Home » Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE Owner Sues Dealer For Allegedly Wrecking The Muscle Car Despite Having Been Told Not To Drive Off The Lot

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE Owner Sues Dealer For Allegedly Wrecking The Muscle Car Despite Having Been Told Not To Drive Off The Lot

Chevrolet Camaro Zl1 Totaled By Dealer Ts
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The owner of a rare 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Hendrick Edition with the 1LE Extreme Track Pack is making allegations that paint a rather bad dealer service experience. The owner says, per the suit, that they dropped off their prized muscle car with a no-start condition and told the dealer not to drive it off of the lot. According to a lawsuit, the dealer fixed the no-start condition but then did drive it off of the lot and into a guard rail at highway speeds. Apparently the vehicle is now totaled, and the owner wants both compensatory and punitive damages.

First spotted by Automotive News, whose article is titled “$97,000 Camaro brought in for repair but service adviser totaled it on I-95, suit alleges,” the story discusses a dealer named H&L Chevrolet of Darien, Connecticut. Per the Automotive News story, Kenny Habul dropped the car off via flatbed on or about January 23rd, 2024. Per the publication, Mr. Habul says the car had 989 miles on it, and not a single one came from street driving. That’s impressive all by itself. This is, after all, a track-oriented monster with a supercharged 6.2-liter engine, a Hendrick dyno tune, a custom camshaft, and a factory data recorder. That last item ends up being incredibly handy in this particular case, too.

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Per the car news site, Habul says he left the vehicle with H&L under the specific instruction that “under no circumstances was any employee to take the Vehicle off of the lot.” Evidently, the no-start condition was the result of a broken clutch switch. Once replaced, you might think it would be reasonable to take a few laps around the lot to ensure that the new one worked as intended. Apparently, a service advisor took the vehicle onto I-95 instead. That employee is also part of the suit and allegedly took another employee on the ride with him. While the passenger was wearing a seat belt, data from the car suggests that the driver wasn’t, Automotive News reports.

Chevrolet Camaro Zl1 1le 2018 1600 04

The suit also says the data recorder indicates that the driver was traveling at 70 mph five seconds before the crash happened. It even indicates that the throttle position was at 45 percent. It’s the next five seconds that tell the rest of the story though. At three seconds before the crash, the throttle was at 95 percent and the car was going 89 mph, per the suit. Half a second later, 2.5 seconds away from the impact, the throttle wasn’t engaged at all, the suit says. “In other words, in the seconds before the crash Mr. Sebastian gunned the engine and lost control of the high-performance Vehicle that he should not have been driving,” the suit continues.

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The suit says that police found the road to be clear; that may make it seem, based on that complaint, that from the moment the car left the lot poor choice after poor choice was made. The complaint states that the car was deemed a total loss, and the Automotive News story says officers ticketed the driver for failing to stay in his lane. Now, Mr. Habul is seeking compensatory damages from the dealer which would in theory make him whole for the value of the car, an estimated $97,000.

In addition, he’s seeking punitive damages that would penalize the dealer, the driver, and perhaps both. Our own Mercedes Streeter found the entire lawsuit filing too. As of July 1, the plaintiffs filed for a default judgment citing failure to appear on the part of the dealer and driver. We’ll keep an eye on this as it develops.

Chevrolet Camaro Zl1 1le 2018 1600 03

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Jacob Nichols
Jacob Nichols
11 days ago

It is very sad that they cannot respect the basic wishes of their customers. Joy riding in someones car is outright disrespectful, even more so when the specifically ASK not to drive the car off the lot. The driver is a careless manchild and the dealer is fully responsible.

Dave Edgar
Dave Edgar
7 days ago
Reply to  Jacob Nichols

And he didn’t ASK – he INSTRUCTED. And one dumbass decided it’d just be too cool to ignore the instructions.

World24
World24
11 days ago

I appreciate the very professional article where there isn’t a whole paragraph dedicated to blaming every single dealership for being terrible because of bad actors like this one.
Just because some people can be terrible, doesn’t mean everyone like them are. That’s just a terrible comparison to make.

J Money
J Money
11 days ago
Reply to  World24

So wait…. you’re complaining about something that they didn’t do here? That’s a fresh take.

Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson
11 days ago
Reply to  J Money

It’s very common on another automotive site that I used to frequent.

World24
World24
11 days ago
Reply to  J Money

Does it really seem like a complaint? I sincerely meant it.

Jason Smith
Jason Smith
10 days ago
Reply to  World24

I saw it as congratulating the author for not taking the low road and then describing the low road you meant.
Seems like a reasonable take, but the internet is the internet…

Along with Martin, Dutch Gunderson, Lana and Sally Decker
Along with Martin, Dutch Gunderson, Lana and Sally Decker
11 days ago

Has anyone on here heard of Kenny Habul, or the back story on this particular Hendricks Edition Camaro? And a dealer in Darien should know better.

Reasonable Pushrod
Reasonable Pushrod
11 days ago

I’ve heard of Kenny, but what’s the backstory on this particular car?

Noahwayout
Noahwayout
11 days ago

Talk about burying the lede. The service advisor wrecked a legit race car driver’s track whip.

Ryan
Ryan
11 days ago

Are we talking GT racer and occasional NASCAR racer Kenny Habul? Of all the customers to do this to……

Along with Martin, Dutch Gunderson, Lana and Sally Decker
Along with Martin, Dutch Gunderson, Lana and Sally Decker
11 days ago
Reply to  Ryan

It could just be a coincidence, but I would think that someone writing for a site like this would have that information instead of regurgitating what was on Jalopnik yesterday, which was a regurgitation of the story from The Drive.

GirchyGirchy
GirchyGirchy
11 days ago

It’s a media centipede!

Black Peter
Black Peter
11 days ago

I didn’t know who he was but obviously google did. I think if the guy who has won Bathurst a couple times told me “don’t drive the car” I would in fact not drive that car. Now maybe the service people didn’t know who he was, but this a classic case of the subject matter expert being ignored. Not stated but I would infer that the car didn’t have plates, I mean this is a guy who doesn’t need to drive his track car to the track.

Jason Smith
Jason Smith
10 days ago
Reply to  Black Peter

I’d agree that it’s not only a fairly reasonable assumption that the car was not only not plated, but also clad with track tires which may have directly contributed to the crash.
I’d see these as perfectly reasonable justifications for the instructions provided.

Black Peter
Black Peter
10 days ago
Reply to  Jason Smith

Excellent point! I didn’t even think about track tires..

Along with Martin, Dutch Gunderson, Lana and Sally Decker
Along with Martin, Dutch Gunderson, Lana and Sally Decker
10 days ago
Reply to  Black Peter

The thing is, where this dealer is, someone bringing them a car like this and asking them not to drive it anywhere likely isn’t an unusual occurrence.

Black Peter
Black Peter
10 days ago

I’m not familiar, I’m guessing near Lime Rock?

Along with Martin, Dutch Gunderson, Lana and Sally Decker
Along with Martin, Dutch Gunderson, Lana and Sally Decker
9 days ago
Reply to  Black Peter

Kind of, but not really. In the middle of the affluent region of Fairfield County. A couple mind-numbing hours from Lime Rock Park.

Marques Dean
Marques Dean
11 days ago

Remember those 80s commercials about your brain being on drugs?
The dealership employees (probably ex employees now) are poster childs of those commercials!
Can’t help but wonder if they actually drug screen the employees at the dealership!
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GOnENVylxPI&pp=ygUbdGhpcyBpcyB5b3VyIGJyYWluIG9uIGRydWdz

David Smith
David Smith
11 days ago
Reply to  Marques Dean

I’ll take two over easy, please.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
11 days ago
Reply to  Marques Dean

This is your brain.
This is your brain on drugs.
This is your brain on drugs with a side order of bacon.

Aaron Berga
Aaron Berga
10 days ago

I had that T-shirt in High School.

Jason Smith
Jason Smith
11 days ago
Reply to  Marques Dean

I preferred the Rachel Leigh Cook version…

Marques Dean
Marques Dean
11 days ago
Reply to  Jason Smith

Got to go “ol skool” for sheer stupidity on this one. Simple and to the point.

Last edited 11 days ago by Marques Dean
Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
11 days ago

In the UK we have to get our cars inspected every year. One of the tests is handbrake/parking brake effectiveness. This is normally done on a rolling road, but if you have a limited slip diff there is a risk of vehicle damage, so they have to do a road test to assess the brakes.

Background out of the way: I drop off my fully legal and insured drift car with its welded diff for the test, and explain very, very clearly that it can’t be brake tested on the rollers, and that because of the welded diff (and the turbo, and the one-off carbon body panels, and having my sponsor’s huge company logo on it) it’s to be driven extremely carefully by someone who isn’t an idiot.

The garage owner spun my car on a roundabout in front of a police car.

No damage, and he explained the situation to the police, so no record of an incident, but FFS I couldn’t have been clearer.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
11 days ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

Have you heard of reverse psychology? Telling a half-wit not to do something is a guarantee that they will do it.

Anoos
Anoos
11 days ago

“In addition, he’s seeking punitive damages that would penalize the dealer, the driver, and perhaps both.”

I’m entirely on board with them paying him full value for the damaged property… but punitive damages? This guy seems like a bit of a [you pick].

Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

I’m guessing the dealership decided to get defensive rather than immediately offering to do everything in their power to properly compensate the owner. The fact that they didn’t even bother to show up in court tells me this may be a dealership that could in fact use some punitive damages. I was feeling the same as you until that last bit of information about them not bothering to show up in court. That’s not the move you’d expect from a respectable dealership that dropped the ball just that one time.

Bruinhoo
Bruinhoo
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

A bit of a … benefit for the wider community for making the dealer face actual consequences for their actions.

In a world (or at least a country – China for better or worse, doesn’t F-around in this respect) where financial tools are the only real way to go after a badly behaving business, punitive damages is our society saying ‘you screwed up badly; we can’t throw you in jail, or strip your business license for this, but we are going to make you hurt in the one way we actually can.’

TheCrank
TheCrank
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

Nah, this is actually a good example for granting punitive damages. The owner knew something stupid like this was a real possibility, explicitly told the dealer not to drive it, they did anyway. If not for punitive damages, this dealer and employee essentially face no consequences for their blatant stupidity.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

Punitive damages are punishment for bad behavior. You really don’t think any type of punishment would be appropriate for stealing a customer’s car and driving it into a guard rail at almost 100 mph?

J Money
J Money
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

Ah, so you’re one of those people who doesn’t think anyone should be held accountable for their actions, huh?

Anoos
Anoos
11 days ago
Reply to  J Money

I see it as a property damage case. Their liability should be the value of the damaged property.

I don’t think the owner is due more than the value of the vehicle whether it fell off the tow truck on the way to the dealership or burned in a shop fire while it was there.

Stupid as they were, I don’t think the employees took the car with the intention of crashing it.

J Money
J Money
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

So then yes, you don’t think they should be accountable. When their reckless decisions and blatantly ignoring of the property owner’s directive led to this.

Hey, it’s a pretty common viewpoint these days, but it’s also the reason people act like bigger and bigger assholes — “I can do whatever I want” is a prevailing viewpoint and it sucks.

Anoos
Anoos
11 days ago
Reply to  J Money

No. I think they are responsible.

Accountability in this case is paying the customer the value of the damaged property.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

So you see no difference between a garage legitimately taking a car test drive and having an accident due to something like a deer jumping out onto the road and a a dealer who was explicitly told not to test drive the car on public roads and crashing due to illegal and unsafe driving?

In the first case, the dealer should compensate for the damage since the car was in their care, even though it was simply an unfortunate accident. Dealers have insurance to cover such occurrences.

The second case should never happen. It is gross incompetence in the least and, as others have said, arguably auto theft. Punitive damages exists for cases such as this.

Anoos
Anoos
11 days ago

I see no difference in the financial loss to the car’s owner.

Strangek
Strangek
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

The “value” of the property in a case like this extends beyond the simple sale price of the property. It can cost more than that to make the aggrieved party whole again. Punitive damages are absolutely appropriate in this situation.

Anoos
Anoos
11 days ago
Reply to  Strangek

When you drop it off at the Chevy dealership it’s just a used Camaro.

If it’s worth more than that to you, seek other service options. At a minimum, wait at the dealership.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

So what is a scenario in which punishment for bad action is justified? The distinction above is that there are two elements here. 1) Loss of vehicle, and 2) effective theft and abuse of vehicle.

By your standards, only the first should ever be covered and there should be no punishment for the second when it occurs?

Anoos
Anoos
11 days ago
Reply to  Lockleaf

Theft is a crime. There are criminal penalties.

Tomato Cards clarified that these damages are allowed under CT law, so they can sue away.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

I’m trying to understand your perspective, not the legality of the suit. A person can always basically always ask for punitive damages, regardless of how justified they might be. So why is it insane to pursue punitive damages, but since its in state statute its ok now? Punitive damages are also in state statutes.

Ok, lets go with conversion then. Conversion is a tort, so its a civil action. Do you see a key difference in suing for punitive damages vs adding Conversion to the law suit?

Anoos
Anoos
11 days ago
Reply to  Lockleaf

I still think it’s a bit silly to be able to add the punitive damages to a property damage lawsuit. But if that’s what the law allows. I can see the punitive damages where there is physical injury or in the case of illegal evictions. I think it’s a bit of a stretch applying it to simple property damage, but I have to think there is a reason it’s allowed under the law.

Does conversion apply here? I’m obviously not a lawyer, but is it conversion every time a tech takes a vehicle for a test drive in the course of servicing it? Test drives seem within the normal scope of having a vehicle serviced. I know he specifically said not to drive it on the street, but I assume he also signed an agreement when he dropped the car off which probably has some language allowing test drives in the course of service.

I personally feel like a simple lawsuit over property damage should be capped at the value of the property (plus legal fees, expenses, etc). In cases involving criminality, I can see adding punitive damages. I think this involves a whole bunch of stupidity, but we haven’t yet made that criminal. (We’d need a LOT more prison space.)

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

I appreciate you taking the time to explain your perspective.

Tort law is often the legal realm that covers “stupid, but not technically criminal”.

Dave Edgar
Dave Edgar
7 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

The dealership accepting the car under the owners instructions assumed a heightened duty of care. They need more incentive to not do this sort of stupid shit, apparently. And payment of the value of a “used Camaro”, to use your own description is very likely not going to make the owner whole, as it is a very specific build that may or may not be duplicable. The owner is not being a dick – he is attempting to achieve two things: 1) to be returned to the same or similar situation he was in before this went down; and 2) to try to keep this from happening again. Just pawning it off on insurance won’t do it – it’s gotta hurt, or it won’t accomplish that.

Tomato Cards
Tomato Cards
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

The statutes enacted by the Connecticut legislature underpinning counts 3 and 4 of the lawsuit disagree with the way you see it. Connecticut general statutes 248/14-295 allows for double or treble (triple) damages for property damage caused by reckless driving. You can surely disagree with the policy determination by the legislature, but there is a damn strong argument for multiple damages to dissuade folks from behaving in highly dangerous ways.

Anoos
Anoos
11 days ago
Reply to  Tomato Cards

Does that require the driver to be cited for reckless driving?

I assume you have to sue to get the extra damages. If granted, would the extra be paid by the driver’s insurance?

Tomato Cards
Tomato Cards
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

1 – no
2 – also no – this lawsuit is literally him suing to get the damages
3 – who knows?

Mollusk
Mollusk
11 days ago
Reply to  Tomato Cards

Insurance policies cover actual damages within limitations, but rarely if ever cover punitive damages.

Tomato Cards
Tomato Cards
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

Also, recklessness =/= to intent. No one is saying the employees intended to damage the car. If there were any indication that they did – which there does not appear to be – there would likely be intent-based counts in the lawsuit. Which there are not. If the employees intended to destroy the car they would likely also be susceptible to charges for criminal damage to property, a specific intent crime. Once again, not the facts of what happened.

Anoos
Anoos
11 days ago
Reply to  Tomato Cards

I didn’t realize that CT allowed for the extra damages, which actually seems a bit silly. It’s not like Kia Boyz have insurance or the means to pay civil judgements.

Unless insurance covers this or you’re damaged by a reckless rich person, your judgment isn’t worth much.

Tomato Cards
Tomato Cards
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

Well again, public policy discussions abound about whether persons who suffer damages should be entitled to sue potentially responsible parties for various types and values of money damages. This case doesn’t seem like a close one to me if you are wanting to argue against The American Tort System, but as there are strongly opposing viewpoints here I’m happy to let you view it as you please 🙂

Anoos
Anoos
11 days ago
Reply to  Tomato Cards

Most of the time you’re going to be in a blood from a stone situation trying to collect.

ClutchAbuse
ClutchAbuse
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

No, they intended to abuse it for a quick thrill without getting caught.

Anoos
Anoos
11 days ago
Reply to  ClutchAbuse

Until the crash, where was the abuse?

The car was intended for rapid acceleration and high speeds.

ClutchAbuse
ClutchAbuse
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

Tire wear, brake wear, going over potentially rough conditions you wouldn’t find on a track to name a few. The owner made it clear to not drive it on the street. Driving it on the street is abusing the car.

Dave Edgar
Dave Edgar
7 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

Yeah – by a skilled and experienced driver. NOT BY THAT GUY.

Dave Edgar
Dave Edgar
7 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

Gross negligence is absolutely a reason for punitive damages. Intent is not an issue – clear instructions were given to NOT DRIVE THE CAR off the lot. This dealer and its employees must be severely disincentivized from repeating this egregious behavior.

SirRaoulDuke
SirRaoulDuke
11 days ago

70 to 89 in TWO SECONDS. Holy shit.

And these clowns didn’t even bother to respond to the summons. Wow.

Ricardo
Ricardo
11 days ago

When I was a prestige dealership tech in the 90s I actually didn’t want to be servicing the special hi-po cars, especially if they were spotlessly clean when they came in. It said too much about the owner, and their potential attitude to a mere finger print being left on the car somewhere.

All the road-testing was done by the two workshop team leaders who were authorised to do it, not the techs on the floor, and we would get spotted by owners every now and again (inner city posh suburb dealership). You never knew who was watching.

Hope the owner gets full value, and more. This is negligence followed by unprofessionalism, selfishness and then just plain ‘hey…watch this!’ levels of stupidity.

Nathan Rupert
Nathan Rupert
11 days ago
Reply to  Ricardo

The no show in court is on brand too lmao

2manybikes
2manybikes
11 days ago

The driver is on LinkedIn. He’s got a bachelors in mathematics and worked at McKinsey for seven years, albeit as an admin. Evidently service advisor was a bridge job after getting laid off from the consulting world. Bet he wasn’t supporting the Risk Management group when he was at McKinsey.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
11 days ago
Reply to  2manybikes

Or he was, and isn’t now for reasons

Masterbuilder
Masterbuilder
11 days ago

As I see it, the biggest problem here is that there isn’t any way for the dealership to replace what they destroyed. There simply aren’t any replacement ZL1 Hendrick Camaros with under 1,000 miles.

Therefore, punitive damages are in order here.

Marques Dean
Marques Dean
11 days ago
Reply to  Masterbuilder

That’s the understatement of the year.
Hendrick Motorsports only built 40 of these cars,so it wasn’t a run of the mill Camaro. And since the Camaro is now officially out of production that makes that car figuratively and literally irreplaceable!

A. Barth
A. Barth
11 days ago

I’d like to see the dealership be required to find another identical 2018 Camaro of the same trim level – and mileage – and to make all the mods, etc. so the plaintiff has an actual replacement.

That, I think, would be at least as aggravating as punitive damages.

Or both. Both would be fine.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
11 days ago
Reply to  A. Barth

I’d like to see the dealership be required to find another identical 2018 Camaro of the same trim level – and mileage – and to make all the mods, etc. so the plaintiff has an actual replacement.”

I wouldn’t trust this dealer to do that. I wouldn’t be surprised if this scummy dealer took a basic example, modded it in a half assed way and then would try to call it good.

No.

The best bet is to get replacement cost plus puntative damages that is a multiple of the replacement cost.

Then with that money, the planiff can decide whether they want to try to find/build another one or just move on.

EricTheViking
EricTheViking
11 days ago
Reply to  A. Barth

This sounds similar to what one guy who ordered his M3 in a very specific shade of blue and got it with wrong shade of blue (Atlantic Blue instead of Atlantis Blue—who would come up with the “similar sounding” names that have completely different shades of blue).

You can read all about it in this article.

Mister Win
Mister Win
11 days ago
Reply to  A. Barth

Another 2018 Hendricks Camaro? There’s only 40-39, now!

Marques Dean
Marques Dean
11 days ago
Reply to  Mister Win

Remaining examples just got a little more valuable!

Bob
Bob
11 days ago

Pleased to see that “gunned the engine” is official lawyer language that can get sent to judges in a complaint.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
11 days ago
Reply to  Bob

We should consult Mercedes wife, Sheryl!!

Sheryl, is “gunning the engine” official law talking now?

Anoos
Anoos
11 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

I specialize in bird law, and we avoid using the word ‘gun’ in our filings.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

Bird law? I found reference to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, and now I’m curious. Please expound! —and, how does one end up specializing in it?

Anoos
Anoos
11 days ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Well, filibuster.

Drew
Drew
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

Let’s say you and I go toe-to-toe on bird law and see who comes out the victor.

Drew
Drew
11 days ago
Reply to  Bob

You’d be surprised the kind of language that ends up in legal briefs. A lot of colloquial words and phrases end up part of our legal landscape.

Drew
Drew
11 days ago
Reply to  Drew

I should have provided an example. One of my favorite legal briefs is this one in support of John Oliver: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3911409/Wvnd-19902323086.pdf

Dave Edgar
Dave Edgar
7 days ago
Reply to  Drew

“Apparently because
Plaintiffs’ delicate sensibilities were offended, they clutched their pearls and filed this suit.” ROFLMAO! I have actually taken legal writing courses – and OMG I wish I had written this brief – it’s brilliant!

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
11 days ago
Reply to  Drew

I recently reviewed a surrogacy contract for a friend (they had a lawyer, I was just a second set of eyes as a favor). The contract had the word “anyhow” in it. ANYHOW.

Dave Edgar
Dave Edgar
7 days ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

My legal writing teachers would have rolled their eyes, but I don’t think they’d have made me rewrite that. Not that I would have used that construction in the first place, but the profession IS trying to make legalese a little easier for laypeople to understand.

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
11 days ago
Reply to  Drew
Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
11 days ago
Reply to  Drew

“What’s a ‘yoot'”?

My Cousin Vinnie

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
11 days ago

This is a six year old car with UNDER A THOUSAND MILES ON IT.

Did the service writer think the owner wouldn’t notice the increased odometer reading?

Stupid, stupid, stupid…

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
11 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Well, he obviously didn’t think that the owner would know precisely what would happen if that car was driven by someone with no business driving it. Even without the data recorder.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
11 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

This is where I have a mental picture of running the Ferrari in reverse in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Robotmlg
Robotmlg
11 days ago

This is not just any owner, this is race-winning sports car driver Kenny Habul https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenny_Habul

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
11 days ago

ADAB

Widgetsltd
Widgetsltd
11 days ago
Reply to  10001010

I wish I could like this more than once. I just saw those guys again a month ago at the No Values fest.

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
11 days ago

Punitive judgment for a totaled car? Jeez Louise.

I’m not even sure why the owner would sue the dealership. Isn’t this the whole point of having insurance? Subrogate it to your insurance company and let them sort it out.

Life is too short to worry about a totaled car.

Drew
Drew
11 days ago
Reply to  SNL-LOL Jr

Punitive judgment for a car totaled due to dealership negligence is how we prevent these things from recurring. And I would much rather have the dealership (or their insurance) deal with paying me for my car (and loss of use) and not have a claim on my own insurance. Even if my insurance gets every dime they can from the dealership, they’ll still raise my rates for having the audacity to make a claim.

Gary Lynch
Gary Lynch
11 days ago
Reply to  Drew

Of the car was track only, the owner may not have had any sort of collision type of insurance on the car.

Drew
Drew
11 days ago
Reply to  Gary Lynch

Oh, that’s another good point.

Anoos
Anoos
11 days ago
Reply to  Gary Lynch

I didn’t consider that. Ooof.

Jason Smith
Jason Smith
11 days ago
Reply to  Gary Lynch

THIS!!! The car was never driven on the streets, there’s no reason to have any type of insurance above theft or storge/transportation coverage. It’s also highly likely the car wasn’t registered and very well may have had non-DOT tires. All valid reasons for the very specific instructions allegedly given to the dealer…

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
11 days ago
Reply to  Gary Lynch

Fair point that is.

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
11 days ago
Reply to  Drew

Not sure about CA but NY specifically forbids insurers from raising the premium when the claims are not at fault. Ask me how I know.
I’m not fully certain if the plaintiff even has standing for punitive damage, but initial claims are just the lawyers peacocking. It’s going to settle. No one wants to spend six figures on litigation when the claim is in that range.

Drew
Drew
11 days ago
Reply to  SNL-LOL Jr

Even when they can’t raise premiums, they find a way. One is to have a “claim-free discount” they take away when a claim is made. I don’t know if NY forbids the removal of discounts. If it does, that’s some good consumer protection and I approve.
I’m pretty sure the plaintiff has a fair chance at punitive if the facts are as presented here. Probably not as much as he’s going for, because you are right that the initial claims are almost invariably higher than they expect to receive. The real question is whether the dealer tries to throw the employee under the bus. In theory, the dealer should be insured for things, but their insurance isn’t going to like it if they’re letting the employee go for a joyride with a car that wasn’t supposed to leave the lot.

Cayde-6
Cayde-6
11 days ago
Reply to  SNL-LOL Jr

Yes. Because a dealership that lets their employees Ferris Buehler their customers’ cars has systemic problems

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
11 days ago
Reply to  SNL-LOL Jr

Because he said so. He told them so. Some chucklehead with the keys thought better. And destroyed his rare and possibly irreplaceable car. And then he said “I told you so,” because he most certainly did, and sued them.

Hondaimpbmw 12
Hondaimpbmw 12
11 days ago
Reply to  SNL-LOL Jr

I guarnf******te you that insurance will NOT make the owner whole. They take your money and turn themselves into pretzels to avoid paying anywhere near the replacement value of the car. I got stiffed for the value of my 89Honda Civic SI after a big rig took me out on the freeway during commute hours. The driver swerved into me to avoid an idiot in a pickup gassing it to get on the freeway and spun out in front of the big rig. The 18 wheeler caromed off me then wiped out the pickup anyway. I got squat.

Anoos
Anoos
11 days ago
Reply to  Hondaimpbmw 12

That’s why there are agreed value insurance policies.

Hondaimpbmw 12
Hondaimpbmw 12
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

This was in the time when the car was my DD. It has hit the bottom of the depreciation curve and was on the way back up. Agreed value would have been outrageously expensive and hard to pin down as time went on.

Anoos
Anoos
11 days ago
Reply to  Hondaimpbmw 12

I understand, but this insurance would be entirely available to the owner of a six figure toy car.

Hondaimpbmw 12
Hondaimpbmw 12
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

Yup

Mister Win
Mister Win
11 days ago
Reply to  SNL-LOL Jr

Found the dealership employee!

Anoos
Anoos
11 days ago
Reply to  Mister Win

Let’s not become that place. Doxing is a jerk move.

Tomato Cards
Tomato Cards
11 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

Agree – posting the complaint in the article is pretty close if not actually doxing. Yes I know the lawsuit is a public record. Yes the defendants were total fools. But if you’ve never acted a fool please let me know… Humans make mistakes and this was a big one. But I am not sure it is, beyond the value of an interesting story and a cautionary tail, a reason to reveal someone’s identity. It isn’t like we are talking about a public figure defendant here. And when you bail your car over to other people you do run a risk. If you expect concierge service for your ultra-rare car, Joe Schmoe’s Chevy Dealer is kinda a weird choice…

Last edited 11 days ago by Tomato Cards
SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
11 days ago
Reply to  Mister Win

Right. Asking your insurance to litigate for you is totally letting the dealership off the hook.
Any decent business would have $10M minimum umbrella coverage, probably higher. They can punitive damage the hell out of this case and it’s still be a rounding error for the dealership’s liability coverage.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
11 days ago

What a pair of assholes!

Edit to clarify: I am referring to the dealership employees.

Last edited 11 days ago by Shop-Teacher
V10omous
V10omous
11 days ago

More cars should come with valet keys that limit throttle to 25% open and/or top speed to 70 mph or something.

There are a lot of upsides to owning a supercar from a mass-market brand, but living in fear of something like this every time the car needs dealer service is one of the biggest downsides.

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
11 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

When I just had a run-of-the-mill Corvette I only took it to a dealer that had a dedicated Corvette mechanic that just worked on Corvettes. I don’t know if they even have such a thing any more.

What happened here was just terrible. How can people have such awful judgment?

V10omous
V10omous
11 days ago
Reply to  Jack Beckman

Dodge had/has the same thing with Vipers.

I still get nervous, because if you’re the kind of person who’s going to joyride a customer car, it doesn’t seem like much more of a stretch to “borrow” the keys.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
11 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

I get that the average person isn’t all that smart, but man…how the fuck do you not know what you’re playing with if you’re a damn technician? The ZL1 is no joke. It’s the absolute limit of what that chassis can handle. It’s awe inspiringly fast, but it’s not for the faint of heart.

Plenty of very experienced drivers will struggle with 650 horsepower to the rear wheels. It honestly puzzles me how many of these “oh I turned off traction control, mashed the throttle, and totaled (insert muscle car here)” stories are out there. I’d love to drive a ZL1, but I’d also be terrified the entire time…and I think that’s a good thing.

I genuinely have no idea how so many ding dongs hop into an overpowered rear wheel drive car and assume it’s like playing a video game. Hell, my 300 horsepower, front wheel drive car has gotten away from me before and I’ve actually been through a fair amount of driving instruction and been behind the wheel of some properly potent stuff.

Anyway, I’d imagine getting work done on your Viper is similarly nerve wracking. I’d honestly always be a little anxious that my American supercar would get the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off valet treatment…

Last edited 11 days ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
V10omous
V10omous
11 days ago

how the fuck do you not know what you’re playing with if you’re a damn technician?

Master techs have serious skills that I don’t wish to minimize at all, and real careers with something to lose (which is why they aren’t usually in these stories), but the oil change guys and lot porters could basically be anyone.

Anyway, I’d imagine getting work done on your Viper is similarly nerve wracking.

My solution is basically not having work done at the dealer if I can avoid it. That may not be a long term solution, but in the actual worst case I will trailer the car to a Viper specialist a couple hundred miles away.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
11 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

At my local dealer, apparently they now have porters who can’t drive manuals, judging by how many guys it took to bring my Focus around last time I was there.

As the years go by, a master tech might end up being the last guy at the place who can, and as you point out, the least likely to abuse someone’s vehicle.

MAX FRESH OFF
MAX FRESH OFF
11 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

The last time I dropped my Civic off at the dealer the porter couldn’t drive a standard transmission. I bit my tongue but really wanted to tell this kid to go find a grown-up.

Marques Dean
Marques Dean
11 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

As someone who worked at a Dodge and an Audi dealership, owned or not a lot of those high end cars were to respected. As for the Viper especially if you didn’t respect that car ,it would bite you-and it has ferocious fangs. many time I’ve seen people wanting to become “snake charmers” and they nearly end up killing themselves trying to tame the car! And Viper technicians had to be specifically certified by Chrysler Corporation to work on them.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
11 days ago

I mean, this person was so stupid that (1) they didn’t think the owner would notice they’d driven a car with less than 1000 on the odometer, and (2) they were screwing around at 100mph without a seatbelt.

Jonathan Green
Jonathan Green
11 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

I knew a girl whose uncle worked for Chrysler. Back in the day, when the Viper first came out, they had 3 Vipers that they let the execs use. I was at my friend’s house, and her drove up in one of the Vipers, and it was absolutely Hooned out. Burning oil, tires shredded, etc. And these were the execs driving these cars! So I definitely can see this happening…

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
11 days ago

Default judgment?

It’s one thing to claim no-fault by default, but to not even make an attempt to contest the claims whatsoever is just begging for an automatic “W” for the plaintiff. Good thing that the dealer probably has plenty of property on hand for the sheriff to auction off to satisfy the execution…as long as it’s not another customer’s car.

Drew
Drew
11 days ago

as long as it’s not another customer’s car.

While it would be very shitty, it would also be kind of funny if the dealer ended up with another lawsuit due to claiming another customer car as dealership property and lost even more.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
11 days ago
Reply to  Drew

Right? Steve Lehto did a piece recently about a dealership that was doing warranty work on a woman’s car (just past warranty, though) and ended up selling it in the process. There’s so many questions to be asked.

Drew
Drew
11 days ago

Every time I get upset at the crap dealers have pulled on me, I consider these stories and realize there are far worse dealership experiences. And I look at the dealerships I work with and wonder when I’ll have one of those truly terrible experiences.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
11 days ago
Reply to  Drew

I guess it’s really a numbers game (like most stuff at a dealership). But hey, good thing we consumers have dealers to look out for our best interests. 😉

I’d be interested to see if The Autopian picks up that story, unless it’s at 10 foot pole status due to some of their affiliations. Maybe they will once there’s more information available.

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
11 days ago

Can floor planned vehicles be auctioned off to settle a judgement?

Kyree
Kyree
11 days ago
Reply to  Lew Schiller

Probably not, no.

Dave Edgar
Dave Edgar
7 days ago
Reply to  Lew Schiller

Not unless you get a judgment against the lender/manufacturer. The sheriff cannot auction off an item that is not owned by the defendant.

2manybikes
2manybikes
11 days ago

An attorney appeared for defendants July 8. It won’t be a default.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
11 days ago
Reply to  2manybikes

Thanks for the info. I was going off the article:

“As of July 1, the plaintiffs filed for a default judgment citing failure to appear on the part of the dealer and driver. We’ll keep an eye on this as it develops.”

Tomato Cards
Tomato Cards
11 days ago

The defendants have now entered appearances and the motion for default has been denied…

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
11 days ago
Reply to  Tomato Cards

It sounds like things could get interesting going forward then. It’s certainly more intriguing than a default judgment.

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