:rofl:Grand Prix Motors of Los Angeles Seeks Refund for $1.7 million Mercedes AMG
CLK-GTR Roadster; Luxury Car Died After First 'Test Drive' of 10 blocks;
Auto Dealership Represented by Fulbright & Jaworski.
LOS ANGELES, June 14 /PRNewswire/ -- When Los Angeles car dealer Mark
Johnston forked over $1.7 million to buy one of only five special Mercedes
Benz roadsters produced in the world, he could not have predicted the
ongoing struggle just to get the car to work. Indeed, he and his brother
couldn't get it to travel more than ten blocks. Frustrated with his failed
efforts to obtain customer satisfaction, Mr. Johnston has filed suit in Los
Angeles Superior Court seeking a full refund from the manufacturer and its
The defendants named in the suit are DaimlerChrysler AG, along with
Mercedes-Benz USA, Mercedes-AMG GmbH and H.W.A. GmbH. Mercedes-Benz USA and
Mercedes-AMG are subsidiaries of DaimlerChrysler; H.W.A. has been
affiliated with DaimlerChrysler in the design and production of rare
automobiles for many years.
Mr. Johnston's suit, brought by law firm Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.,
accuses the defendants of breaching their contractual and warranty
obligations to provide a defect-free car, in this case a Mercedes AMG
CLK-GTR Limited Edition Roadster, which Mr. Johnston intended to sell
through his dealership. The complaint also alleges negligent
misrepresentation and breach of the implied warranty of good faith and fair
dealing. Mr. Johnston seeks full reimbursement of the vehicle's purchase
price, along with the other costs incurred as a result of attempts to
The silver AMG Roadster is a product of DaimlerChrysler's long
collaboration with H.W.A. and Mercedes-AMG, two German manufacturers of
racing and high-end performance vehicles. Only five of the AMG roadsters
were reportedly made; Mr. Johnston owns the only one in North America. The
AMG CLK-GTR is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most
expensive production car ever made. The two-door sports car is made of
carbon fiber monocoque with an integrated steel roll cage and front energy
absorbing crash box. The 6.9-liter engine has a 12-cylinder, 60 degree
V-motor, enabling the car to go from zero to 124 mph in 9.9 seconds and
reach a top speed of 198.4 mph.
Mr. Johnston and his brother Ernest own Grand Prix Motors, a car
dealership in the Mar Vista section of Los Angeles. The two former auto
mechanics have extensive experience working on Ferraris and other top
performing vehicles and are very knowledgeable about collectible cars.
Grand Prix contracted to purchase the Mercedes AMG in 2002 for the hefty
price tag of $1.7 million. Their intention was to sell the vehicle through
their dealership, as they had done with other rare and vintage automobiles.
"The car was absolutely gorgeous and we were excited about offering
what we thought was a true gem to our customer base," Mark Johnston
explained. "Unfortunately, the car turned out to be 'exotic' in the worst
possible way. When we took it off the lot in 2004 for its first customer
test drive, Ernie drove the car all of ten blocks with a prospective buyer
when the oil light came on. We've been trying to get it fixed ever since,
but the Mercedes folks have refused to stand behind the car as promised in
According to the complaint, the roadster's transmission failed to shift
properly. Additionally, the hydraulic jack system failed and the windows
became unglued. In 2005, the defendants dispatched a technician from
Germany to examine the car in 2005; after dismantling it, the mechanic
returned to Germany with a number of parts that were never reinstalled. Mr.
Johnston asserts that the defendants later instructed Grand Prix to
transport the non-working car to a Mercedes facility in Lake Park, Florida,
which Grand Prix did at an additional cost of $10,000.
Although the Mercedes technicians determined that the car suffered an
oil-pressure related engine failure and needed a new engine, the defendants
were unwilling to make any repairs. The complaint asserts that the
defendants were aware that several of the other Mercedes AMG roadsters in
circulation had oil pressure-related problems.
"Mr. Johnston has exhausted himself trying to get Mercedes and the
other defendants to recognize their warranty obligations," said John
O'Malley, the Fulbright & Jaworski partner in Los Angeles who is
representing Grand Prix Motors. "You'd think you'd be able to drive a $1.7
million car more than 10 blocks."
"We continue to be dumbfounded by the unwillingness DaimlerChrysler,
Mercedes and the other defendants have shown in owning up to the problems
of their vehicle -- the other manufacturers we deal with would never
operate this way," explained Mr. Johnston. "It's unfortunate the defendants
have forced us to bring a lawsuit in order to have our contract honored. We
obviously cannot sell the car in its current condition, which right now
represents nearly $2 million of scrap metal."
Grand Prix Motors
Grand Prix Motors is an established car dealership and full service
repair center in Los Angeles. Originally a business serving the vintage,
restored collectible, and one-of-a-kind high-performance vehicle market
niche, Grand Prix now sells and services new cars as well. Owners Mark and
Ernie Johnston purchased the dealership in 1983; they previously worked in
the repair shop as certified Ferrari mechanics. The brothers also own Ojai
Ford, a new car dealership in Ventura County, California.