It’s no secret that Jerry Seinfeld loves cars and Porsches in particular.
The billionaire comedian’s entire collection famously held around 150 cars at one stage, including the world’s largest Porsche collection.
He even went so far as to launch his own show featuring them, the self-explanatory ‘Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee’.
So it came as a surprise when this week one of the many vehicles Seinfeld has bought and sold over the years was found to be a fake.
The Australian motoring writer and PR industry veteran John Connolly gave Your Money Live the lowdown.
“In 2013, he bought a Porsche in California from a dealer – as you said a very rare 1958 Carrera 356. He went to auction with about 10 of his Porsches about two years later and he did pretty well [and] he got $22 million for the 10 cars,” Connolly said.
The Carrera 356 was bought for about $2 million by Fica Frio, a company based in the Channel Islands.
The trouble came however when they on-sold it to an Englishman who recognised the car as a fake.
“Fica Frio is suing Jerry, and Jerry – it was announced today – is suing the dealer who sold it to him,” Connolly said.
“It’s a lawyers’ plum pudding. It’s fantastic for them, not much for anyone else.”
Considering that it took years and many sets of eyes before it was declared a fake, just how hard is it to identify a phony car?
“It’s extraordinarily hard because even at the Porsche factory if you call up, there might be three records on it,” Connolly explained.
“Secondly, the quality of counterfeit cars and what they can do is quite extraordinary. There’s only probably 10 or 12 people in the world that could have picked up the flaws in this car,” he said.
The payoff for fraudsters also means there’s no short supply of fake cars hitting the market.
“When some of these cars go for $20 or $30 million… there’s a real incentive to doctor one,” Connolly said. “You can build these things for about $20- 30,000 [in Thailand] and you can sell them for $100-200,000 in the US or the UK.”
While picking a fake might be tough, the story is sure to have buyers of vintage cars looking under the hood tonight.