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Man Sues Over Defective Sportscar

Man Sues Over Defective Sportscar
  .c The Associated Press
  WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - John Martin just wasn't satisfied with his 1997
 red Ferrari.
  He craved something hotter, something flashier, something to make him the 
 envy of perfect strangers: a quarter-million-dollar Lamborghini Diablo 
 Roadster. A purple one.
  Now, one year after buying the car of his boyhood dreams, Martin says in a 
 lawsuit that the Diablo is a big-ticket lemon.
  The roof leaks so badly, he can't drive when it rains. The battery quits 
 without notice. The sunroof latches detach when he drives over a bump, 
 bonking him on the head, he says.
  And perhaps most galling, the doors and windows jam, and he has to bang on 
 the windows until a stranger helps him get out.
  ``It's very embarrassing,'' said Martin, 31, of Fort Lauderdale. ``You want 
 to get the Lamborghini to get to be the center of attention. But now you're 
 the center of attention because you're some fool locked in a purple car.''
  The lawsuit alleges Lamborghini knew about the defects and ignored them. And
 Martin's lawyers say they're working on expanding the suit to a class-action 
 to seek full refunds for 60 or so other Roadster owners in the United States.
  Harold Nathan, an attorney for Lamborghini in New York, said only that the 
 lawsuit, filed last week in federal court, is ``under study.''
  Martin, who is studying at Broward Community College to be a pharmacist, 
 said he received assurances from the dealer and the manufacturer before 
 buying the car that it would be suitable for everyday use. (Prior to 1996, 
 Lamborghinis were sold as racing cars for occasional road use.)
  His lawyers claim to have sworn statements from four former high-level 
 employees who said the automaker knew of many of the defects.
  The lawsuit, which seeks punitive and compensatory damages, comes just days 
 after Volkswagen's Audi subsidiary signed a letter of intent to acquire the 
 Italian sportscar maker, reportedly for $40 million.
  Martin, whose parents bought the car for him for $145,000 in cash, plus
 000 from his Ferrari trade-in, said he turned down Lamborghini's offer of a 
 1998 model to replace his 1997 Roadster.
 He said he doesn't want to take the chance of getting caught in the rain or 
 locked in the car.
  ``It tends to lead to people pointing and laughing a little bit,'' he said.
 `But they don't do it out loud. If I pulled in an old Volkswagen they 
 probably would laugh hysterically and probably wouldn't even help me.''