Another Seinfeld Suit: Jerry Seinfeld Sues Dealer That Sold Him Allegedly “Fake” 1958 Porsche
The lawsuit alleges European Collectibles is no stranger to fraudulent cars.
A lawsuit brought against comedian and Porsche collector Jerry Seinfeld regarding an allegedly fake Porsche has resulted in yet another lawsuit. This time, Seinfeld is the plaintiff and he's suing European Collectibles, the Costa Mesa, California, classic-car dealership and Porsche specialist that sold him the car in the first place.
The car in question is a 1958 Porsche 356 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster. While Porsche built over a thousand 356 Speedsters, the 1500 GS/GT Carrera version is a rare variant built for racing with a highly tuned four-cam engine and several other performance upgrades versus more standard 356 Speedsters. The car is said to be one of as few as 56 such cars produced.
According to the lawsuit, Seinfeld bought the car from European Collectibles in 2013 for $1.2 million following a full restoration from parts and pieces by the dealership's owner, Nick Clemence. In 2016, Seinfeld sold the car to Brazilian-based Fica Frio, an automotive-related entity, at Gooding & Company's Amelia Island auction. When the new owner had a U.K.-based Porsche expert prepare the car for resale in 2017, that expert, Maxted-Page, declined to do so over issues of authenticity. In Fica Frio's lawsuit, it claims Seinfeld apologized for the unintentional misrepresentation and promised a full refund of Fica Frio's $1.54 million purchase price at the Gooding sale. When that refund never materialized, Fica Frio pressed the lawsuit.
Now, Seinfeld has taken legal action against European Collectibles for selling him the falsified Porsche in the first place. As text from the case filing reads, "Mr. Seinfeld, who is a very successful comedian, does not need to supplement his income by building and selling counterfeit sports cars." Seinfeld's hope was for European Collectibles to settle the suit with Fica Frio and the lawsuit claims, "To date, European Collectibles has refused to do so."
The lawsuit also opens implications that falsified cars are nothing new at European Collectibles, stating that it aims to "reveal the extent to which European Collectibles deploys fraudulent practices in connection with its restoration and sale of classic cars." The case filing itself offers no support of this allegation.
According to reports, Orin Snyder, Seinfeld's lawyer, claims that Seinfeld bought the car based on a certificate of authenticity provided by European Collectibles. "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 allow the court to determine the just outcome."
We contacted a representative for European Collectibles at its main telephone number and were told the company has "no comment." European Collectibles is set to have one of its scheduled "open house" events this Saturday, March 2, according to its website and is a well-known Southern California classic Porsche dealer. We previously reached out to auction house Gooding & Company for comment as well and were not provided with one.
The lawsuit would suggest that Seinfeld now also believes the car to be inauthentic. In this instance, it's not likely that the car is a built-from-scratch fake, but more likely a more common 356 Speedster modified to appear as a genuine, factory-built 1500 GS/GT Carrera. The difference in value between the two cars, given similar condition, would be around $1 million. If the car is truly fake, it must be a good one, as it fooled the judges at several concours events where it won awards.