By on February 3, 2019

In addition to being one of America’s most-famous comedians, Jerry Seinfeld also happens to be a car snob of the highest order. His collection of vintage automobiles is so vast that he got the itch to sell a large portion a few years ago. As his fleet is already heavy with Porsches, his favorite brand, Seinfeld worked with Gooding & Company to get over a dozen under the gavel and make room for newcomers. Among these was an extremely rare 1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster.  It sold in 2016 and, yada yada yada, eventually resulted in a big lawsuit.

Estimated to move at over $2 million, the model went for $1.54 million to Fica Frio Ltd. with the suit surfacing just a few days ago. According to details outlined in the lawsuit, it was brought to the United Kingdom after being purchased. Then, in March of 2017, Fica Frio asked Lee Maxted-Page, the Managing Director of Maxted-Page Limited (which knows its Porsches), to evaluate and prep the vehicle for resale. However, the appraiser expressed concerns that the Porsche might not be authentic. 

From there, Fica Frio began talks with Gooding between February and April 2018 and eventually got into contact with Mr. Seinfeld. The lawsuit claims the comedian agreed (via voicemail) to return to Fica Frio the purchase price of the rare Porsche, plus all costs incurred, in exchange for Fica Frio returning the vehicle. Apparently, that deal never went down and a lawsuit was filed on February 2nd, 2019.

The plaintiff’s legal representation, Brown Rudnick LLP, are now seeking a full reimbursement of sale and “damages for the losses it has suffered in connection with the purchase.”

While the suit hinges on Maxted-Page’s expert assessment, it spends quite a bit of time dwelling on Seinfeld’s personal appearance at the auction and light accusations that the sale was an elaborate hoax. However, deciding if that’s accurate will be a tall order.

European Collectibles, the company that undertook the Speedster’s restoration, seems beyond reputable. The Better Business Bureau saw fit to give them an A rating and most customer reviews appear to be glowingly positive. The company also specializes in restoring European sports cars, with an emphasis on Porsche, and refuses to agree to the consignment of any car without a clean title —  branded, rebuilt or salvage title vehicles are not accepted, according to the website.

Meanwhile, Gooding & Company requests that all sellers have their vehicles appropriately appraised by an expert and encourages as much authentication as possible. The auction description of the Seinfeld GS/GT, which is still available on on Gooding & Co’s website, indicates that the vehicle was accompanied by a Porsche Kardex and a certificate of authenticity from the manufacturer, in addition a tool roll and some model-specific reading material. Sadly, this did not include a coffee table book about coffee tables.

It seems like a pretty tight ship but we suppose that it’s possible the Porsche was phony. In addition to subsequent expert examinations, one of Fica Frio’s biggest complains revolved on a lack of photographic evidence of the Carrera’s restoration work and an inability to acquire much information form the person who sold the car to Mr. Seinfeld. Furthermore, the engine doesn’t match the chassis. While not abnormal for vintage sports cars produced in extremely limited numbers, that could indicate it was raced early in its life  — a likely scenario, which makes pinning down its full history that much harder.

“Jerry has been working in good faith to get to the bottom of this matter. He has asked Fica Frio for evidence to substantiate the allegations. Fica Frio ignored Jerry and instead filed this frivolous lawsuit,” Seinfeld’s lawyers said in a statement to TMZ this weekend. “Jerry consigned the car to Gooding and Company, an auction house, which is responsible for the sale. Nevertheless, Jerry is willing to do what’s right and fair, and we are confident the court will support the need for an outside evaluator to examine the provenance of the car.”

Considering our continued use of Seinfeld references, it’s probably unwise for us to weigh in on the matter. But we’re under the assumption that the car is just too rare to accurately authenticate 100 percent of the time. Someone probably made a mistake and we’re keen to find out which party messed up.

[Images: Gooding & Company]

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47 Comments on “What’s the Deal With Jerry Seinfeld Being Accused of Selling Fake Porsches?...”


  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I find it hard to believe that if you have Seinfeld money you are intentionally passing off fake Porsches. Furthermore since he initially offered to refund the purchase price plus expenses it seems like he is operating in good faith and may be a victim himself. Lastly, I’d have probably paid to have my expert give it a look pre auction.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Classic cars are a lot like oil painting masterpieces, sometimes a whole team of experts can get it wrong. Many times classic cars are accepted even when there’s dissenting doubt due to lack of evidence for the doubt. I’m sure Seinfeld bought and sold the car in good faith and will make it right

    • 0 avatar
      NiceCar

      I agree that Jerry probably wasn’t trying to fool anyone. But, I don’t agree that his being a billionaire; having “Seinfeld money” has anything to do with it. Rich people do greedy money grabs just as much as anyone else, no matter if the amount would seem inconsequential to most people.

    • 0 avatar
      SirRaoulDuke

      The buyer did have their “expert” at the auction. You can read the court filing here:

      https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/SeinfeldPorsche.pdf

      The complaint offers zero evidence the car is a fraud.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I don’t think he knew it was a phony, the man is worth close to a BILLION dollars and I doubt he would ruin his reputation in the classic car collectors circles for 1.5 million (chump change)

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    FWIW, him and his circle have some history of being scammed on car purchases…See “John Voights” Chrysler.

  • avatar
    Bill Zardus

    Is it too late to make a Seinfeld episode about this ?

    Or was this the car that was chasing Kramer in the postal truck ?

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    when FICA FRIO realized they could return the car and get all their money back, they decided theyll try to get their profit from jerry, too.

    thats what its all about, since they were just going to flip the car anyway. reminds me of the reddit thread guy_buys_23_windows_vw_bus_for_135k_at_auction.

  • avatar
    jatz

    What a cute car! Suppose he ever drove it?

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I think it was featured on an episode of “Cars and Coffee”

      • 0 avatar
        jatz

        I know not this “Cars and Coffee”. Do they feature anything besides sports cars like classic sedans and pickups?

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          It’s Jerry’s show and he always features one of his 150 classic cars and I didn’t mean to mislead you his show is actually called “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” I was paraphrasing the name, sorry

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            I think only about half the cars in the show have been Jerry’s (rough, very rough estimate) – the owner is always given credit at the end of the episode, and I believe roughly that if it was a Porsche/VW (and credited to his production company, Columbus 81) it was one of his, but the rest were loaned to the show.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            I thought I remembered him and Letterman doing one in Dave’s 5.0 swapped Volvo Wagon.

          • 0 avatar
            carguy67

            One of the early “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” was with Ricky Gervais in an Austin-Healey 3000 that belonged to someone else. Gervais was terrified of the car (I think they were driving in LA traffic).

          • 0 avatar
            philipwitak

            in the interest of complete accuracy, there have been many episodes of c.i.c.g.c. that feature cars furnished by sources other than seinfeld’s collection [and they are credited as such at the conclusion of each show.

  • avatar
    Hogey74

    A cautionary tale for sure. It’s yet to fully play out but I am sure it will be fine. This kind of thing happens regularly with stuff like artworks. There is a ream-sized paper trail for things like these. Seinfeld will be shrugging and a little embarrassed whereas others will have cause to sweat. Fakes are generally made by people with a lot less money and who then construct a false provenance. At each point people are paid to know and to certify stuff. This is why people have insurance.

  • avatar
    John Scott

    Time for Jackie Chiles…”It’s real, and it’s spectacular!”

  • avatar
    slavuta

    If you are Jew and you touch a Porsche… and on top of this, his father was a Hungarian Jew (in you know what that means). So, in this sense, if the Porsche was fake, Jerry did a good job

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I guess it’s not cool for Jews, but cool for Americans in general? I mean, didn’t Porsche design tanks that killed God only knows how many American soldiers? For that matter, why on Earth would any American ever buy a Mitsubishi or Subaru when those companies made the stuff that bombed the s**t out of Pearl Harbor?

      And why would Japanese airlines buy airplanes from the same company that built the planes that nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

      World War II was a long time ago. This Jew would feel just fine about buying a Porsche.

      • 0 avatar
        Bill Zardus

        Glad to hear you say that.

        I’m pretty sure all the people running things at Porsche during WWII
        are dead now.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          “I’m pretty sure all the people running things at Porsche during WWII
          are dead now.”

          Then why not name car “Hitler”? They all dead now. Why Porsche is better than Hitler? He was SS ring bearer and ardent Nazi, and Hitler’s personal friend. Nowadays, if you spoke to Putin, you did collusion with Russia. But Porsche is ok, right? No better than Hitler himself

          • 0 avatar

            I’ve read a bit about Dr. Porsche in the 1930s and his relationship with Hitler and there’s nothing that I’ve seen to indicate that Porsche was an ideological Nazi (his business partner in the Porsche design agency was Adolf Rosenberger, who was Jewish) or a personal friend to Hitler. I consider Porsche to be amoral, he saw Hitler as a possible patron for his ideas. Hitler saw Porsche as someone who could help him implement his idea for a people’s car. A marriage of convenience, but there wasn’t any closer relationship between the two men.

      • 0 avatar
        Maxb49

        “World War II was a long time ago. This Jew would feel just fine about buying a Porsche.”

        It wasn’t that long ago. There are still plenty of Holocaust survivors living today, many of them in good health. I know many Jewish people here in New York that absolutely refuse to purchase a German automobile. I can’t say that I blame them.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        FWIW, the tanks designed by Porsche were over-engineered disasters. They didn’t build many of them and most served on the Russian front. Briefly, until they broke down.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Just the chassis for the Elefant IIRC (which was a disaster).

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elefant

        • 0 avatar

          Karl Ludvigsen has a book about Porsche’s war machines that he designed for four different governments that ruled over Germany. Some were good, some not so good. Here’s a video of a presentation he did on the topic at the SAE World Congress in 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7NHQvIsx1Q

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        FreedMike, it has nothing to do with tanks, battles and dead soldiers. If General Lee is bad so they removed his monuments, then Porsche is really bad. He was SS honoree and personal friend of Hitler. And ardent Nazi. Then name company or a car “Hitler”. Why not?

  • avatar
    Vanillasludge

    Separate of this story the classic and collectable car market is awash with fakes, patch up jobs, bad restomods, over-restorations and shoddy workmanship. Want to outlaw something? How about “Outlaw” restorations?

    At this stage a true collectible is a totally untouched survivor…though I’m sure there are enterprising folks who will be baking those up also.

    Continued rant: Restomods are just over for me…the next set of Willwoods/mags I see on an Impala SS may send me over the edge.

    Ok, I’ll go back to my room quietly nurse, no need for that needle.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    I don’t know how so many people missed the Beetle engine and Intermeccanica badge, but I guess even the experts can get fooled on occasion.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Holy crap, it’s a four-cam car. And that mirror on the fender, I’ve seen that on some other 356, but I can’t remember where, whether it was in the Hemmings Daily blog, or on Chasing Classic Cars. It was a mirror that some celebrity original owner liked and wanted, back in the day.

    If Porsche and the restorer signed off on it, then it’s probably genuine. And a four-cam car (Hirth roller bearing crank) with a non-original engine isn’t exactly unheard-of. And more digging might dig up a racing history.

  • avatar
    walleyeman57

    I hear the car had a horrible BO smell that could not be expunged. BBO if you will.


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