A Guy Named Ferrari Had His 2003 Ferrari Modena Stolen and Sold by the Cops

Getting your car stolen has to be pretty confusing. You come outside expecting to see your car, and it’s gone. Imagine how your confusion might multiply if you found out it was the cops. Well, this story isn’t quite so cut and dry like that. For one New Yorker, this is (kind of) what happened. After a long series of legal battles and lots of annoyances later, the once Ferrari Modena owner got the courts to see things his way. 

Mr. Ferrari had his Ferrari Modena taken away by the police 

According to the New York Post, James Ferrari (can’t make this up), a Manhattan real estate broker, accused the Suffolk County police of stealing his 2003 Ferrari Modena. The story goes that in 2009, Mr. Ferrari was pulled over for speeding in his Ferrari Modena and was subsequently found to be drunk driving. The cops then impounded his name-matching sports car. 

Ferrari fought hard to get his Ferrari back. Eventually, a county judicial officer ruled in favor of the police, saying they had probable cause to keep Ferrari’s Ferrari, court papers show. 

The ruling eventually led to him having to sign over his Modena’s title to the court as a part of the legal settlement. This process took years, and now, Ferrari is out one Ferrari. 

What is a Ferrari Modena 

Like all Ferraris, the Modena has little practical application. It is a 395-hp supercar powered by a 3.4-liter V8 paired with a six-speed manual and a floppy-paddle automatic transmission. Although these days, the six-speed manual version would certainly be preferable for most supercar enthusiasts since that option is all but gone now. Back then, the paddle-shift automatic was the higher-level F1 trim. We have grown accustomed to this still of shifter now, but at the time, it was a cutting edge feature that time that mimicked the F1-style dual-clutch gearboxes. 

How much is a Modena worth?

 In 2003, Mr. F’s Modena would have likely run somewhere between $140,000-$170,000 depending on which trim he had. It came in two different body styles; the hardtop and the Sypder (convertible). During the court case, he argued that his stolen Modena was worth $110,000 at the time of the incident, which, if true, would boast a pretty high resale value percentage for the model. 

silver 2001 Ferrari Modena
2001 Ferrari 360 Modena spider, 2000 | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

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These Ferraris aren’t the most sought-after of all the horsey cars, but they are definitely cool enough to justify being pretty upset if the cops took yours away. Not only did they take his car, but they sold it at auction for an undisclosed amount. This sent Ferrari over the edge, and he decided to sue the county in federal court. After a three-year-long legal battle, the courts ruled in his favor and granted him $95,000 in damages on the grounds that the county overstepped its legal authority. 

The aftermath

The NYP got a quote from Mr. Ferrari after the case was settled, “I’m very happy that it’s done with,” Ferrari, 61, said outside his West Village home. “The government taking people’s property isn’t right.” 

Drunk driving is deeply uncool, and there are consequences to such things. However, this doesn’t mean the police get to take and sell your vehicle.