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Dealer Wins Nissan 350Z EBay Auction With a $95,100 Bid

September 04, 2002|JOHN O'DELL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Great Nissan Z Auction on EBay has ended, and the winning bid for the first production model of the new 350Z, submitted by Everett, Wash., Nissan dealer Hugh Hall, was $95,100. That's more than two-and-a-half times the $37,000 value of the car, which carries vehicle identification number 000001.

Hall, who said a 240Z was his first car after he graduated from college 23 years ago, won in a flurry of action that saw bids ratchet up to $95,100 from $63,250 in the final 40 minutes of the auction.

Nissan North America will donate proceeds of the sale to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

Exhaust Noise

A bill to establish a statewide noise testing program for aftermarket exhaust systems has been approved by the California Assembly in a lopsided 68-8 vote.

The measure, sponsored by the Specialty Equipment Market Assn., previously had passed the Senate on a 31-3 vote, but must be voted on again in the upper house because of minor amendments in the Assembly version.

The bill would authorize state-licensed smog check stations to issue certificates of compliance for vehicles with exhaust systems that register no louder than 95 decibels under state-specified test criteria.

The bill also would allow courts to dismiss exhaust noise citations when a car owner can show, by providing a certificate of compliance, that the offending exhaust system meets state requirements.

The program would be paid for with fees collected for the tests and compliance certificates.

Alabama-Bound

DaimlerChrysler says it will build a crossover sport wagon, the GST, at its plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The factory, where the Mercedes M-Class sport utility vehicles now are assembled, is undergoing a $600-million expansion to make room for the wagon, which will debut as a 2004 model.

Mercedes-Benz showed the GST as a concept car at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

Cobra Case

A federal judge in Massachusetts has ruled that famed Cobra builder Carroll Shelby cannot claim trademark protection for the basic shape of the Cobra roadster he developed in 1962 and built until 1967.

Shelby, whose original Cobras now sell for $250,000 to $500,000, said the decision "is just another bump in the road" in his 20-year series of legal battles against scores of kit-car makers that sell replicas of the Cobra roadster body along with components of varying authenticity that buyers can put together for a "replicar" at a cost far less than the original.

He filed suit against one such replica maker, Superformance International Inc., in December, alleging that the company's cars infringed his designs.

The suit alleged infringement of trade dress, a form of trademark used in design cases. Superformance, based in Newport News, Va., asked the court to dismiss Shelby's claims without a trial.

In a decision handed down last month, U.S. District Judge Rya W. Zobel granted the replica maker's request, ruling that Shelby failed to prove that he is viewed by the public as the sole source of the Cobra.

Shelby, however, said he viewed the ruling as encouraging, because it does acknowledge that he created the original Cobra and that companies such as Superformance are deliberately copying the design.

Superformance, which has stopped using references to Shelby and Cobra in its advertising, pointed out it in its court filing that the original Cobra used a body designed and built by a British company, AC Cars. And AC has given Superformance permission to copy them, said the replica maker's Irvine-based attorney, Lynda Zadra-Symes.

Zobel said although many people equate Shelby with the Cobra, Ford Motor Co. owned the Cobra name and marketed many Cobra vehicles and is viewed by many consumers as the actual producer.

A similar claim by Ford against Superformance, alleging trademark counterfeiting, was rejected in the same decision.

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