Controversies

Myths and Mysteries have always fascinated the human mind. The mind loves anything mystic , hidden or half exposed. Mysteries and controversies have dodged the automobile world for a long time. A world extremely complex and huge. From design tables to assembly lines and from board rooms to bed rooms there is a story, a controversy , a hoax hidden somewhere waiting to be told. Be it the mysterious death of William Favre or the story of the round door Rolls. It is the controversies and mysteries that make the automobile world all that  more lovely and beautiful.

William Favre

 

He was young, charming and an attractive Frenchman. A Grand Prix International magazine had just printed an advertisement saying, "It was still possible to buy a GTO250 at a reasonable price." A reasonably priced GTO was quite surprising at that time when a genuine would sell at 2 million dollars. What William Phillipe Favre did was to recreate the charismatic 1962 Ferrari GTO 250. He was adventurous and daring and loved risk. He was called the "thorn in the Fiat's flesh", and the very mention of his name was enough to drive Enzo Ferrari mad. Favre had money and guts. With these he set out to realize his dream. He could never afford a genuine Ferrari GTO 250 even when Ferrari would sell them. He started building his own GTO 250 with a donor car. Things were perfect till then and if Favre had satisfied himself with his creation and paid attention to his real business, he probably might have been alive today. He had a very complex personality. He could change himself from a charming individual to a viscous devil. 
One of America's Ferrari-only weekly publishers had dedicated almost an entire issue casting doubts and deriding Favre's integrity. Enzo's reaction to Favre's idea of replicating the GTO 250 initially came as disinterest. As far as  the cars of the past were concerned Enzo's interest was highly lacking.

There was a time when collision met Ferraris could be bought at prices as low as 3 to 5 thousand dollars .In 1980's, the price of the Ferrari classics shot up to astronomical figures. By this time a lot of Favre replicas were out in the market. The situation was difficult for Enzo to neglect. America has always been a happy hunting ground for Ferrai, the country which holds a vast number of loyalists. The increasing popularity of The Favre replicas took Enzo by worry.   In 1985 Favre had quite a range of Ferrari replicas in different stages of construction. At one time his unit his unit boasted eight GTOs, Three  GTO 250 Californian Spyders, a few 1959 Testa Rossa and a 330 LMB. Perhaps the biggest concentration of replica Ferraris in one place at the same time.  

Favre was very much concerned about passing his cars as a genuine Ferrari, hence he planned enough precautions to see that a Favre car wasn't passed as a genuine Ferrari, and was of course his greatest surety was, anybody would double check a Ferrari before buying it. Dishing out seven digits was not easy for anybody and would double check for a fake. Favre's GTOs weren't perfect, From a distance they looked very much identical to the original but within a short distance, the deficiencies were clear. A few months later Favre was arrested by Swiss authorities on the charge of building and selling counterfeit Ferraris. He was imprisoned for 5 days. After his release his wife divorced him. The result was disastrous. His commercial integrity was in shambles. To add to the woes his partner, a lotus importer in France reneged on their contract. Angry and frustrated, Favre pulled him to the court. Over the next few months Favre fought him in courts. He finally was awarded damages worth one million pounds sterling. By September 1985, with the new found money, work was started on a new Favre GTO and over the next three years, Favre saw 5 GTOs built. William Favre was a restless man, little things would irk him. Enzo was still stalking him in Swiss courts. The projected production of GTOs were put at 40 and extensive jigs were constructed to build 40 GTOs. The first GTO was built in 1986 and sold for 75000 dollars. In 1989 it was allegedly offered for sale in Florida for 1 million dollars. He considered the first car as prototype number 1. Many changes were made to the second car both aesthetically and mechanically. The second car was much better then the first, but more refined and more original. The second car was bought by a Californian. As the car was tested at Snetterton, Favre said, "If I had to die tomorrow, I will die a happy man. I have seen the best GTO ever built." During the rest of the day Favre showered praise for the car's builder. Favre had a quality that few had, he always gave people their due credit. He often mentioned the GTO constructor had golden hands. 
  
Now suddenly things started to change, it was getting difficult to get donor cars. Dullness was creeping in Favre's unit. In spite this, Favre lived extravagantly. Now he was flying twice to England every month and stayed in expensive places. Winter holidays were in the Caribbean and summers in California and many more exotic locales. A customer was found for the third car. The new customer and his wife were taken to the factory to have a look at the way the Favre were built. During this time a Lebanese came into the picture who seemingly was helping Favre with money and other businesses. He was in Geneva representing a group of Businessmen. As of this friend hardly any details were known. This new friend hardly improved the financial position of Favre. Favre was busy paying back debts. The London bank where Favre was controlling a large overdraft insisted that he settle with them and transfer his business elsewhere. Sometime late, he broke off connections with his Lebanese friend. Another disturbing bit of information for him was that his bodyguard had been arrested while holidaying in Italy. He was charged on the attempt to bomb a light house.  
  
Things were becoming more and more difficult for William Favre. He was late paying money to his constructors. Debt had inflated to astronomical levels. He was slowly losing interest in the GTO project. He was forced to sell his house and close down his British operations. He decided to go back to France and rebuild his fortunes and concentrate on property business. 
On the night of October 26th 1988, the Frenchman had taken his life with a .357 Magnum Pistol. Some weeks later the police opened a murder enquiry.

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