Comedian and car aficionado Jerry Seinfeld reportedly has a lawsuit Monday against a California classic car dealer where he purchased a rare 1958 Porsche that may be a fake, the Associated Press reported.
The suit, brought in Manhattan federal court, reportedly seeks unspecified damages from European Collectibles, which is based in Costa Mesa. In the suit, Seinfeld said he relied on the company’s certificate of authenticity proving the 1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster was real when he purchased it for $1.2 million in 2013.
Seinfeld’s suit also alleged his Porsche was not the only vehicle sold by European Collectibles later alleged to be inauthentic. The dealership did not respond to a comment request from the news outlet.
The controversy around the car began when Seinfeld sold the car to Fica Frio Limited, a company based in the Channel Islands, at a Gooding & Company auction in Amelia Island, Florida, three years ago. According to the auction listing, the Porsche is “believed to be the sole example originally finished in Auratium Green” and is “equipped with extremely rare Type 692/0 four-cam engine.” The listing also said it is one of 56 GS/GT Carrera Speedsters built with alloy body panels.
The company had plans to sell the vehicle this year and asked Porsche expert Lee Maxted-Page to inspect it. He raised issue about the car’s limited history file, especially the absence of photographs of the restoration process. Citing those concerns, he refused to sell the vehicle.
Fica Frio claimed the vehicle was “inauthentic” and sued Seinfeld earlier this month to rescind the $1.54 million sale and recover any related costs. However, the company has yet to specify exactly what it found to be wrong with the vehicle.
In its suit, Fica Frio said Seinfeld contacted one of the company’s associates last year to apologize about the situation and ensure that person the company’s money would be returned, though that has not yet happened.
The Fica Frio lawsuit also quoted Seinfeld as saying he “would also love to know how your guys figured it out because I find that to be interesting cause that’s impressive my guys did not, I guess, see anything amiss with the car when I bought it.”
Court documents showed the vehicle’s history file contained a note written by the person who likely sold the vehicle to Seinfeld that read, “Unfortunately we do not have a lot of information on the 1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 Carrera GT Speedster VIN 84908. We purchased the car from a broker who would not take me to the cars [sic] original location to meet the family that owned it originally. I tried very hard to find out more but never could.”
After being informed of the suit, Seinfeld contacted European Collectibles and told it to address Fica Frio’s claims. After the dealership failed to do so, Seinfeld filed a lawsuit of his own.
“[Seinfeld] 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,” Seinfeld attorney Orin Synder told the AP, who previously termed the Fica Frio lawsuit as “frivolous.”
ClassicCars.com editor Andy Reid said that when Fica Frio purchased the Speedster at the Gooding auction, it likely signed an as-is agreement, and that the car came with an old-style Porsche factory Kardex that described what parts, engine and chassis numbers belong to that specific vehicle.
Reid also noted that it was incumbent on Fica Frio to have had the car examined by Porsche experts before the sale to determine its authenticity, not after it had the Porsche in its possession.