This 1996 Ferrari F50 Was Stolen 18 Years Ago, and No One Knows Who the Owner Is

1996 Ferrari F50 was stolen in Italy in 2003, showed up in the U.S. in 2019 56 photos
Photo: U.S. Attorney's Office
1996 Ferrari F50 was stolen in Italy in 2003, showed up in the U.S. in 20191996 Ferrari F50 was stolen in Italy in 2003, showed up in the U.S. in 2019
Some cars are worth their weight in gold because they’re very rare and hard to come by. Others are even more special because they tell—or hint at—incredible, fascinating stories. This is one of them.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is in quite of a pickle right now, and it’s all because of a stolen and recovered 1996 Ferrari F50 that two different men claim ownership of. The classic is nearly brand new and has been valued at $1.9 million.

Everybody loves a lost-and-found story, but this one comes with a very intriguing twist. It was first brought to attention by WIVB Buffalo, which reported that U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. had filed a civil action to find the rightful owner of the car. With Kennedy Jr.’s announcement came part of the strange tale of this Prancing Horse.

And it only got more interesting from there. First things first, though.

1996 Ferrari F50 was stolen in Italy in 2003, showed up in the U\.S\. in 2019
Photo: Twitter / Danielle Church
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that the car was seized in December 2019 at the Peace Bridge while crossing the U.S. border from Canada on a car carrier. Custom officials noticed that part of the VIN had been covered with a tar-like substance, so they prevented the transport from going through. Upon investigation, it was determined that the car had been reported stolen in Northern Italy, way back in 2003.

Because authorities couldn’t find out more about the vehicle, it was placed in custody until now, when the civil action was filed.

Two different men have come forward to claim ownership of the F50, the Buffalo News reports. One man is the original owner from Italy, and the other is the new owner, who bought the car online—without knowing it had been stolen, he says.

Paolo Provenzi says he bought the car in 2003 with his father and brother, paying €260,000 for it, which is roughly $310,000 at today’s rate exchange. Adjusted for inflation, that’s nearly $447,000 in today’s money. The F50 was stolen a mere month into ownership from a hotel parking garage and was never recovered. Provenzi has documentation attesting the ownership and proof that his loss was never covered by insurance.

Mohammed Alsaloussi, a car collector and owner of Miami’s stunning supercar collection Ikonick Collection, bought the F50 in September 2019 online for $1.435 million. In December, when it was seized, the F50 was on its way to Miami to join the collection. Alsaloussi is adamant he had no idea the vehicle was stolen when he bought it.

No one knows exactly where the F50 was in the 16 years it was in the wind or how it ended up in Canada, but there’s indication that it traveled the world—though not on its own, since it barely clocked 10,000 miles (16,093 km) all this time, for a total of 10,708 (17,232 km). Provenzi claims that he received a call from someone in Japan some years after the car went missing, asking him to take back his police report.

Provenzi is now represented by a Miami attorney, who asked the federal court to block both directly involved parties (Provenzi and Alsaloussi) from taking action against the government to retrieve the car. In other words, the F50 remains with the U.S. Attorney’s Office until the court decides which of the two men is the rightful owner: the one who bought it originally and had it stolen or the one who bought the stolen car from a third party, not knowing it was not theirs to sell.

“When this is over, there’s going to be a movie made about this,” Piras tells the Buffalo News. “This car has been going around the world, apparently.”

Another story that would warrant the movie treatment would be the whereabouts of this rare Ferrari (only 349 units were ever made, and 348 were sold) before it ended up, almost by mistake, in federal custody. And that movie would better include the happy ending it deserves after this “18-year-odyssey.”
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Editor's note: The gallery also includes official photos of the 1995 Ferrari F50.

About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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