DENVER • The family of Steve McQueen is applying the brakes on Ferrari's efforts to rev up sales from tapping the fame of the late actor.
The Italian sports-car company profited unfairly last year when it sold The McQueen, a limited-edition model in connection with the 70th anniversary of Ferrari-branded cars, a lawsuit filed this week in California stated.
Ferrari's vehicle "creates the false perception that the car has been authorised by the family and that its design and details make it an authentic 'McQueen' car, deserving of the price premium and value that accrues to licensed and authentic McQueen cars and products", the lawsuit added.
After lawyers representing the family complained, Ferrari renamed the model The Actor, but continued to employ McQueen's likeness on its website and in marketing material, the suit said.
McQueen, famous for doing his stunts, died in 1980 at age 50.
The family has worked closely with carmakers and motorcycle companies on vehicles that invoke the legacy of McQueen, whose "anti-hero persona made him a top box-office draw of the countercultural 1960s and 1970s and engendered his nickname, The King of Cool", said the lawsuit.
The family buckled up with Ford on a new Mustang that paid homage to the car driven by McQueen in 1968 movie Bullitt.