Automotive News

Ferrari Sends Cease-and-Desist For Rotary-Powered 456 GT

PLEASE NOTE: This post has been proven to be false. We apologize for passing along a story that another website sensationalized by saying the owner received a cease-and-desist when in fact he didn’t. Most of the rest of this story is true, except for the part that actually makes it a much more interesting story. Thanks to TheDrive for bringing this to our attention. As for the bogus site that added its own fake account, we won’t bother embarrassing them further. They know they’re tools.

Brands like Rolls-Royce and Ferrari really get on the pipe when it comes to protecting their brands. Especially Ferrari takes a very dim view of those who customize Ferraris with garish paint or modifications. So they really blew a gasket when they saw Reuben Bemrose’s 456 GT. The stylish coupes were powered by the revered V12 of Ferrari renown. But this 456 was involved in a terrible crash that munched the front badly. It was complete but the engine was toast. He bought it “for next to nothing.” 

Rather than spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring it back to showroom condition Reuben had his own ideas. He owns R’s Garage in Wellington, New Zealand. He also had a spare Mazda rotary engine. In a matter of two weeks and $13,000 he had swapped out the V12 for the Wankel and the 456 was back on the road.

Rather than replace the front end Reuben went easy and welded on some tubing for protection

Rotary-powered Ferrari 456 GT |  Instagram-
Rotary-powered Ferrari 456 GT | Instagram

Rather than replacing the front end with pricey Ferrari sheetmetal he went the easy route and welded some tubing to the front for crash protection. Then he mashed it all together and started hooning around including performing some epic burnouts which got a lot of attention. We presume Reuben loved the attention until Ferrari got wind of his misadventures with their 456 GT.

Sometime after Ferrari’s Adderall kicked in it sent Reuben a cease-and-desist. As we’ve said the kind Italians don’t take kindly to shenanigans involving their Ferraris. When NZ News1 asked him why he chose the rotary he told them, “We thought it would be fun.”

“Ferrari, can’t you see I just want to be friends?”

Rotary-powered Ferrari 456 GT |  Instagram-
Rotary-powered Ferrari 456 GT | Instagram

Is he worried about his day in court? He says, “Obviously they are quite protective of their image and their brand which I completely understand. I’ve just taken their iconic V12 out of it and put an iconic New Zealand motor in it. Dear Ferrari, I’m so very sorry I didn’t mean to belittle your brand. Can’t you see I just want to be friends?”

Though we don’t think that will do much to allay Ferrari’s concerns we also don’t see how it can defend its C and D. It can’t be any worse than starting a Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, could it? The amusement park is entering its eleventh year. If Ferrari is establishing amusement as part of its brand there is nothing more amusing than taking a hacked 456 GT, stabbing a rotary engine into it, and hooning off to a sea of spectators?

The Ferrari lawyer phalanx is protecting Ferrari from the world

Rotary-powered Ferrari 456 GT |  Instagram-
Rotary-powered Ferrari 456 GT | Instagram

Ferrari has massive brand strength and customer loyalty. That is what its phalanx of attorneys are trying to protect. That, and intimidating everyone in its path. Like the Italian charity organization Purosangue Foundation. It’s a non-prof that registered the name back in 2013 for clothing, trinkets, and trash. 

Now Ferrari has decided it wants to name its SUV Purosangue. After an agreement wasn’t reached during initial talks Ferrari is now suing the charity. It says the foundation isn’t using the trademark and just like here in the states if you don’t use your trademark you lose it. The Purosangue Foundation has been using it steadily since 2013, so we’ll have to wait and see how the courts settle this. 

The bottom line is that whatever Ferrari sees as a red line over brand transgressions is much less important than the perception of being pushy. The David and Goliath optics don’t bode well for Ferrari, but it’s too far into the weeds to see it or understand.

Rotary-powered Ferrari 456 GT |  Instagram-
Rotary-powered Ferrari 456 GT | Instagram