US comedian and talk show host Jay Leno is being sued for the return of one of his collection of historic cars – a 1931 Model J Duesenberg.
The car previously belonged to millionaire John Straus, who died earlier this year, but it was auctioned in 2005 by the garage that was storing it to recover $29,000 in unpaid parking fees.
Leno bought the car in good faith, and a 1930 Rolls-Royce belonging to Straus was purchased by another collector.
But now Straus’s heirs have filed a lawsuit claiming that the sale of the cars was a sham. They say that the ‘trivial’ parking charges were used as justification to put the cars up for auction without the knowledge of Straus – who was suffering from dementia at the time – and in spite of hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to the garage, where the cars had been stored for 50 years.
Whatever happens with the Duesenberg, Leno still has one of the most valuable and esoteric collection of vehicles in the world, including his infamous 30-litre V12 ‘tank’ car.