Sale of Seinfeld’s 911 Has Us Asking: What’s the Deal With this Porsche?

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A 1996 Porsche 911 sold for $169,000 this week. Big money, especially when you consider the model’s condition #1 (“concours,” or “best-in-the-world”) value of $138K. At first glance, the car doesn’t seem that special, either. It’s a 993-generation Targa, which in the hierarchy of P-car prices falls below a coupe, but above a cabriolet. It’s a regular two-wheel drive Carrera model with a 6-speed, a desirable combo but not an exceptional one. Polar Silver over Midnight Blue are a similarly nice color combo but certainly not unique. The car also boasts just 26K miles plus tons of documentation and service history, but so what? Low-mileage, pampered 911s are a dime a dozen. Even the “one owner” isn’t anything to write home about. Not on a 28-year-old car, anyway.

In this case, it’s who that one owner is that really counts. Celebrity ownership doesn’t always add value to a car, but in some instances it does. Famous Porschephile Jerry Seinfeld has proven to be one of them, and he owned, then sold, this one. Oddly, though, nowhere in the listing nor in the piles of documentation in the photo gallery is there a single reference to the New York funnyman. The online bidders found out anyway, so why leave out a detail like that?

Seinfeld Porsche 993 side
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OK, first let’s get the show references out of the way…No, Jon Voight never owned the car. No, there isn’t a pencil in the glove box. Yes, there’s enough room for George Costanza’s wallet. No, it doesn’t smell like BO. Yes, the seller only accepted USD. No “interesting trades” considered, not even Anthony Quinn’s undershirt. No, the license plate isn’t “ASSMAN.” It is “TRG FLRO,” though, which is pretty cool.

Now, back to the car, which again is a solid, very well-cared-for example but has nothing exceptional or unique about it except the name on the title. The 993, the version of the 911 built from 1994-98, is arguably the prettiest generation of Germany’s sports car. The changes from previous 911s were numerous and extensive, and one particularly relevant to Seinfeld’s car is the layout of the popular Targa model. Whereas previous 911 Targas had a removable, stowable center roof section, the 993 Targa introduced a power-retractable glass roof. It’s more convenient, but also a pricy repair when it breaks. The 993 was the last air-cooled 911, and Seinfeld also bought the very last production air-cooled Porsche—a 993 Carrera 4S in Mexico Blue—in 1998.

As for his Polar Silver Targa seen here, it was listed on Bring a Trailer with an exhaustive (and exhausting) 400-plus photo gallery and equally exhaustive list of maintenance records, but bidding sat open for a full week before comments starting chiming in about the most appealing and attention grabbing part of the car—its owner. These followed Jerry Seinfeld’s guest appearance on the podcast Spike’s Car Radio, during which he casually mentioned “I just put a 1996 Polar Silver 993 Targa on Bring a Trailer…It’s not in the ad, but I’m gonna leak it out…that is the car that I would drive to work when I was doing the series in the ’90s.”

Seinfeld has publicly offloaded some of his Porsches before. Back in 2016, he sold 18 cars at Gooding & Co.’s Amelia Island auction. And he sold them well, with his dozen and a half P-cars earning an average 47 percent premium over their values in the Hagerty Price Guide (HPG). His Bring a Trailer Targa did even better, earning a 56 percent premium over its HPG value. The podcast leak was well-timed, then. One commenter even called it “marketing genius.”

Seinfeld Porsche 993 rear
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Really, though? Was it? If you’re attaching a famous name to a car in order to help it sell, why not just put it in the listing to begin with? Why, instead of that, would you rely on people to listen to Spotify at just the right time, then put two and two together to bid on the right car with a matter of hours to spare? Maybe he left it out at first on purpose, then just changed his mind and spilled the beans for the heck of it. Jerry Seinfeld (est. net worth: $925M) hardly needs the money, after all.

Regardless, the price here shows that the Seinfeld premium is real, even if it was presented in an odd way and even if, as my colleague Rick Carey says of Steve McQueen’s cars when they inevitably sell for inexplicable sums, “they’re just paying for his butt print!”

Seinfeld Porsche 993 rear
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    You can’t mistake Jerry as a celebrity here. In this case he is one of the biggest and best Porsche collectors.

    It is like buying a Nick Mason car it is not like it has value due to Floyd but more to his place as a collector.

    This car was over priced as for the model but it is the best one you can find. Now it may go into a collection never to be driven.

    Yea, I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again, I just don’t get it.I know some celebrity cars bring more money but the why makes no sense to me. I wouldn’t be surprised if this car got a ‘ X- SNFLD ‘ vanity plate but they might as well put a ‘Shallow and Superficial ‘ bumper sticker on at the same time. Name dropping impresses who? However in the ” he who is without sin…” I saw Parnellis 70 Boss 302 went across the block. In the classic school bus yellow and without the shaker but with the minilites in as raced look. Some upgrades done to his specs. which they didn’t bother to mention. They spent/spend a lot more time on less notable cars. If I had the disposable income I’d be more than tempted to bid higher. But then again, it was Parnellis Boss and he raced one to win the Trans Am championship that year. The history is intertwined. With Seinfeld and the 911, not so much. And some years from now, sorry Jerry, they’ll be saying “Funnyman” Seinfeld who?

    Seinfeld has some pop-culture stiction. I work with a lot of younger folks, and when I drop a Seinfeld reference, folks who weren’t alive when that show went off-air get it

    With that said, I would never buy ‘so-and-so’s car. The dumb ways the collector community find to add value to a car that don’t have much to do with the car astound me. Is it fast? is it cool looking? is it in decent shape. Things should never get too far beyond that in my opinion.

    This Porsche: “It’s about nothing!”
    Don’t understand the celebrity premium proposition.
    Nice car though. At least until the Targa mechanism stops working.
    Recently had a chance to but one very similar. Silver with black leather but with a wonky targa top mechanism. YIKES!

    I heard Jerry bought the 906 I used to own. I’d like to give him a little history on it , if he’s interested.

    But, not relative to the Targa being discussed. The 1997 993 Targa I bought in CAlifornia had the license plate, “CAL TRGA”. Makes sense doesn’t it?

    I saw this car parked in front of the Seinfeld production office on the studio lot in Studio City when I auditioned for a bit part on Seinfeld in 1997. So he did in fact drive this car to work… I didn’t get the part, and I had yet to own a Porsche, but I was very interested in and envious of what Jerry was driving. On another day in that same space was parked a 386. And Jerry parked them normally. He did not back in. I back my 991.1 911 Turbo S into parking spaces about half the time. I enjoy the backup camera.

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