Jerry Seinfeld is used to making people laugh. So perhaps it’s little surprise that buried in a Gooding & Company press release touting Friday’s Amelia Island auction of 18 cars owned by the comedian, there’s one line that makes you cough up your coffee.
“My enthusiasm for this pursuit remains quite insane and I am very fortunate to have many other cars I get to look after,” Seinfeld says.
“Quite insane” comes up a little short folks.
Other than maybe the suits roaming the halls in Zuffenhausen, home of Porsche, there are few folks on the planet quite as cuckoo for the German marque as the host of Crackle’s “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.”
It’s not quite clear how many Porsches Seinfeld owns, in part because both he and the man who oversees his bi-coastal collection, Sam Cabiglio, aren’t about broadcasting details or giving tours. But the collection must be vast, valuable and impressive judging by the vehicles going under the hammer this week. In a nod to fans of the ground-breaking “Seinfeld” TV series, consider these dozen-plus gems some of Jerry’s most sponge-worthy cars.
Why sell? Seinfeld’s worth some $800 million, so it’s not for gas money. Let Jerry explain: “Each one of these cars is a pinnacle of mechanical culture to me. Many are the best examples that exist in the world. I’ve loved being entrusted with their care, and I’m proud of the level to which we have brought each and every one of these wonderful machines. Honestly, if I had unlimited time, space and attention span I would never sell one of them.”
OK, so he wants room for some new stuff to tinker with. We car nuts can relate, if only on a 1/1000th scale.
Expected to fetch around $32 million total, the 18 cars in question — all Porsches and a few VWs — are anything but pedestrian examples of a machine whose values have skyrocketed in the last few years. While Porsches still aren’t in the Ferrari value orbit, many prized air-cooled models have tripled of late, putting many out of the financial reach of most fans.
As a collector, Seinfeld has prided himself on buying both the best and the most unique; for example, he famously owns the very first air-cooled 911 as well as the last. That attention to detail shows in the Gooding & Company lots selected to be part of the Jerry Seinfeld Collection.
Arguably the showstoppers of the group are a pair of sleek bullets that essentially made Porsche’s name in the annals of mid-20th century road racing, a 1955 550 Spyder (estimated at between $5 million and $6 million) and a 1959 718 RSK ($3.8 million to $4.2 million).
The 550 really gives you pause. It has 10,000 original miles and is untouched by the ravages of racing. Seinfeld sometimes provides a quip or two in the collection’s literature. The one affixed to this car is particularly on point: “You can’t drive a sonnet by Shakespeare or a symphony by Beethoven. But this would be the automotive equivalent.”
Incredibly, neither of those pricey cars is the most expensive Porsche on offer. That honor goes to a 1973 917/30 Can-Am Spyder capable of zipping to 60 mph in a Bugatti Veyron-shaming 2.1 seconds. After driving it cautiously around a track, Seinfeld remarked, “The car’s crazy, I’m not.”
Scanning the rest of the menu, the theme that echoes - uniqueness - is one most collectors of Porsches can appreciate. After all, this is a car company that for the better part of five decades was known largely of one unchanging silhouette and design philosophy.
To that end, Seinfeld is offering up a 2012 911 GT3 4.0 ($300,000 to $500,000) in a livery commemorating the legendary Florida-based Porsche racing concern (and dealership), Brumos, which incidentally just shuttered its doors rendering this model even more valuable. After buying it new and lapping a track for less than 2 hours, Seinfeld promptly consigned the car to his collection.
There’s also a 1974-vintage racing 911 Carrera, but far from being just another track-ready beast it is one of only 15 911 3.0 Carrera RSRs built for Roger Penske’s IROC series ($1.2 to $1.5 million).
This car, however, didn’t get tucked away. “I’ve had this car for 15 years and (have) driven it everywhere,” Seinfeld says. “It’s a dream car for me. … Only Porsche made indestructible, full-on race cars like this that you could, and still can, drive anywhere you want. The sound will make your life.”
And how about something wildly simpler, a 1966 Porsche 911 that when new would set the then well-heeled and savvy owner back around $7,000. For a mere $200,000 to $300,000, you can take that trip back in time thanks to a beautifully preserved model with fewer than 20,000 original miles.
Seinfeld’s giddiness over the car is almost palpable: “This is as pure and perfect a ’60s 911 as there is in the world. The colors are so wonderful. No restored car has this delicious smell. Car heaven as a pure early 911.”
In the end, almost every major era of Porsche automotive development is represented, especially when you include the nod to Porsche’s Volkswagen roots in the form of a 1960 VW Bug ($35,000 to $55,000 - really? well yes if you realize it’s got 15,000 original miles).
There are also a few 356s (notable is the competition-spec 1963 356 B 2000 GS/GT Carrera 2 Coupe at between $1.1 and $1.4 million), a sub-4000-mile 1989 Carrera Speedster ($250,000 to $325,000), a 1994 964 Turbo 3.6 S Flachbau (that’s factory slant-nose turbo to you and me, at $1 to $1.3 million), a rare-in-the-U.S. 1997 993 Cup 3.8 RSR ($1.2 to $1.5 million) and a 2011 997 Speedster (one of 356 built, between $300,000 and $400,000).
So the big question is whether any of these cars will go for more than their true value simply because they come from the collection of one of the most discerning Porsche collectors around.
I’m voting for yes. And as Jerry himself said on his show, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”