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375+ # 0384

Discussion in 'Vintage (thru 365 GTC4)' started by tongascrew, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. tongascrew

    tongascrew F1 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2006
    2,989
    tewksbury
    Full Name:
    george burgess
    i have very limited info on this car.it was stolen in the 50s and possibly broken up. it then appeard at the shell historics at mugello in 2003. anyone out there know the story here. i would like to be able to fill in the missing history. there should be a good story here. tongascrew george
     
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  2. Marcel Massini

    Marcel Massini F1 World Champ
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    Mar 2, 2005
    12,600
    NOT stolen in the 1950s.
    January 6, 1986 trailer with the original chassis, body, radiator, gearbox and rear axle STOLEN from Karl Kleve in Cincinnati/OH/USA. Car was quite derelict and missing its engine. The two fellows who stole it plea bargained in federal court in Atlanta/GA and got off with light sentences and restitution of the money they received. The broker was Guy Anderson in Atlanta who sold the hulk to Europe. He was tried and got off - not acquitted, not found guilty, hung jury and the feds declined to prosecute further. This car was known to be the ex-Kimberly ex-Hively car and for years historians had identified that car as S/N 0394. But the data plate from the hulk in Ohio definitely identified it as 0384 plus the factory confirms that 0394 AM was NOT a 375 plus but only a 2.5-liter engine built for Vandervell. When the car was restored in Europe it at first took on the identity 0394 AM, whether because that's what it was believed to be or whether because that hid it's true identity is unknown. But the car was tracked down by the authorities and for a number of years Mr. Kleve tried various legal means to retrieve the car. A settlement was finally reached and Mr. Kleve surrendered his claims against the car. The fact that the car is now publicly acknowledged to be 0384 AM lends a certain credence to such claims. The story includes a scam in 1985, the whereabouts of the original engine, the involvement of the FBI, and supposedly underworld figures in the south of France.
    1989/1990 car completely reconstructed in Italy for Jacques Swaters and Philippe Lancksweert, new engine block built by Nueva Lunelli in Modena. Today the original engine 0384 AM is still in USA (with same owner since 1970).
    Marcel Massini
     
  3. tongascrew

    tongascrew F1 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2006
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    george burgess
    marcel it took me a couple of read thrus to follow your tale about this car. the stories behind some of these cars are really fascinating. thanks for you info. my best source book is 'fifly years on the track' starkey,renwick,olczyk and i am starting to fill in some of the blank spaces so you may hear from me again. it 's a fun project to be back into. things certainly have changed from reading R&T and autosport back in the 1950s. congratulation on 0052. this must be a great moment for you. thanks again tongascrew george
     
  4. Bertocchi

    Bertocchi Formula 3
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    Jan 28, 2004
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    The group that negotiated the settlement with Kleve and Swaters never met all of Kleve's requirements, that is why the original was never sold or transfered to Swaters. The engine's owner had a verbal contract with Kleve to hold the engine until Kleve was satisfied with the settlement. Unfortunatley Kleve past away before that could be accomplished and the original engine was not reunited with its' chassis despite the best efforts of Swaters and Lankswert.
    I made a rather large mistake by introducing Lankswert to Kleve's representative in Modena in 1997. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions!".
     
  5. iwanna860monza

    iwanna860monza Karting

    Sep 19, 2004
    237
    "The group that negotiated the settlement with Kleve and Swaters never met all of Kleve's requirements, that is why the original was never sold or transfered to Swaters. " by Bertocchi
    So, are you talking about the engine ??.

    Tim
     
  6. Bertocchi

    Bertocchi Formula 3
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    I am sorry, that should have "original engine". As far as I know, the original engine is still in the midwest (USA).
     
  7. shaughnessy

    shaughnessy Formula 3
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    I have inspected the engine. Complete with another number under the engine stamping, 0384

    Gotta love them 375's
     
  8. Old Guy

    Old Guy Formula Junior
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    Dec 1, 2003
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    No longer here
    Just to clarify one point, Jacques Swaters had clear title to 0384 in Europe due to differences in law on someone who acquires a previously stolen car n good faith. He did not have clear title in the U.S.

    Well before 1997 a friend/representative of Jacques Swaters contacted a friend/representative of Karl Kleve, offering a sum of money to Kleve as a quit-claim for the car. Kleve was apparently not in a clear mental state at the time (I'd recommend an article in the American Bugatti Club magazine of the early '90s if you can find one -- it has a fascinating story on Kleve).

    Kleve declined Swaters' offer, on the basis that "he would be regaining the car any day now, and it would be displayed in the museum he was building."

    The museum existed only as plans in his mind; some of his cars and parts (including wheels for 0384) were stored in a multi-story building. The interior of the building has basically collapsed, and everything from several floors was in a heap at the bottom. Among his other items for display in the museum was a new Bugatti T46 Kleve had bought. He had sawed the top off so it woudl fit it would fit in the shipping crate in which it was still stored.

    Legally Swaters had no reason to make the offer. Unless the car returned to US jurisdiction he was in no danger of losing it, and it was definintely staying in Europe. He made the offer because he is a gentleman, and recognized that Kleve had lost something of value. This transaction would certainly have given Swaters clear title everywhere, but that was only a small part of his reasoning.

    I have great respect for Jacques Swaters.

    Old Guy
     
  9. Bertocchi

    Bertocchi Formula 3
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    I too have great respect for Swaters and Lankswert! The group representing Kleve was basically composed of opportunistic "bounty hunters". (Ask Bill Noon about them some time).
    They had discovered the whole Kleve incident and got Kleve to sign a contract essentially hiring them to recover the car on his behalf. They would then be entitled to a percentage of the liquidation value once they had recovered the car. Next it is off to the police department to renew the theft report so that the item can be relisted with interpole and the NCIC.
    After all that is done they try to find a judge who will issue an order to sieze the vehicle and move the whole issue into court. All legal but pretty shaky.
    In the end Kleve did not want any monetary compensation for his loss but additional cars for his museum. He could not make up his mind on exactly what he wanted by way of cars.
    I believe Swaters made a good faith offer to resolve all of this and the "bounty hunters" could not get it done.
     
  10. iwanna860monza

    iwanna860monza Karting

    Sep 19, 2004
    237
    IT shows the power of the internet that I would have sworn that Swaters was guilty by association, but he was not, eh.

    Cheers for clearing that up and again the breadth of Ferrari knowledge on this site is amazing
    Tim
     
  11. iwanna860monza

    iwanna860monza Karting

    Sep 19, 2004
    237
    Hate to re-open a long dead thread BUT what has happened to #0384 is it with Lanksweert, still with the Swaters family or ..... ??
    Anyone know, just interested, nuthing else.

    Cheers
    Tim
     
  12. readplays

    readplays Formula 3

    Aug 22, 2008
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    I'm new to Fchat and hadn't come across this long dormant thread yet.
    Circa 1990, I worked on the recovery of Karl Kleve's various cars, chassis, motors for about six weeks. The 375 had been stored outdoors in a wooded 2-acre lot on the west side of town for many years. When we went to clear the lot, we recovered 90 chassis of various cars- sports and touring, dating back to Rolls Royce PI and PII chassis. I personally found 17 Pirelli Cinturatos with chalk markings (presumably from the SF). If memory serves- and I can't swear on this- we also found one distributor. There were various and sundry other bits of the car still in the woods where the hulk had been stolen. Rear trunk lid? Maybe not, can't say for sure. I think there was at least one piece of sheet metal from the body (rear trunk lid) but I may be mistaken.
    I don't know about the Bugatti T46 and I wonder if that part of it is accurate. What I do know is that Karl visited Bugatti in circa 1961 (there was a receiver auction/sale or something of NOS bits left over from the factory days). I can state for certain that we recovered a NOS T46 engine and 2 NOS T41 engines. These would have been produced for the rail cars, not one of the original 6/7 Royales.
    Karl had many, many properties at the time. That is another story (among many) surrounding the man. His house had caught fire so he and his dog were living in the front yard in the back seat of an early 70s Camaro/Firebird.
    If you doubt the veracity of this item, check the WSJ archives of the time when they did a profile piece of him on the front page.
    I found correspondence in the house from the Ferrari factory expressing interest in purchasing the 375 for (don't know if they called it Galleria at the time) what was or would become their museum.
    The idea that Monterey was going to feature Ferrari again in 1994- and that Mr. Swaters' car would be a great guest- was what provided some of the traction for a US quit claim title for the car. There were some who advised that Karl wait for the car to appear there and then seize it.
    On a separate note, we were at a different property (in a garage) on a different day and found the chassis and more of an old 1920s/30s Daimler. We also found engine J102- which I was told was the second J Duesenberg motor of the production run.
    Heady stuff for a college kid at the time. I found myself thinking the other day- 'what I wouldn't give for the photo of big BV standing atop/straddling the two Type 41 motors when he and I found them in the woods.'

    Marcel- in terms of bonafides, this was my hometown and so I was and am friends with the folks there that you know/know of. I was working for TS and the job was supervised by his mechanic/custodian BV- I think they were in touch with you at that point.
    Cheers.
     
  13. readplays

    readplays Formula 3

    Aug 22, 2008
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    Sorry. The 17 Pirelli Cinturatos were still on their Borranis and were wheels/spares for the 375. Just to further clarify.
     
  14. 246tasman

    246tasman Formula 3

    Jun 21, 2007
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    Will Tomkins
  15. readplays

    readplays Formula 3

    Aug 22, 2008
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    Dave Powers
    That article does a good job of summarizing the situation concerning Karl and his possessions/passions. Out of the aforementioned lot (from my original post, not the one mentioned in the article) one of the 90 chassis/cars we salvaged was one of his Kleve prototype cars- a hand-formed aluminum body mounted on a Jaguar 120 chassis. We worked with great haste on the 'Ferrari' lot because Green Township was clearing it using inmates from the county lock-up. Needless to say, they were just throwing things away. We made at least one visit to the city dump to scour containers/dumpsters for parts that they got to before us (specifically looking for parts from the 375, but taking anything of value).
    Karl was certainly eccentric but above all else, a gentleman. I took particular pride in having enjoyed a lunch at Wendy's (burger joint) one day- just me and Karl- on his nickel. He was born into an insurance fortune but was notoriously thrifty with his money. I must have caught him in a weak moment :)
    Karl had all of us in stitches describing a trip east to buy cars that he made long before the US interstates were in place. He bought a V-16 Cadillac and used it to tow home (I think a J Duesenberg, but fill in the blank- something of that era). When he was in Pennsylvania, the Cad was (according to him) running on half the cylinders. As he would climb the great hills and mountains on what was then a two lane highway, traffic would back up for miles behind him. He always managed to say or do the right things whenever the police took an interest in his progress on that trip.
    The stories, finds, and legends are quite numerous, but I may have already strayed too far afield from the topic at hand. Thanks for the linked article. Nice to take a moment and revisit all of that.
     
  16. etienne

    etienne F1 Veteran
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    #16 etienne, Oct 23, 2008
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  17. Marcel Massini

    Marcel Massini F1 World Champ
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    #17 Marcel Massini, Oct 27, 2008
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  18. Ocean Joe

    Ocean Joe Formula Junior

    Mar 21, 2008
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    Joseph Ford III
    Gentlemen,

    I am gathering photos and info on this car, from 1954 to 2005. I am looking for photos, docs, magazine articles, etc. First hand eyewitness material is GREAT if you have it. Photos of the car as it lay in a yard in Ohio would be great too.

    Any takers?

    Email me at jlf333@hotmail.com and put #0384Am in subject line.


    Thanks

    Joe
     
  19. Ocean Joe

    Ocean Joe Formula Junior

    Mar 21, 2008
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    Joseph Ford III
    Allen

    I think the guys at F-Chat would like to know more about that car you are leaning against.

    It is the 1954 Ferrari 375 Plus 0384AM that was stolen from Karl Kleve in the late 1980's, and then turned up in Brussels, Belgium as 0384AM, then was renumbered (while still stolen) as 0394AM. Anyone familiar with Ferrari build sheets knows there was no Ferrari with number 0394AM. The obvious question - Why would someone renumber a stolen car?

    Very few people know the whole story, or have seen the Kleve documents, but suffice to say the matter is now, as I type, in an Ohio court as Swaters v. Kleve's daughter-heir.

    I should know, as I am a partner with Karl Kleve's sole claimant heir.

    You can contact me by PM. Do you have other pics you can post?

    Maybe this 0384AM topic on this thread ought move to Tongascrew's thread dedicated to 0384AM. I will post this message their too.

    Joe

    The above is a repost from Allen Markelson's thread about his visit to Maranello after 50 years.
     
  20. jjmcd

    jjmcd Formula Junior

    Dec 3, 2004
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    #21 jjmcd, Jul 12, 2010
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  21. ArtS

    ArtS F1 Veteran
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    Nov 11, 2003
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    Interesting comparison to the 0799 saga!

    Regards,

    Art S.
     
  22. thecheddar

    thecheddar Formula 3

    Jun 29, 2006
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    I find it interesting that she claims Swatters agreed to $2.5 million...in 1999. Values have changed quite a lot since then, yet she's claiming a modern figure? For what was a nearly destroyed chassis?

    With the reports of unsavory characters involved with Kleve's original claim and now this, it seems clear that something is thoroughly amiss. She could end up in jail if she's not careful.
     
  23. Onebugatti

    Onebugatti Formula Junior
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    She never said Swatter's agreed to $2.5M in 1999. What she said is Karl Kleve didn't settle, there was NO DEAL and Kleve received no money. All of which is true.

    By 1998 the 0384AM Ferrari was restored - not a ''nearly destroyed chassis''. By 1998 the ''burned-out hulk rumor'' was off the map . In 1998, after 10 years in Swater's possession, it was still very much a stolen car.

    Kleve's Ferrari 0384AM was just concealed under the counterfeit number that Swater's choose to use - (0394AM). That abscondence secured the stolen car and kept it from police authorities using the gypsy laws of Belgium.

    A STOLEN car's appreciation in value is not a gain of a person possessing stolen property. Kleve knew that, and knew the value of the car once rumors circulated that 0384AM was in Belgium restored . Kleve's determination of such a high value on his Ferrari was constant, always the norm , and right up until his death was optimistically high. We all know that.

    The Eccentricity of Kleve was a given. A hoarder of cars and not the normal Ferrari owner the Ferrari was his prime valuable, the nest egg for his daugther. But the crusty guy he was didn't give a group of wise-guys the right to wait out his death and the Statue of Limitations before coming to the USA to finish off his daughter with a big stick .
     
  24. Ocean Joe

    Ocean Joe Formula Junior

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    #25 Ocean Joe, Jul 13, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    I will try to post some documentation so that the Ferrari Community can be brought up to speed about Karl Kleve and what happened as he, with the help of the FBI and his Ohio Congressman, tried to recover his stolen car from 1990 until his death in 2003. I may even get a website up and running so that the documentation can be coherently placed for all to see.

    The one issue that bugs me the most is after the stolen portion's release by Belgian authorities in 1990 as 0384AM, despite it still being listed as stolen by interpol, why was the car renumbered to 0394AM?

    For now, before anyone prejudges anything, let's meet Karl Kleve. Let's start with this May 8, 1938 Cincinnati Enquirer article. This young American was designing and fabricating cars in his 20's, right before going off to work on the Manhattan Project. Take a look at the next May 11, 1952 article after he finished his work at Los Alamos.

    Ocean Joe
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