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Adam Levine Sues Classic Car Dealer Over Alleged Fake Maserati: ‘Intentional Misrepresentation’

The dealer took "active steps" to conceal red flags about the authenticity of an uber-rare Maserati, according to a lawsuit filed by the star's legal trust.

A new lawsuit claims that an antique car dealer crossed his heart and hoped to die when he promised Adam Levine a classic Maserati — but then fraudulently sold a different vehicle.

In a complaint filed Friday in Los Angeles federal court, attorneys for Adam Levine’s so-called living trust claim that dealer Rick Cole convinced the group to trade two classic Ferraris in return for what the dealer claimed was a rare 1971 Maserati Ghibli 4.9 Liter Spyder, one of only 25 such cars ever produced.


But the lawsuit says it later turned out that there are “serious questions” about whether the Maserati (valued at $850,000) is authentic — and that Cole took “active steps” to conceal the red flags.

“It is now readily apparent that Cole was well aware that the vehicle is not the actual [Maserati], and that the vehicle has a substantial cloud over its identity, authenticity, and provenance, crippling its market value to a figure far less than that paid by the trust,” lawyers for Levine’s entity wrote. “Cole egregiously never disclosed any of this to the trust, withholding this information in order to make substantial monies on the sale.”

Cole did not return multiple requests for comment in response to the lawsuit’s allegations. A spokeswoman for Levine also did not immediately return a request for comment; neither did a lawyer for the Adam Levine Living Trust — a type of legal entity that controls assets for individuals and the named plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Cole’s website says he’s spent decades as an “Auctioneer to the Stars,” claiming he’s sold more than 20,000 cars and worked with Frank Sinatra, Robin Williams, Sylvester Stallone and Jay Leno. Levine is listed on the site among the other A-listers.

According to Friday’s lawsuit, Levine’s trust agreed with Cole in early 2021 to swap a 1972 Ferrari and a 1968 Ferrari, valued at a combined $950,000, in return for the Maserati and $100,000 in cash. But the trust’s attorneys say that when the rare car was later put up for resale, it was revealed that an identical Maserati with the same vehicle identification number existed elsewhere.

The lawsuit says that a deeper investigation then revealed big red flags, including that the disputed Maserati had been withdrawn from a 2015 auction over serious concerns about its authenticity, including incorrectly stamped markings on the chassis. And the trust’s lawyers say they believe that Cole subsequently tried to fix those defects, though he still left “giveaways” that the car was not authentic.

“This demonstrates that, after the questioning of the authenticity of the vehicle at [the 2015 auction], someone tried to make the vehicle appear authentic by reproducing or stamping a new chassis plate to make the writing seem more like that used by Maserati at the time, in an obvious attempt to convince a potential buyer,” the trust’s lawyers wrote. “Upon information and belief, it was Cole and/or his agents who made these changes.”

The lawsuit also claims that Cole “repeatedly discouraged” the resale of the case, since he “obviously feared that if the Trust marketed the Vehicle, it would eventually learn the truth concerning its lack of authenticity and corresponding decrease in market value.”

In technical terms, the trust is suing Cole for various forms of misrepresentation, breach of contract, and fraudulent concealment; it’s seeking a court order rescinding the sale of the vehicle, or an award of damages of at least $850,000.