it was Cole and/or his agents who made these changes.”

Also, the lawsuit says, Cole presented documentation signed by Maserati expert Fabio Collina as to the authenticity of the car. However, that paperwork was apparently for the Real 1241, not the car that was traded.

Cole allegedly repeatedly discouraged the Levine trust from selling the car, the lawsuit says, because he “obviously feared that if the Trust marketed the Vehicle, it would eventually learn the truth concerning its lack of authenticity and corresponding decrease in market value.”

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“The identity of the Vehicle is, at the very least, in serious doubt,” the lawsuit says. “It is not the Real #1241. It may be an original Ghibli Spyder in which ... someone got a hold of the engine and then stamped the Vehicle to try to match the engine. Or, it could just be a converted Ghibli Coupe, in which the original chassis plate was removed and replaced with plate number AM11549S*1241* in an attempt to make the Vehicle more attractive.

“But either way, the Vehicle is not authentic, has no identity and/or has a very questionable identity, which seriously undermines its value.”

Attorneys for former “The Voice” coach Levine did not immediately reply Wednesday to a request for comment.

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