Hrabalek v Hrabalek

Hrabalek Prototype

Wilmots have successfully secured the return of a very rare collection of classic Lancia Stratos cars to their owner, an Austrian national. The case concerned the ownership of four Lancia Stratos cars, a 1971 Lancia Stratos HF Prototype, a 1975 Lancia Stratos HF Silhouette Turbo, a 1975 Lancia Stradale Street Car and a 1975 Lancia Stratos Safari, all of which were made famous by the relentless campaigning of rally driver Sandro Munari. These cars, amongst others, had been acquired over a number of years by a very well known collector, Mr Ernst Hrabalek, for whom we acted.

Peter Groh v Jim Stokes Workshops Ltd

Alfa Romeo

Wilmots acted for Peter Groh in a High Court claim for damages against Jim Stokes Workshops Ltd for work carried out to an Alfa Romeo 6C chassis, to convert it to take an Alfa Romeo 8C 2.3 engine, which JSW Ltd had built for Mr Groh.

Mr Groh gave the Alfa 6C chassis to JSW Ltd in early 2012 so that they could carry out modification work to take the 8C engine. The modification required the chassis to be shortened slightly and narrowed in order to accommodate the different sized engine. Mr Groh was expecting a bill of between £10-15,000 for this work.

Wilmots Litigation succeed in McLaren F1 title dispute


This is a brief summary of a case in which Wilmots Litigation represented Richard Smith, defending a claim brought against him by Robert Gray. There were 2 other Defendants, JMPC Sales Ltd, which was dismissed early from the case, and Richard Edwards who took no part in the proceedings.

Mr Gray is a rich businessman living at Fawley in the south of England.

Wilmots Litigation successfully defends Stanley Mann


In this case, Mrs Brewer, an American attorney who had qualified as an English solicitor, took a 1930 Speed Six Bentley on hire purchase for a cash price of £425,000, £390,000 of which was provided by Fortis Leasing. The car was supplied by Stanley Mann Racing, the leading international dealer in this type of car. Mr Mann was represented by Wilmots Litigation.

Wilmots Litigation secures victory for David Piper


In 2009, Mark Hales, a  well known motoring journalist, persuaded a reluctant David Piper, an ex-racing driver, to lend him his Porsche 917 racing car in order, for a payment of £2000, to track test it against a Ferrari for a magazine article. The car was worth about £1.3 million.

This type of contract is known as a contract of bailment. The law provides in these circumstances that the borrower must take reasonable care of the car, and return it to the owner undamaged. If he does not do so he is liable to the owner for the cost of repairs.

Wilmots Litigation case clarifies law on number plate retention


This was a similar case to Coys v McDonald.  Sir John Madejski consigned 2 cars to Coys auctioneers in different auctions. He wanted to reserve the cherished numbers on both cars so that they were not sold with the cars. He said that his staff would deal with the reservation of the numbers with the DVLA. In the event there was no difficulty with the first car, which was sold at an earlier auction.

McDonald v Coys of Kensington Automobiles

A firm of auctioneers accepted a car into their auction on the basis that the number was not for sale. A notice on the windscreen said as much and there were no number plates on the car.

The car was duly sold to Mr McDonald who took the car away together with the documents (which included the V5, with the cherished number on it) and registered the car together with the number in his name. He declined to sign the forms whereby the number would be returned to the original owner.

Allen John Lloyd v Staffan Svenby

The owners of two Lister Jaguars registered their cars with the same registration number, WTM 446, and claimed the same chassis number BHL 126. When the Registration system became computerised the DVLA registered the details on their database, but did not realise two cars were involved. When this came to light the DVLA suspended both registration numbers, and chassis numbers. Mr Lloyd, who felt he had the superior claim, issued Judicial Proceedings against the DVLA.

Abbahall Ltd v Smee - Court of Appeal

This matter, in which Wilmot’s litigation successfully represented Abbahall before the Court of Appeal, involved a rare yet problematic ‘flying freehold’. A flying freehold exists when a freehold overhangs or underlies another freehold. Since they rarely have adequate rights of support from the structure beneath or rights of access to make repairs (and subsequently are rarely accepted as security for a mortgage), flying freeholds are rarely created willingly.

Graham Charles Ashley-Carter v Hoffman & Mountford Ltd

In May 2010 a claim was brought by the seller of a business against its purchasers. Shortly before trial the 1st Defendant went into voluntary liquidation and the 2nd and 3rd Defendants (who were directors of the 1st Defendant) then acted in person until they instructed new solicitors very shortly before the trial.  Prior to the liquidation the same solicitors had acted for all three Defendants.  The Claimant was successful in its claim against the 2nd and 3rd Defendants, the claim against the 1st Defendant being voided as a result of its voluntary liquidation. 

Kennaway v Thompson & Another - Court Of Appeal

This is a case where the Claimant was initially refused an injunction but granted damages for noise nuisance caused by the activities of a boat racing club.  The owner of the property appealed seeking an injunction restraining the club from activities which caused a noise nuisance.   The Court of Appeal granted the owner of the property not only damages but also an injunction restraining the club from those activities which caused a nuisance to the owner of the house.

Taylor v Hamer - Court of Appeal

“A house and grounds are put on the market. A prospective buyer looks them over and decides to buy. Before contracts are exchanged, the vendor removes valuable fixtures without telling the purchaser. The purchaser exchanges and completes in the reasonable belief that he is buying the property he was shown. Common sense and common decency both suggest that, if there is no good reason to do otherwise, the law ought to give the purchaser what he was led to think he was getting.”

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