Opps!!!! Thought it was a race car? Now I have to Pay Big!!

Discussion in 'The Coffee Shop ~ Chit Chat' started by Enkeiavalanche, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. Enkeiavalanche

    Enkeiavalanche Loving the Outdoors Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    [​IMG]The Porsche 917 Le Mans race cars weren't just stars on the track, where they led Porsche to its first wins at Le Mans; they also made Steve McQueen's film of the race a masterpiece. One of the drivers injured in that race let a journalist take his personal 917 back on the track — and then sued him when the car engine failed. The journalist's new job: Finding a way to pay $174,000 in damages and legal costs.
    British journalist Mark Hales arranged with retired racer and collector David Piper to drive his original Porsche 917 around a British race circuit against a similar vintage Ferrari car in April 2009 as part of a magazine photo shoot. Such events happen all the time; the old car's owner gets publicity for his ride, and the writer or magazine gets exclusive, and sometimes incredible, shots of antique machinery at full wail.
    Despite the value of the machinery involved — Piper's green 917 pictured above was worth $2 million — deals like this one typically go off with nothing more than a handshake. Hales was an experienced race driver himself and familiar with older race cars, and every race of historic machines features pits full of mechanics wrenching away on parts that finally broke after a few decades of wear. He also paid Piper $3,200 for the use of the 917.
    But Piper claimed in a British court that Hales had agreed to keep the finicky 12-cylinder boxer engine in the 917 under 7,000 revs, and that instead Hales over-revved the engine to 8,200 rpms, blowing it. Hales argued the gearbox in the 917 had mis-shifted, and that Piper had verbally agreed to cover any damages from the track session.
    Last week, the court found for Piper, ordering Hales to pay not just the $74,000 in damages but some $100,000 in costs and fees as well. Hales now says he will probably lose his home and go into bankruptcy if the order stands up. British auto enthusiasts have set up a donation fund for Hales, and pressured Piper to throw the entire affair into reverse.

  2. Curky

    Curky Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Now that sucks. He got screwed badly. There has to be more of the story. Was he a free lancer or work for a company, contracts, policy’s, did he sign a waiver, did he do something wrong to break it or was it just time for the car to break.
  3. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    I bet a rev limiter would've been cheaper than $174,000.
    Surprising how delicate some of these older "race cars" were, their was no room for any error or mis shifts.
  4. stchman

    stchman Active Member 2 Years 1000 Posts

    Moral of the story, don't let someone else drive your car. Also if someone asks you to drive their car, get it in writing that you are not responsible for any damages to the car.

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    I personally think that race car is hideous and it looks like you would have to be 5'6 and weigh 140lbs to even fit in the thing.
  5. trentkoger

    trentkoger New Member

    Just goes to show you the kind of people we have living in this world today.
  6. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    If the writer did agree to pay for any damage (the court thinks he did) while he had it then he is on the hook and pretty dumb in my opinion. The trans could have blown on the first lap, he could have had a tire blow out and hit a wall totaling the car. You never know what can happen. For example, my neighbor works for Chrysler and is pretty high up in the PR department dealing with media. He had a brand new shipment of 2012 vipers come in for the media day. They had not been released to the public yet. They were for writers to drive on the track and write reviews about. He pulled the first one out into the parking lot at the Chrysler headquarters, it was a chilly fall morning. The factory did not put winter tires on it. He let the clutch out, it got sideways and slid over a berm, totaling the car. He had driven vipers hundreds of times with no issues. The car was insured through Chrysler so it cost them some money but he kept his job.
  7. McClintoc

    McClintoc ɹoʇɐɹǝpoɯ Staff Member 3 Years 1000 Posts

    Dang, that sucks for the writer but I guess that's the risk he chose to take; not I think he should have to pay though. I don't let ANYONE drive my truck and it's nothing special - at least not compared to a race car. If I owned a car worth $2 million I wouldn't let anyone even look at it!

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