By on February 27, 2019

Jerry Seinfeld is suing the company that sold him an ultra-rare 1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 Carrera after an earlier suit brought its authenticity into question. The comedian sold the car in 2016 for $1.5 million via a Gooding & Company auction only to see the buyer, Fica Frio Limited, claim it was fake.

(Jerry, just remember — it’s not a lie if you believe it.) 

Seinfeld is now seeking unspecified damages in a Manhattan federal court from European Collectibles of Costa Mesa, California. However, the suit’s primary mission isn’t about hunting for a payday — Seinfeld appears more interested in clearing his name and forcing the dealership into settling things with Fria Fico directly.

According to the Associated Press, the document states that Seinfeld doesn’t actually know whether or not the Porsche is legitimate, but it places the onus on the dealer. “Mr. Steinfeld [sic], who is a very successful comedian, does not need to supplement his income by building and selling counterfeit sports cars,” the document reads.

With the exception of the spelling of Jerry’s name, that’s likely accurate. Seinfeld is just barely on the wrong side of being a billionaire thanks to having one of the most popular syndicated television shows of all time. He’s also bought and sold Porsches for years to enhance his incredibly robust vintage car collection, with nary a bad word against him.

“Jerry has no liability in this matter, but he wants to do the right thing, and is therefore bringing this action to hold European Collectibles accountable for its own certification of authenticity, and to allow the court to determine the just outcome,” said Seinfeld’s lawyer, Orin Snyder.

According to the lawsuit, Seinfeld purchased the car from European Collectibles for $1.2 million in February 2013, believing the credentials provided by the dealer to be genuine. While that still may be the case, the fact remains that its current owner — and at least one reputable Porsche expert (Maxted-Page) — think it’s phony.

Someone clearly screwed up. While European Collectibles seems above board, and the car managed to pass muster with Gooding & Company, the certification documents included in the sale have become suspect. In fact, the new lawsuit claims European Collectibles previously sold a restored Porsche that was later alleged by a disgruntled collector to be inauthentic. Another mistake, or something more sinister?

We’ve no clue, but one of the suit’s stated goals is to “reveal the extent to which European Collectibles deploys fraudulent practices in connection with its restoration and sale of classic cars.” It will probably be some time before the matter is settled. Getting to the truth of a matter is like knocking over a Coke machine. You can’t do it in one push. You gotta rock it back and forth a few times, and then it goes over.

[Images: Gooding & Company]

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35 Comments on “Jerry Seinfeld Sues California Car Dealer Over Allegedly Fake Porsche...”


  • avatar
    JimC2

    Newman!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I wonder what the buyer and the seller’s agreements were with Gooding & Company. If Gooding & Company had some sort of guarantee that they only sell authentic cars as such, then shouldn’t the buyer take umbrage with them?

    • 0 avatar
      tkewley

      Per their website:

      https://www.goodingco.com/terms/

      all sales are “as is – where is”, and they expressly disclaim any liability. How much legal force that actually has probably depends on how many lawyers one is willing to throw at them…

      • 0 avatar
        MrIcky

        I thought ‘as is’ was defeated by misrepresentation or deception?

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          MrIcky is correct. ‘as is’ doesn’t absolve misrepresentation.

          If you say “runs well” in an ad, it must run. “well” is open to interpretation, so you’re out of luck on that. It may only run for three seconds and then explode. However, it must run.

          Claiming it’s a “1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 Carrera” is a highly factual statement and must be true.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        This is where a warranty of merchantability is applied, and that is not something that can be disclaimed. Essentially, it means that the thing you’re selling actually is what you say it is.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    When classic car valuations reach fine art levels, not surprising that there might (or might not) be some funny stuff happening. The provenance of the half billion dollar Da Vinci painting will probably be debated for a long time.
    The Argentinian Bugatti restorer Pur Sang will sell you a classic handbuilt Bugatti replica, made with the same processes and procedures as the originals, for about $250K. (They are upfront on these being replicas.) An upper bound on creating a 356A you could pawn off at 5X that?

  • avatar
    tkewley

    On the one hand, this is just some multi-millionaires p!ssing on each other, so who cares – there aren’t any meaningfully damaged parties here. At the same time, it will be interesting to see how this plays out – there appears to be intent to defraud on somebody’s part, and at the moment most of those fingers seem to be pointing at European Collectibles…

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      “there aren’t any meaningfully damaged parties here”

      One could argue that Seinfeld has been damaged the most out of anybody; he obviously doesn’t need to worry about money, but he does care about cars, and his reputation in the car world is probably quite important to him.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Just a little off topic here. I clicked on an ad here for a new 66 Mustang . Apparently you can’t refer to it as a “rest-Mod..The company builds them from scratch with all the modern technology . The end result is a 68 Mustang in looks only ..I clicked to the U Tube link. This is a very impressive vehicle, with a 250 K price tag.

    Question for those better informed than me. How do they get around Fords patents,and licences ?

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Wondering if Art Vandelay will post on this article.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    “Getting to the truth of a matter is like knocking over a Coke machine. You can’t do it in one push. You gotta rock it back and forth a few times, and then it goes over.”

    Following the same analogy, eventually it goes over, but it COULD actually be going over the person rocking the machine.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I believe Jerry is just trying to clear his name. I highly doubt that he knowingly tried to pass on a dubious Porsche, However, I would NOT buy a Chrysler Le Baron Convertible from him

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      I cannot even conceive of a world where someone would make a fake one of those.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      If people did believe Jerry was trying to pass off fakes, it could devalue his whole collection. 1st world problems I’m sure, but still- millions.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      The Chrysler wasn’t fake…the “provenance” of the celebrity ownership had some omissions however. Jon Voight (actor) vs Joh Voight (Podiatrist)…it could happen to anyone. I would know

      • 0 avatar
        markf

        “The Chrysler wasn’t fake…the “provenance” of the celebrity ownership had some omissions however. Jon Voight (actor) vs Joh Voight (Podiatrist)…it could happen to anyone. I would know”

        For a guy with Art Vandelay as his username you are not up to speed on your Seinfeld trivia. John Voight was a Dentist.

  • avatar
    DedBull

    This probably comes down to how much original 356 has to be present to make this a “restoration” of an original 356. You can’t just transfer the chassis tag to a different 356 and call it a “restoration” but you can probably replace 90% of the vehicle and get away with it. The other possibility is that they have created multiple 356’s from a single scrapped car.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    It seems almost unquestioned that Seinfeld acted in good faith, so I expect his reputation to be unharmed; the act of filing the lawsuit basically as a passthrough is just due diligence to demonstrate acting in good faith, there, I think.

  • avatar
    Gedrven

    What is this nonsense? “Damaged parties”? The only likely damage here is to that poor Porsche (replica or not) that probably spent its life dry-rotting in a garage instead of being driven like a car should. Does it look like a Porsche 3567890 XYZ WTFLOLBBQ Special? Does it drive like one? Does it sound and smell like one? Then shut your overpaid yap and enjoy what you have.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Next time you order up a nice ribeye I’ll just bring you out some overcooked horsemeat. They are both in fact meat so shut your yap and enjoy your steak.

      • 0 avatar
        Gedrven

        Bad analogy; there’s a noticable difference between cow and horse meat even to a non-connoisseur (this one, at any rate). There also health implications beyond an abstract notion of “authenticity”. The meat example would be more like a real Countach vs. a Fiero with a body kit.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      What I’ve read about this car is that it had a special trim package which even made it rarer. The current owner is questioning whether that trim package is original to the car or was it added later. The car itself is real

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Seinfeld should probably set up an LLC for buying and selling cars like this just to further protect his privacy and liability. Maybe he already has, but then you dragging to court a holding company with little or no assets instead of Seinfeld as an individual.

    An ultra wealthy celebrity really opens up himself to lawsuits. Everyone sues the person with the deepest pockets.

  • avatar
    jatz

    It’s just lovely to see all that beautifully bulbous sheet metal.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Wow .

    Rich people problems .

    No wonder my son doesn’t want to sell the 356 B Porsche I gave him ~ it’s too much worry .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    MBella

    Porsche themselves will certify any of their cars as long as you can prove it. Whatever their requirements are, I would expect a selling párty to go through those hoops on a car valued over a million dollars. I would have expected a Porsche enthusiast of Jerry’s caliber to know and expect that.

  • avatar
    KevinB

    I would really love to know the specifics on why this car is not authentic.

    Or at least why they think it’s not authentic.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    Some time ago I bought a Gremlin in “NEW CONDITION” with less than 20K miles. Later my friends laughed at me saying, “How much did you have to drink and how dark was it when you handed over the money for that?”.
    Turns out it was a Pacer, worth very little compared to a Gremlin.

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