Since cars are functional articles, vehicle designs are not protectable by copyright. In recent decades, courts have showed increased willingness to use trademark to provide causes of action against replica manufacturers.
G.I. Joe toy Humvee by Lanard
468 F.3d 405 (6th Cir. 2006)
(upholding exclusive right to vehicle design represented in toy on the basis of trademark doctrine)
Ferrari 308, 1:18 scale model, Pontiac Fiero, 1:18 scale model, and Mera sales brochure (late 1980s)
(unreported, late 1980s)
In the late 1980s, Pontiac Fiero models were transformed by Corporate Concepts of Carpac, Michigan into look-alikes of Ferrari’s 308 model. The altered Fiero vehicle was sold by Pontiac dealers as the Mera. Legal action by Ferrari forced an end to the venture. Ferrari also obtained a favorable published opinion in a similar case involving Ferrari’s Testarossa and Daytona Spyder models: Ferrari S.P.A. Esercizio Fabriche Automibili E Corse v. Roberts, 739 F.Supp. 1138, (E.D. Tenn. 1990).