The 750-horsepower, $3.9 million Lamborghini Veneno is one of the most outrageous cars of all time. The only real problem with it is that there is only four of them, making ownership a pipe dream — unless you get with Refined Marques, who say they can hook you up with one. Here's why you shouldn't trust that claim.
Last week, Refined Marques, who purport to be a car dealer in Cannes, France, created quite a stir with a Facebook post where they said they have a Veneno for sale. They gave no word on how much their Veneno will cost, or where they got it from.
Refined Marques did not answer an email from Jalopnik inquiring about where the Veneno came from or what its price tag will be.
Refined Marques' website says they are a company that "that takes great pride in providing the highest levels of personal and professional service in sourcing, supplying and purchasing the World’s most exotic, luxury cars available today." It is apparently run by Dr. Ahmed Hegab and Ahmed Al Bakry, who their site says is "the son of the late Mohamed Al Bakry, a highly successful business entrepreneur and avid collector of luxury and vintage cars, who has inherited his Father’s life-long passion for best-in-class precision motor engineering."
But their claims are extremely dubious, and they have drawn the ire of enthusiasts and at least one car forum over the years. That they have a Veneno for sale is just their latest and possibly most outrageous statement to date.
We know that of the four Venenos set to be made, one will go to the Lamborghini Museum in Sant'Agata and three will go to private buyers, at least two of whom were American businessmen from Florida and Long Island whom we wrote about in March. The fourth car reportedly will go to an anonymous buyer in Dubai (shocker, I know).
Notice that I used the future tense when talking about these cars. That's because according to Lamborghini America COO Michael Lock, the three customer cars have not been built yet, but will be in the fourth quarter of this year. Here's what he told Jalopnik in an email:
I can confirm that 3 Veneno(s) will be made and that all 3 were sold in advance. They will be produced and delivered during Q4 this year and 2 of the three are going to customers in the USA.
So how exactly does Refined Marques plan to sell a car that doesn't exist?
A quick Google Image Search of the Veneno pictured on their Facebook page reveals that the same photo can be found on a variety of other websites. The silver Veneno in the photos is the car that debuted at the Geneva Motor Show and is headed to the museum; these particular photos come from when it was showcased at the Blancpain Super Trofeo European series opener at Monza. The other Facebook photos of the Veneno can similarly be found elsewhere on the web.
So Refined Marques' claim that they have a Veneno for sale is now an extremely suspect one. The only way this is true is if they have arranged for one of the three buyers to sell them the car, which Lock told us is highly unlikely.
To my knowledge both USA customers and the third non-USA customer have no intentions of selling their cars and would be very unlikely to do so in the public domain, even if they did.
This kind of thing is par for the course for Refined Marques. Their website offers a litany of cars purportedly for sale, including Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Audis, BMWs and McLarens, just to name a few. But while they say they offer some standard fare exotics like the 458 Italia, Maserati GranTurismo, the Mercedes SLS AMG and so on, some of their other "for sale" offerings are a lot harder to swallow.
They claim to sell a Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, of which only 20 were ever made; a Porsche 911 GT1; a McLaren F1; a McLaren P1, which isn't out yet; a Porsche 918 Spyder, which also isn't out yet, and the world record edition Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. All are "available for immediate worldwide delivery" and have, in many cases, warranties.
Refined Marques' website would lead you to believe that they are just about the most prolific luxury and exotic car dealer on the planet. However, since nearly every car photo on their website can also be found elsewhere on the web through a Google Image search, it is very hard to believe that they stock all the cars they claim to, if any.
In fact, it feels a bit like they're taking a page out of the Super Replicas playbook and passing off other people's cars as their own. So is Refined Marques some kind of scam? That's hard to say, but on some corners of the web, they're notorious for purporting to sell rare or one-off cars that they most likely don't actually have.
Refined Marques was briefly a sponsor over at the Ferrari Chat forums until it was called out for making apparently fraudulent claims, including this thread from 2011 in which a member questioned whether Al Bakry (an image from what appears to be his Twitter account above) really had a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO for sale. That car is still listed on their website, but without pictures.
Members quickly pointed out that Refined Marques was posting photos of cars that belonged to other people and were not for sale. One chimed in to say he contacted Al Bakry after finding that Refined Marques' site used unauthorized images of his Ferrari, only to have him ignore his emails and delete his Facebook comments and then issue threats over the phone.
But Ferrari Chat administrator Rob Lay says Al Bakry comes back from time to time to hawk his wares, although when he does he is quickly called out by the forum's users. Last year he came on to apparently sell 458 Italias in Kuwait and the rest of the Middle East, linking to a now-subscription only article from the UK's The Sun about a child who can only fall asleep in a Ferrari supposedly bought from Refined Marques. Al Bakry wrote that the story was "the best answer Refined-Marques can give to those out there that doubt or having (sic) the wrong idea."
When other members asked Al Bakry why he wouldn't answer their questions about why he posts photos of cars that are not his, he became extremely defensive and even a little insulting.
the best answer is when you read the articles and try to understand, i dont need to give any answers, clients know who we are and what we have and thats enough. i dont need to answer you, because any answer you try to go around it by bringing something different up. so enjoy it on your own
Al Bakry says he doesn't have to answer Ferrari Chat users' questions because he has his own clients who often inspect the cars in person before buying them. So why post on Ferrari Chat in the first place?
As some Ferrari Chat members pointed out, it is possible that Refined Marques is more of a broker of cars, one who can hunt down high-end exotics requested by their customers and act as a kind of middleman. It's possible they have some lower-end exotics like a lot of dealers do, and can help people find the rarer cars.
But that's not how they advertise themselves. On the web they portray themselves as full-fledged dealers who have these cars in stock, although upon close examination it seems highly unlikely that they do.
When another user pointed out that the address listed on Refined Marques' website is a residential one in Cannes — unusual for a car dealership — Al Bakry said it is merely because they have VIP and celebrity customers who need security and privacy, and that their cars are parked underground.
Lay, the Ferrari Chat administrator, remains highly doubtful. "This guy just smells like another opportunistic hustler working out of his apartment, doing anything to make a buck," he said.
Perhaps Refined Marques does, in fact, have a Lamborghini Veneno they'd love to sell you. There's just no real reason to believe they do.
Top graphic credit Jason Torchinsky