Yes, you read that correctly. Ferrari sued Deadmau5. No, they didn’t sue him for how he spelled his name. No, he didn’t drop any songs dissing Ferrari. No, nobody crashed their Ferrari because that bass drop on “Ghosts N Stuff” is way too heavy, bro. Well, maybe some people did. But that’s not why!
They sued him for customizing his 458, leading to a legal dispute that can only be described as a full-on cat-and-mau5 chase. When you catch the attention of a multi-billion-dollar corporation with the changes you make to your Rari, you know you’re kind of a big deal.
But what could have possibly made Ferrari want to sue this world-famous EDM superstar? Well, let’s get into it. This is the full story of why Ferrari sued Deadmau5.
Now, if you’ve been living under a rock, Joel Zimmerman, better known as Deadmau5, or that guy who wears a mouse helmet during all of his concerts, is a Canadian DJ who took the EDM world by storm about a decade ago, and has apparently made some ripples in the world of high-performance automotives along the way. Back in 2014, the half-man-half-mouse DJ got into a legal spat with Ferrari over some interesting modifications he made to his 458.
As far as Ferraris go, the 458 is probably among the best cars they’ve ever made. Hell, it’s probably among the best cars ever made, period! With 562 horsepower screaming up to 9,000 rpm, it was one hell of a car in 2014.
But it was the Ferrari everyone bought. So, Deadmau5 being the international superstar he is, felt like he needed to separate his 458 from the rest of the herd with some very unique modifications. He hit his Ferrari with a custom wrap with a picture of the famous internet meme Nyan Cat on it, you know, the poptart-bodied space-faring cat farting out a rainbow… as well as custom cat badges and some funky floor mats.
Apparently Deadmau5 was so inspired by this meme that he decided to base the entire design of his car around it. The wrap he put on his 458’s body has a picture of Nyan Cat on each of the doors and that rainbow chemtrail wrapping around the rear bumper. And after replacing the Ferrari badges with little pictures of cats, he fittingly renamed his Italian cat-mobile the Purrari! He even had the name stamped on the license plate!
And regardless of how you feel about this DJ going cat-crazy all over a $200,000 Ferrari, I personally applaud him, I’m Team Cat. Who wasn’t feeling the feline design? Ferrari themselves. They were not thrilled with these custom touches.
After Deadmau5 took his powerful Purrari on the Gumball 3000, a rally race that winds through the streets of Europe and finishes in the party haven of Ibiza where Deadmau5 concerts are a staple of the nightlife, he put his internet meme dream machine up for sale on Craigslist for $380,000.
Ferrari clearly got a little peeved at the DJ for what they apparently considered a mockery of their brand, and the Italian carmaker, whose market cap is right around $37 billion, sent a cease and desist letter to Deadmau5 claiming that he had committed a copyright infringement with all the pimped-out additions he made to his car. And from there, the cat-and-mouse chase began!
If you aren’t up to speed on your legal jargon, a cease and desist letter isn’t actually a binding contract, but more of a threat that a company will take you to court if you refuse to comply with their requests. And with all those bulldog lawyers that Ferrari’s definitely got on retainer for matters like this, I can understand why Deadmau5 wouldn’t want to get into a legal battle with the massive automotive maker.
Ferrari not only claimed that Deadmau5 was committing copyright infringement by rebranding his 458 as a Purrari, but they also cited the Right of Refusal Agreement that every Ferrari owner has to sign when you buy one of these Italian sports cars. That means whatever dealer you buy your 458 from, Ferrari has the first chance to buy your car when you go to sell it. This agreement basically gives the company the right to stop any sale of a Ferrari that they don’t approve of, and apparently this feline Ferrari going on the Craigslist market wasn’t something that sat well with them.
Now, Deadmau5 has had a reputation for being defiant and a little bit rebellious. He got into another legal battle with Disney over his “mouse ears” trademark that looks eerily like the silhouette of Mickey Mouse that we all associate with Disney. But the crafty Canadian DJ never backed down, he went to court with the iconic entertainment company, and as you can see, he’s still rocking that mouse hat on stage to this day.
So, when Deadmau5 tweeted that he had received the cease and desist letter from Ferrari, everyone was expecting there to be a legal battle for the ages. But that’s not really how it panned out. With everyone who follows Deadmau5 or Ferrari biting their nails and waiting to see what would happen next, the DJ, in very anticlimactic fashion, sort of just folded.
He removed his ad on Craigslist and completely undid all his custom touches that made his 458 into the world’s most iconic cat-themed vehicle. That’s right, he removed the Nyan Cat wrap, the emblems, and the custom floor mats. RIP Purrari. The once-glorious kitty car is now just a regular old 458.
But with Deadmau5 being Deadmau5, of course, he had to get in a last word on Twitter, asking whether or not the lawyer who sent him the cease and desist letter was now “un-butthurt” since he restored the 458 to it’s normal look. I wonder if you could find “un-butthurt” in the dictionary…
But anyway, the DJ sold off his now-normal 458 and the Purrari no longer exists on this earth. But that doesn’t mean Deadmau5’s passion for supercars died along with his kitty-mobile. He later got himself a sick McLaren 650S Spider that’s got a ridiculous 641 horsies under the hood and goes 0 to 60 in less than 3 seconds!
And what did he decide to do with this speed machine? No he didn’t race it, and no, he didn’t trick this one out with some cat decals like he did the 458. Nope, for a while he was actually using this car, which costs over $300,000, to give Uber rides around Toronto!
Imagine ordering an Uber and having that British beast pull up with the twin-turbocharged V8 purring, and then hopping in and seeing a super-celebrity like Deadmau5 in the driver’s seat. I wonder if he wore the mouse head while driving…
Nothing against my Uber drivers, but they usually drive a Honda Civic and don’t perform at massive EDM festivals in Ibiza. Still get a tip though.
Nissan to the Rescue!
So maybe after everything I’ve just told you, you’re a little bit sad to know that the Purrari is no more. But there is hope! Nissan came out of nowhere after the whole Purrari dispute, and offered the Canadian DJ a replacement for his lost kitty companion.
They took a GT-R and wrapped it up in the same Nyan Cat swag that Deadmau5 put on his 458, and tweeted at the DJ saying that they had a replacement for his custom car, and that they had it ready right MEOW.
It’s nice to know that while Ferrari may be lacking a sense of humor when it comes to slapping cat stickers on their cars, there are still carmakers out there that can laugh at such matters. I don’t know how I feel about massive car companies telling people what they can and can’t do with a car that they own, but when you have a reputation like Ferrari’s and millions of dollars to pour into legal disputes, I guess you can do whatever you want.
I’ll say it again, RIP Purrari. We’ll all miss you.