Spike Feresten talks slantnose Porsches, autonomy, and cargo shorts

Spike Feresten has lived several lives. Born into a blue-collar Massachusetts community, he broke into show business as a writer for Saturday Night Live and later went on to write for The Simpsons and Seinfeld, penning several of the latter’s most iconic episodes (“The Soup Nazi,” anyone?).

Feresten caught the car bug after hanging around car junkies like David Letterman and friend Jerry Seinfeld, whose love of all things air-cooled rubbed off in a big way. Feresten’s garage is now stocked with several Porsches and a Volkswagen Beetle police car. 

Hagerty caught up with Feresten and got his thoughts on everything from regret, to cargo shorts, to slantnose Porsches.

What car-related advice would you give to your younger self?

Save every penny. Live like a pauper. Seriously, I mean skip meals, steal toilet paper from gas station restrooms, save it all until you have enough cash to buy a Ferrari GTO. Then buy, hold, retire.

I have many regrets. Every car I’ve sold I’ve missed at some point afterwards. That’s normal. And yes, I passed on an IROC RSR and a Ferrari Lusso when they were “affordable”. We all have these stories. But the future is blacked out, my friends. One never knows where this car thing of ours is headed!

You can relive one car moment/experience from your life. What is it?

It would have to be driving the Solar Productions/Steve McQueen Porsche 917 [used in the filming of Le Mans] around a track. That is rarefied air. It is also the worst “You break it, you buy it” pressure I have ever experienced.

I just remember someone saying, “Now, there a tiny chance this thing will explode for no reason. If that happens, just get out of the car.” Then they closed the door of what felt like a coffin, and I was off. Good times.

What’s an opinion you hold—either about cars in general or about a specific model—that none of your friends agree with?

Slantnose Porsches are hideous. I know the world will agree with me on this one.

Aside from the sheer pleasure of driving, what attracts you to the car community?

When you have a sickness, a dark obsession, it’s alway nice to be around others who are suffering from the same problem. Knowing that I’m not alone. I’ll tell you what I can’t stand about the car community, however: guys in cargo shorts and black socks. Can we all agree to end this madness?

What’s your emotional reaction when pondering a future filled with autonomous cars? Your intellectual reaction?

Think of all the close calls you’ve had in your classic car because of idiot drivers. Perhaps in self-driving mode this will end. It’s also worth mentioning that self-driving cars don’t drink and drive, and they don’t have road rage or smoke meth. As long as I have the option to drive myself, I’m just fine with them.

What’s new for Spike Feresten?

I launched Spike’s Car Radio on the PodcastOne network in June. Think of it as a downloadable Cars & Coffee hosted by me and recorded live from the porch of the famous Malibu Kitchen. It’s a humorous roundtable discussion featuring celebrity guests (the first guest was Jerry Seinfeld), the latest car news, new model test-drives, and advice for new and classic car buyers. And I’ll always keep one chair open for the listeners who drop by.

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