Five of the most significant Porsches from the Seinfeld Collection by decade
For a guy who famously created a show that he and Larry David pitched as being about “nothing”, he’s a damned focused car collector—one of the most astute Porsche collectors on the planet. Next month, at the Gooding & Company auction in Amelia Island, Fla., he’s culling some of his cars to focus on the ones he drives and enjoys the most. Here are five of the most significant by decade:
1955 Porsche 550 Spyder- The 550 Spyder was a massive step forward for Porsche. It was an answer to numerous racers who wanted to field something more competitive than a 356 with a pushrod engine. Featuring lightweight bodywork and a tubular chassis, the 550 was a purpose-built racecar with a massively complex four-cam flat four-cylinder that was both unrelated to and considerably more powerful than the engines available in Porsche road cars of the day. The 550 was a tremendously successful racer that offered massive bang for the buck ($6,800 in 1953 or about $61,000 in today’s money) and developed a reputation as a giant killer, often besting larger and more powerful cars. Unfortunately, it also became infamous for being a Hollywood idol-killer—James Dean died in his 550 Spyder on the way to a race in Salinas, California. This one is expected to bring between $5 and $6 million.
1966 Porsche 911– The first 911s began to roll out of the Stuttgart works in August of 1964. Known very briefly as the 901— until Peugeot asserted trademark rights to digit-zero-digit numeric names— true 1964 911s are rare as are 1965 models. 1966 marked the first model year that the 911 stood on its own with the 356C going out of production the year before. 66s are special cars for a number of reasons not the least of which are the interiors which sported wood trim on the dash and very often were equipped with equally gorgeous wood steering wheels. They’re still among the purest of the 911s with no fender flares, a short wheelbase and steel wheels. This one is finished in the unusual shade of Sand Beige and it has just over 19,000 miles on the odometer. The pre-sale estimate is between $200,000 and $300,000.
1974 Porsche 911 3.0 Carrera RSR IROC- Anyone who read Road & Track in the 1970s will remember the one year that the IROC series (Roger Penske’s International Race of Champions) used identically prepped Porsche 911 RSRs. Most were finished in one of the wild “Life Saver’ colors of the day like Signal Orange or Lime Green but this one, arguably the most famous, driven by the legendary (and sadly doomed) cosmetics heir Peter Revson was finished in a more subdued shade called Light Yellow. The RSR was one of the most powerful and charismatic naturally aspirated competition 911s, but the NASCAR guys howled. They detested the 911s rear-engine, extreme oversteer handling characteristics and the series reverted to Camaros the following year. Mark Donohue’s car from the same year sits in the Penske Museum in Scottsdale, Arizona. This one can sit in your garage for just $1.2-$1.5 million.
1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Speedster– While it may be the only representative of the 1980s that Seinfeld consigned, it’s a car with a great deal of charm. Under American CEO Peter Schutz, Porsche began realizing that the 911 actually had a future for Porsche and they started having some fun with the car with variants like the lightweight Club Sport and the Speedster. The latter had a cut-down windscreen reminiscent of the car’s 1950s namesake, a fiberglass tonneau covering the top, and generally a set of Turbo fender flares. It made for a fantastic looking car and it’s among the most prized of the 3.2L 911 Carrera variants. While rather low-key in Grand Prix White, (Seinfeld likens its look to that of an Imperial storm trooper) this one is expected to bring between $250,000 and $350,000.
1990 Porsche 962C- Although this is a very late 962, built after the type’s days contesting overall wins at Le Mans had passed, it’s nonetheless a descendant of the all-conquering 956s and 962s that dominated endurance racing throughout the 1980s. This one was built for one of Porsche’s favorite privateers Joest Racing and in fact, Seinfeld is the only other owner of this car that was campaigned extensively by former works driver Bob Wollek. It’s a relative bargain as 962s go with a pre-sale estimate of “just” $1.5 to $2 million.