Ford, Mecum reach settlement in Ford GT dispute

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2017 Ford GT on display before crossing the block at Mecum's Indianapolis auction in May 2018 | Larry Edsall photos

You may recall that back in May 2018, Mecum Auctions accepted one of the new 2017 Ford GT supercars to the docket for its annual Indianapolis collector car auction, and that Ford responded by attempting to stop the car from crossing the block.

But the car not only went up for bidding, it sold for $1.85 million.

The controversy followed on the heels of the earlier sale of one of the new Ford GT cars by wrestler/actor John Cena. Ford sued Cena, who reportedly settled the case and agreed in June 2018 to pay the automaker an undisclosed sum.

The car sent to the Mecum auction was not the Cena car, nor was it consigned by its original owner, but by a person who purchased the car from that owner despite Ford’s deal with original owners not to sell their cars for two years. 

Nonetheless, Ford Motor Co. pursued Mecum in court in Marion County, Indiana, over the matter.  On Thursday, January 24, Ford and Mecum announced a settlement that they believe, “clears up any possible lingering confusion that surrounds the Ford GT ownership agreement and its enforceability,” the parties agreed.

“While the terms of the settlement agreement are and will remain confidential, Mecum and Ford agree as follows:

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1.) Mecum will not accept for consignment sale any Ford GT owned by its original purchaser which is still subject to the two-year sales moratorium.

2.)  Mecum will consult with Ford regarding any Ford GT consigned with Mecum by any downstream purchaser (i.e., not that GT’s original purchaser) for the first two years following the GT’s initial sale to the original purchaser, and will not permit the auction sale of that GT during that time without Ford’s consent.

3.) Mecum will make a charitable contribution to the Ford Motor Company Fund.

The companies jointly urged original purchasers of Ford GTs to abide by the terms of the agreement to avoid future controversy.

The news release did not make clear that the Ford GTs in question are the latest generation models, not the earlier 2005-2006 cars. 

At Mecum’s annual Las Vegas motorcycle auction taking place this week, a company official said the contribution to the Ford charity fund was a good-faith donation and not any admission that the auction company had done anything wrong in accepting the car for sale in May 2018.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

1 COMMENT

  1. Never did agree with the Ford GT Owner Agreement. Nobody knows why Mecum folded and settled with FMC, but one thing for sure, Mecum making a charitable contribution to the Ford Motor Company Fund should not have even been considered.

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