Jerry Seinfeld sues classic car dealer over allegedly fake Porsche

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Comedian and car collector Jerry Seinfeld was sued for selling this rare 1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster at an auction in 2016. The buyer alleged it was falsified. | Bob Golfen photo
Comedian and car collector Jerry Seinfeld was sued for selling this rare 1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster at an auction in 2016. The buyer alleged it was falsified. | Bob Golfen photo

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.

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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.

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“[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.

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Carter Nacke is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He began his career at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix, the largest news radio station in Arizona, where he specialized in breaking news and politics. A burgeoning interest in classic cars took him to the Journal in 2018. He's still on the hunt for his dad's old 1969 Camaro.

13 COMMENTS

    • …whats with bashing Jerry just because he managed to be successful enough to buy big boy toys….. after working his butt off all his life doing stand up and television….. and getting booed off stage…. more than he cares to remember!

  1. Most so far is one authority saying he won’t certify (based on the nonexistance of pictures), nothing to the vehicle. And Jerry and crew aren’t that easily fooled either.

    If Porsche files show this vin as only of this color as claimed…thats conclusive enough for me.

  2. That’s what the rich guys get when they buy million dollar vehicles without having it authenticated previously and still make the bye

      • I don’t think it’s very nice to attack Jerry Seinfeld for being rich. We all have our own comfort level in this hobby. Just because somebody has done well in life doesn’t make him a bad guy for being able to buy cars I can only dream of owning. More importantly, we should all discourage sellers who misrepresent what a car is to us. I personally was sold a car, that although was chump change for a buyer like Jerry, supposedly "only had a silver dollar sized hole of rust repaired", when in fact, after I got the car, I found out it had all new floors, floor braces, trunk floor pan, trunk walls, and quarter panel patches. The guy thought it was funny when I called him about it, actually bragging that he got away with screwing me. We need to support Jerry, just like I think he would support us, in situations like this, instead of callously calling out his wealth as an excuse for it being ok for him to be sold BS like I was..

  3. interesting to note with all of the BS flying no one manages to say exactly how the car is alleged to be inauthentic. If in fact inauthentic then what is it.

  4. Is it a crime to be wealthy these days?
    If I was a Seinfeld or a Leno, I’d have a toy box as big as their’s too.
    Any car guy who says different is a lier.

    • im curious about authenticity, too.. is it the real real or not??? I wonder if after the dust settles and court dealings are over , will we know?? if it turn out to be legit will it be more famous and worth more $$$$?

  5. BUYER BEWARE …… sad to say he should have had it checked out "BEFORE" he bought the car ….. its always the case, on "USED" cars…… especially if you spend BIG $$$$.

  6. Mr. Seinfeld is the premier collector and aficionado of Porsche automobiles.
    His devotion to the brand and hobby far exceeds any financial quibbling; I can’t prove it, nor testify, but my understanding is that Mr. Seinfeld not only does the "rich man thing" and participates in the buy/sell/trade of autoexotica from Stuttgart, but cuts out a significant portion of his income for charity. Many charities. And won’t disclose, just does.
    Why, then, pick at him? Was the car a fake, and his people fooled? How can this be laid upon him? Will y’all say that the most visible and prominent American collector of Porsche automobiles is a liar or a fake? Really?
    Let’s let it rest, ‘k? The provenance will come to light. Mr. Seinfeld is either the victim of fraud, or jumpy-jumpy on board denigration.
    Drop it, ‘n’ go back to trolling Facebook, ‘k’?
    Oh- in Fargo ND, Valley Imports handles Porsche/Audi/Mercedes-Benz/Volkswagen/Mitsubishi.
    Last week, I went to drool over cars I will never be able to afford, and in the Porsche showroom was a dramatic shape under a grey drape.
    I asked, it was sold (for cash!)- but the lady peeled back the drapery to show me a 2019 Carrera Turbo GT2/RSR, in viscous red with matte carbon trim and an interior perhaps just a bit less stark than an F40’s- yeah, I understand Jerry’s affection for Porsche. This thing was evil incarnate- and sold for cash!
    Rep lady told me it would violate every state’s highway speed limit in 2nd gear, and topped at 205, mainly due to the aero package… can you say "Formula One" wing? Oooh, be still my beating heart.
    Let’s let the experts analyze the car, and Mr. Seinfeld alone, ‘k?
    R

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