Collectible cars’ quest and the scam speculations: the Jack Koobs de Hartog’s fraud case
There is no man on Earth that wouldn’t dream to have a garage full of old collectible cars and many are the ones that would do anything to have one rare model in their collection. Indeed, the market of collectibles has been rising and becoming noticeably valuable despite the 2008 crisis. As a recent study conducted by the classic car magazine Hagerty stated, the price of Post War cars like BMWs and Mercedes almost tripled from 2010. One of the most striking examples is the value of 1955 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing which has seen its price to grow 110% since 2010 for an equivalent selling value of $2,530,000 during August 2014. Needless to say that this new hype is not something exclusively related to German brands. Ferrari is also riding the wave of the moment and its cars demand is on fire reaching incredible market values.
Explaining the reason behind this unforeseeable market growth is not an easy task. The analyst of Hagerty magazine, Dave Kinney, believes that there is an economic bubble on the run and this golden speculative period for Post Wars classic cars is not meant to last forever. Giving an estimate of how long this positive trend will last isn’t easy and no one has yet been able to give a firm answer.
Collecting oldies is not the only new ongoing trend in the industry. Exotic cars’ rental is another fast-growing business attracting the attention of many car lovers. For people that are not acquainted with the topic, it is worth to spend a couple of lines to explain the difference between exotic and luxury cars. Indeed, this last category refers to high-end fully equipped vehicles like Mercedes’ and BMWs’ cars; while the fast, finely designed and hyper-technological cars are the ones belonging to the exotic category. Lamborghini, Bugatti, and Ferrari, surely enough is part of it and make their strong statement on the market. However, renting one of these super machines is definitely not comparable to the rental a city car, both in terms of prices and of riding experience.
Noah Lehmann-Haupt, founder and president of Gotham Dream Cars in New York City, explains the numerous parameters involved in the determination of the rental price definition. Among them, the ones with the highest impact are represented by the acquisition costs, the vehicle depreciation’s speed and the other rental companies’ prices around the country. “The very rough rule of thumb,” Lehmann-Haupt says, “is that the daily rental is 1 percent of the value of the car. Using that as a base, the price is modified based on demand, prestige and public perception.” Location is surely an important variable in the rental performance of a certain brand of exotic cars. Each place has a brand that is more on demand than others as the target market of this business is mainly made of people that can’t afford to have a supercar like this but that rightfully dreams of experiencing the thrill of riding one of those during their life.
Becoming a car rental agency for exotic cars is definitely not fast and easy. Aspiring business owners are constantly subjected to financial controls in order to validate the leasing plans and this is just the first step before starting. Once the business license is conceded, rental agencies have to pursue quite rigid safety rules in order to ensure the rental to reputable clients. Among the extra special requirements asked before the driving experience, there are insurance policies, criminal background checks, driving record checks, fingerprint registering and running a credit check with security deposits that vary from $1,500 to $10,000.
As easily predictable, despite the glamor and the euphoria of driving collectibles or exotic cars, very few are the ones that can actually afford to buy one. However this small elite of lucky men is constantly looking for rarity pieces and, more often than we can suspect, they would be available to accept crazy deals in order to own the car model they were looking for. This kind of behavior leaves an evident opportunity gap for speculators and frauds around the world.
More often than we think old car collectors are subjected to scam situations. One famous case is the one of Jack Koobs de Hartog. Inside his book “BIZZARRINI LE MIE VETTURE, LA MIA VITA” Jack Koobs declared that his replica “Iso ASC Drogo/ vin BO 228” was actually an original Bizzarrini version. Given these premises, soon enough, Koobs de Hartog tried to sell the vehicle at a higher price than the actual market value. Due to some inexpert mistakes committed during the negotiation phase, like the unusual ways of dealing with the transaction and the eventual undervalued pricing attributed to the vehicle, the South African buyer became suspicious of the trustworthiness of the deal. After quick research, it didn’t take much time for Mr. Van Rensbourg, the buyer, to understand that he was about to be a victim of a scam and fraudulent transaction with fake expert Jack Koobs de Hartog. The latter is now under a South African police warrant stop for fraudulent behavior.
Reaching the conclusion, collectible cars are the secret dream object of every man and their charm will still attract many passionate people around the world for many years ahead. However, it is necessary to be aware of the possible threats people can run into before deciding to buy from private, not certified owners.