The Hard Line | Lauren Fix discuss the automotive news of the day



The Car Coach will discuss General Motors estimated cost to replace Takata airbags at $870 million, a AAA report saying it rescued a record 32 million stranded motorists last year, Tesla’s next chapter looking like an investment risk and the Apple car …

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• Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet (1181 GT) Pinin Farina Series I. CONCOURS_0153 copy

• Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet (1181 GT) Pinin Farina Series I. CONCOURS_0153 copy

Ferrari 250 GT Pinin Farina Cabriolet

• Photo © by Artamia. Concours d’Elegance Cars Show & Christi Auction. Pebble Beach,
CA. Monterey Bay Peninsula. USA. Pebble Beach Resort, Golf Course and Co.
apps.gagalabs.com/flickr/[email protected]

• Ferrari’s first road cars were little more than thinly disguised racing cars, built to custom order for the world’s richest enthusiasts. The cars left the Maranello based factory to be bodied by one of the many Italian coach builders with often very beautiful open and fixed head bodies. While these road going Ferraris were among the finest machines available, for Enzo Ferrari they were little more than a means to finance his racing. The increasing popularity of the production based ‘Gran Turismo’ racing saw Ferrari take a renewed interest in road cars. At the 1956 Geneva Motor Show the first purpose built Ferrari road car was introduced, dubbed the 250 GT and bodied by Pinin Farina. The production cars were built by Mario Boano, who closely followed Pinin Farina’s original design. Around 70 virtually identical examples were produced, making the 250 GT Boano the first Ferrari built in a series.

• Interesting that Boano himself also showed a Ferrari 250 GT based machine on that same 1956 Geneva Motor Show. No doubt inspired by the American designs of the day, Boano had crafted a very extravagant Cabriolet body for the 2600 mm chassis. The most noticeable styling influence from across the Atlantic were the fins that ran along the side of the car. It was also distinct in the prominent use of chrome. It was shown twice more and then sold to an American collector, who owns it to this day. Even though it was the only 250 GT fitted with an open body by Boano, it sparked an interest in a ‘Cabriolet’ production car. Pinin Farina was commissioned with the design and construction of the car. Official known as the ‘Spyder 2-Posti’ the first prototype was ready in time for the 1957 Geneva Motor Show. A further three prototypes were constructed before the design was finalized. This was used for the subsequent 36 ‘250 GT Cabriolets’, although it must be said that no two cars were completely identical.

• In good Ferrari tradition the chassis of the 250 GT production cars was closely related to that of the competition cars. Similar to all of the company’s sports car chassis of the day, it was constructed around two large tubular rails with plenty of cross members for rigidity. Suspension was by double wishbones with coil springs at the front and a live axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs at the back. Like most Italian manufacturers Ferrari continued to use the tried and trusted finned drum brakes long after the British had showed their advantages on road and track. Several of the 250 GT Cabriolets later received disc brakes, including the first prototype, which was sold to factory driver Peter Collins. Retrieved from a Jaguar D-Type the same set was later used by the factory for testing purposes …

Authorized Retailers Vs Unauthorized – What’s the Difference?

You see a brand-name television set or a beauty product for sale online. The price seems like a bargain. Being a smart shopper, you ask yourself, is there is a catch? Is the product legitimate? Is it okay to buy from an “unauthorized” dealer?

Many consumers are confused about the terms “authorized” and “unauthorized” retailers. Partly due to the efforts of manufacturers, who discourage unauthorized retailers, consumers may be reluctant to purchase legitimate products from an unauthorized retailer who is offering a genuine product.

What is an “authorized” retailer?

An authorized retailer has a contractual relationship with a big manufacturer. This benefits both the retailer and the manufacturer. Big corporations like to have as much oversight over their marketing as possible, because more control means bigger profits. They like to operate vertically-that is, with direct control over everything from research to manufacturing to retail sales. This makes it easier to keep retail prices high and generate bigger profits.

Big companies want customers to buy from their authorized dealers because they make a bigger profit. However, many retailers operate outside the corporate system. Why? To offer lower prices. The unauthorized retailer can often purchase and then re-sell products at a lower price than the authorized retailer. Generally, the unauthorized retailer can do this by obtaining genuine products overseas and bringing them back to the U.S. for sale.

Who does this? Surprisingly, not just Internet or regional operations; even some big-box names like Costco, Amazon, and Target have engaged in unauthorized retailing.

Is This Legal?

Yes! In the case of Quality King Distributors v. L’Anza Research International, No. 96-1470, the Supreme Court held unanimously that an American company cannot block the domestic sale of genuine products that the company had originally sold overseas. The Court ruled that once a product had been distributed in an authorized manner (the “first sale,” according to Federal copyright law), the copyright owner had no further control over the product’s fate.

The Supreme Court’s decision overturned a lower court case establishing copyright law as a defense against unauthorized retailers. In 1996 the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, had ruled that a distributor of genuine beauty products had infringed the copyright on a brand of hair products manufactured in the United States for sale at a discount overseas. In the U.S. market, the products were intended for exclusive sale in salons.

The Supreme Court ruling supports free trade that benefits American consumers. The products in question are authentic American-made goods, not counterfeit or pirated. Trademark law was not at issue in this case because the challenged products were legitimate products authorized by the manufacturer for sale. So big corporations sought to use copyright law as a source of protection.

How Does the Consumer Benefit?

Simple-lower prices! Because unauthorized retailers are free to purchase genuine products from a variety of sources-not just from the manufacturers-they can offer lower prices than other stores. So if you know you are buying a genuine product, …