Hagerty.com

Seinfeld now suing dealer which sold him a Porsche 356 Speedster GS/ST that may be fake

#1

Renowned Porschephile Jerry Seinfeld is suing a California classic car dealer, arguing that the company has failed to verify the authenticity of a 1958 Porsche that he purchased from them in 2013 and sold three years later.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/02/26/seinfeld-suing-dealer-sold-him-fake-porsche-356
1 Like
#2

So why hasn’t a 3rd party non-partial Porsche authority gone and certify the car? This really seems like a “he said, she said” issue at the moment with everyone just suing each other!

1 Like
#3

Let the buyer beware - Jerry wouldn’t know which end of the steering wheel to grab. He relies on others to make his collection. I’ve always wondered how an auction house can gain 15% of the sell price without any liability on authenticity … rich man’s game.

1 Like
#4

How about getting someone from Porsche to certify the car? I mean it seems to me that would have been the first place to go unless they (Porsche) will not do it.

#5

Collect American problem solved. Even though Bruno Adellini (aka) Bruce Willis sued a NJ Dealer for selling him a cloned GTO. So as one responder stated BUYER BEWARE.

#6

No one wants to get involved in someone else’s lawsuit unless he is a paid expert; and then his opinion is suspect. That said, if Seinfeld represented the car as a factory GS/ST he should be required to rescind the deal if the buyer proves the car is a clone. There is limited time & opportunity to investigate the provenance & authenticity of a car at auction so the seller’s representation is paramount. Seinfeld can then sue the dealer he purchased the car from if the entire car is a fraud. However, If the issue is an incorrect engine or drivetrain item, it’s not so easy. One of Seinfeld’s mechanics could have switched engines without Seinfeld’s knowledge.
I had a man sue me after he claimed the 383 engine in the Mopar I sold him two years prior was a 361. The car had been to several mechanic shops under his ownership and fortunately I had photographic proof that the engine was in fact a 383 at time of sale; and the judge also confirmed this with a telephone call to the owner before me. Obviously the engine was swapped under the buyer’s ownership without his knowledge and he lost the suit.

1 Like
#7

American collector cars can come under just as much scrutiny. There are more cloned 69 Z/28 cars out there now, than were originally assembled. IMO there is more fraud in the American collector car market, because so many more cars were produced. Mustangs, Camaros, Mopars, take your pic, the risk is real.

#8

Doesn’t it all come down to “buyer beware”
When dealing with these types of numbers, I can’t imagine why Fica Frio (or for that matter the company that sold the car to Jerry Seinfield) didn’t hire a Porsche company historian (they must exist) to do due diligence before purchasing the car in the first place.
If the car isn’t real, then Jerry was also screwed in the transaction.

Just a thought, if the values were reversed and the car that Jerry sold was worth more money than he thought (due to some provenance, like Dr. Porsche owned it) would Fica F, offer to pay Jerry more?

#9

It’s not so easy to do your due diligence when a car is sold at auction. Barrett-Jackson does not allow a bidder to even open the doors on a vehicle before it’s on the block. Without tools, jacks, jack stands, books, etc and with only a few days to examine; the seller’s claims & statements are all important and should be legally binding. The auction house should have no liability since they are wholly relying on the consignor.

#10

Buyer beware is only valid if there’s no fraud. Jerry gave the buyer a fraudulent certificate of authenticity, which he got from the previous dealer. He gave it to the buyer in good faith, not knowing it was fraudulent. The courts will have to decide on this one as it is not clear cut that Jerry commited fraud.

#11

HHmmmm… first world problems

1 Like
#12

I have yet to go to a Barrett Jackson auction where I was not allowed to see, in some detail, a vehicle before going over the block. This includes being able to open doors the hood and sometimes the trunk. We must be going to different BJ auctions.

#13

What should happen is that the fraud should follow the car all the way back to the original perpetrator of the fraud and this person should be held accountable for all monies involved.

#14

I had a case where my client saw a Pantera for sale which looked like one stolen from him a few years earlier. His mechanic testified that he had hand made certain parts and provided drawings & pictures which matched up & the judge gave the car back to my client. Point is, someone may have done a restoration and may be able to ID something specific they did. Good Luck Jerry - Bob R. -
Attorney

#15

David, we go to B-J Scottsdale; routinely buy several cars; and there are security personnel in golf carts that will demand that you not touch, much less open the door, of vehicles to be auctioned. They allow opening doors, popping hoods, etc ONLY after the owner is summoned and present; which can be hours or days later. If you do not immediately comply with the security guard’s demand you will be removed from the premises. This is not only B-J’s policy but also what we’ve experienced more than once. If you’ve gotten away with handling the merchandise you’ve been lucky.

#16

If the topic of expensive cars at auction is offensive, why read the article?

#17

It depends. Some sellers leave the doors open along with the hood and trunk, so the cars can be viewed more completely. Others button the cars up. I admit, a car we bought in Jan was locked up. Not the greatest inspection I could do, but I did chat with the seller while he was in line to drive on the block and he opened the hood an doors for me.

#18

Keep in mind Seinfeld, I believe about 8 years ago , bought a “bitsa” a Porsche 550 ? put together from 3 different wrecks that had very arguable heritage and pedigree. He spent over a million dollars on the car and immediately sent it to the crusher so he would never have to hear about this car and its supposed heritage again. A person who does that just for the brand, would never knowingly sell a car with questionable heritage. Its just not possible.

#19

Imagine going to you local Honda dealer to trade for a new Accord, walking the lot and picking a car that you like only to have a salesperson approach you and ask you to not touch the car. You explain that your interested in the car and ask the salesperson if they would unlock the car so you could look it over better and perhaps take it for a test drive? The salesperson looks at you wearily and says that the dealership policy is that customers are not permitted to touch, sit in, start, or drive their cars until after the negotiation and financing process has been concluded and you have the keys. Also, on top of the amount due by you beyond trade in difference, taxes, title, doc fees, there will be an additional 15% of the purchase price due as a “sellers premium”. How long would you remain on that dealers lot let alone even waste your time trying to negotiate with them? Just more proof that these auctions are for the wealthy who have more money than sense! Pardon me if I don’t feel sorry for this buyer … or seller!

1 Like
#20

That is in fact, exactly what happens when you go to buy a new motorcycle. At least, the no test drive part. Guess why? Ha! Also will happen to most used cycle purchases. If the owner lets someone ride it, he’s a fool. I’ve personally witnessed a bike that was being test ridden that was slid off a road into a canal, and the rider walked back and said to the owner, “I’m no longer interested” and left! Crazy. Also heard the story of a oil leak starting on on a test ride, (the bike was Italian. I love my old Italian bikes, but this is common, even happened to me!) pumping out all the oil without the rider noticing the oil light glowing, and , well, you can guess.