When it goes to court the judge could include investigating what actually happened in practice.
Of course it isn't going to court. Well at least not at our instigation anyway. We'll go if we absolutely have to but we have a thing called a telephone in our office that allows you to speak with people as though they are in the room with you and we swear by it but in the worst case I guess a motoring analogy might best explain what actually happened in practice.
Your mate from over the street has just inherited a farm from his recently passed Italian uncle so you offer to whizz over there and take a look to see what he’s just come into. Mostly it’s nothing until you open the garage and there you find the most astonishing thing. A one-off, prototype Ferrari widely regarded as lost to history yet there it is, in the flesh – or at least some of it. There’s a chassis and some of the body but the engine is missing as are the electrics and the bonnet. The interior is gone and everything is corroded to Hell but its soul is limping on under hints of that cherry red paint.
Wow! You call your mate, this is tremendously exciting so he agrees to you going to enormous efforts to bring it back and then you both stare at it long and hard and wonder just what to do with it.
“You know what,” You say one day. “I can get that back together for you if you like.”
“Yeah, I reckon. Might have to call in a favour or two and get some mates to help out but I think I can get it done and best of all it’ll cost you nothing.”
What a deal! So with that agreed, off you go studying and researching until the day comes when you can finally announce with confidence that it’s within your skill set and everything needed can be sourced one way or another. The deal is struck but there’s a rider. If you’re going to put your heart and soul into this you want a deal – you want to look after the finished product, see it go, maybe even drive it (or have someone properly qualified do it for you) but considering what you’re about to sign up to it’s a small ask so your mate says yes at once, absolutely. I mean, not only does he get his unexpected and priceless Ferrari rebuilt for free he also gets it maintained indefinitely. He can’t believe his good fortune! Then you say to him, look, I’m going to be flat out on this job so how about you get talking to some motoring people about what we might do once the job is finished? No problem, of course, leave it with me, he says and on that basis off you all go.
But fast-forward a few years and it’s getting very serious. You’ve got all your mates involved and organised a garage and loads of tools and it’s quite a slick operation but the standard has to be extremely high and If you’re going to do this right you have to get the original drawings out of the Ferrari factory and they are only going to take you seriously if they believe this is going to be the last word in rebuilds and every Ferrari enthusiast on the globe is watching you. You want an engine block cast and a crank and pistons machined but there’s no money to pay the outrageous sums it would really cost so you use all your skills to run your little resto like a business except with no money, raising purchase orders for fortunes-worth of goods and services that you can only pay for with the promise that one day your creditors will see this fabulous car at Goodwood or at the Maranello factory or wherever else is deemed appropriate. It’s a bit of a precarious position.
So you go back to your mate and say, hey, I’ve managed to buy some original wheels, don’t worry you can have them once we get sorted, the trimmers have made new seats for the love of it from period leather and I’ve wheedled the drawings out of Ferrari so we can get a new engine built from scratch but I need you to totally assure me that you will underwrite all of this with the promise that we really can show this car off when it’s done. No problem, your mate says, but just to be extra, double sure, you write it all down in great detail, send it over and say, what do you think? He mails you straight back to say it’s all absolutely fine, no problems , only adding a few short notes to make sure you dip the oil and check the tyre pressures before you start the engine but otherwise all’s extremely well. You take him at his word, conduct yourself in strict accordance with what you both agreed and file away all the emails. They won’t be needed, of course, because he’s your mate of 20 years but you both might want to look back through it one day for the sake of nostalgia while you watch your Ferrari roar around a circuit somewhere.
Excellent – you’ll take that, but gently remind him that he’s supposed to be organising the big unveil just like on Car SOS.
Anyway – you can work out the ending. Your superhuman efforts with your good buddies and dedicated sponsors, donors and supporters gets the thing finished bar a few tweaks while your mate does bugger all about the big unveil while your frustrations mount until he just says, hey, it’s my car anyway, my uncle left it to me so just stuff it in my garage and go home.