04 April, 2014
A classic car enthusiast is suing his estranged son for a sum of £2.5million, according to reports, over his failure to return four models.
Ernst Hrabalek alleges his son, Christian, failed to return four of his vintage automobiles after he lent them to him back in 2011, according to the London Evening Standard.
Austrian-born Christian, a car designer and automotive strategy consultant from Belsize Park in London, is a major Lancia Stratos collector, with a total of nine models to his name.
Court papers state that he borrowed four of his father’s Lancia Stratos rally cars for an exhibition at Berlin’s Meilenwerk Classic Car Museum in May 2011 but failed to return them after the show had finished.
The pair’s relationship subsequently deteriorated and in January 2012, Christian reportedly sent a text message to his father saying the cars would be returned “providing they never saw each other again”.
This did not happen and now Ernst is seeking an order for their return “in good condition” or damages of three million euros, the newspaper said.
Christian began his career at Porsche in 1997 before moving on to Audi, Volkswagen, Lancia, BMW and Skoda. In 2002 he founded Fenomenon Holistic Design, a London-based automotive design consultancy, which folded in 2011.
He was not available for comment, despite attempts to contact him, but he is expected to contest the allegations.
Ernst bought the four cars over a number of years to add to his collection of vintage automobiles.
The documents say the father and son had a “good relationship” when Christian asked to borrow the Stratos cars in December 2010.
It then soured, however, and Ernst consequently called in lawyers to try and resolve the matter.