For several weeks, the car-lovin' Web site Jalopnik has been obsessing over the story of Farmers Branch-based Unique Performance, which had a deal with racing great Carroll Shelby to manufacture "official" knock-offs of the legendary 1967 Shelby GT500E. It began earlier this month, when KTVT-Channel 11 ran a story about how folks who purchased the cars from the Farmers Branch company, for upwards of $200,000, never got theirs -- and how Unique Performance had removed from the rehabbed cars their vehicle identification numbers, which is highly illegal.
A week after the KTVT story, Jalopnik had the news that hot-rod designer Chip Foose, who'd built custom vehicles for such films as Blade Runner and Gone in 60 Seconds, was severing his licensing deal with Unique Performance. Said a Foose Design media release from November 9:
"Foose Design has clearly stated that it no longer has any affiliation with Unique, and encourages customers to understand that Unique no longer has any rights to Foose intellectual property, the Foose name, image, likeness, logos or designs regarding any project."
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Well, yesterday Unique Performance got its New York Times close-up, in which Corporal Chad Taylor of the Farmers Branch police department says the case of Unique Performance, now accused of title-washing and VIN removal, has been forwarded to the Dallas County District Attorney's Office. No charges have been filed, but don't try to find Unique Performance no more: Its Web site has gone adios, with many lawsuits also still pending. --Robert Wilonsky