An auction of cars belonging to actor Jerry Seinfeld is expected to scale new heights in the world of car auctions -- with one Porsche alone expected to sell for around $8 million.
Seinfeld, who is known as a Porsche fanatic, has apparently run out of space to store his ever-growing rare car collection and so he’s selling 18 of them. But it is one Porsche that’s expected to set a new record -- the 550 Spyder which is said to be in superb condition.
The reason this car is valued more than the others is partly due to its notoriety of being the same model as the Porsche that ended the life of actor James Dean.
The 24-year-old actor was tragically killed in an accident in 1955. He was driving his 550 Spyder to a sports car racing competition when he lost control of the car, nick-named Little Bastard, and crashed on California State Route 41.
In comparison, Seinfeld’s Carrera Speedster is expected to reach $US2.5 million when it’s auctioned at Gooding and Company’s Amelia Island auction in Florida tomorrow.
While there is speculation Seinfeld is making room in his storage yard for more cars, he has released a statement, saying that it’s time for other car enthusiasts to enjoy part of his collection.
“I’ve loved being entrusted with their care, and I’m proud of the level to which we have brought each and every one of these wonderful machines,” Seinfeld said in his statement.
“The reason I wanted to bid these cars farewell in this way is really just to see the look of excitement on the faces of the next owners who I know will be out of their minds with joy that they are going to get to experience them.”
Brian Tanti is a world renowned specialist coach builder of high end classic cars. He’s Australia’s most experienced restorer, the curator of the Fox Museum in Melbourne and he’s also featuring in the Discovery Channel’s new series The Car Chronicles.
“The 550 Spyder is one of only 36 of that body style in the world. It’s one of 90 Spyders made overall and they don’t come up for sale very often. On average, since 2012, they’ve been changing hands -- one per sale every year. And, as they become more expensive, that chance to own one diminishes even further and falls out of the range of the average person," Tanti said.
“The general feeling is that collectors never really own their car, they are custodians there to care for them and then pass to somebody else. So, for a whole range of reasons, people start to reassess what they’re doing, why they want to move their cars on. Sometimes it’s to buy something else. But for many people, there’s the weight of the providence."
"For some people, it plays on their mind that they don’t want something that valuable sitting around. For others, it’s a financial decision to sell. But the reasons why people move them on are as varied as people themselves. Sometimes they are pestered for years to sell a car, and they ignore it. But they get to a point where they’ve had their fun and got it out of their system."
Tanti is expecting the Amelia Island auction will set an important benchmark.
"Every year, since 2012, the prices have been going up in increments of $US1 million. More and more people are waking up to the value of a classic car. They’re becoming a commodity in their own right. An auction house in LA told me they’re now openly approaching people that bid on artworks to gauge interest, and then introduce them into the classic car market," Tanti said.
“The last Spyder that sold at Amelia’s got $US6.7million. So, if you look at the trends, it looks like Seinfeld’s Spyder will go up by at least another million dollars. But, added to that is the notoriety of the car being owned by Seinfeld. It adds the ‘X-Factor’ to the purchase. So it’s not only about the cult status of James Dean, it’s also about Seinfeld. It's all about the story."
I've never bought a car as an investment," Seinfeld said in a Gooding & Company press release. "I don't really even think of myself as a collector. I just love cars. And I still love these cars. But it's time to send some of them back into the world, for someone else to enjoy, as I have.
1955 Porsche 550 Spyder
1957 Porsche 356 A Speedster
1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster
1958 Porsche 597 Jagdwagen
1959 Porsche 718 RSK
1960 Volkswagen Beetle
1963 Porsche 356 B 2000 GS Carrera 2 Coupe
1964 Volkswagen Camper
1966 Porsche 911
1973 Porsche 917/30 Can-Am Spyder
1974 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 IROC RSR
1989 Porsche 911 Speedster
1990 Porsche 962C
1994 Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6 S Flachbau
1998 Porsche 993 3.8 Cup RSR
2000 Porsche Carrera GT Prototype
2011 Porsche 997 Speedster
2012 Porsche 997 GT3 4.0 Cup “Brumos Commemorative Edition”
The Graeme Neander Photos originally appeared in the Christophorus Magazine