So you want to own one of Jerry Seinfeld's Porsches. Well, now you can — 18 of them, in fact. The comedian is clearing out his well-curated garage by auctioning off some of his most lustworthy vehicles, including a 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder, a 1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster, and his 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 IROC RSR.
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"I've never bought a car as an investment," said Seinfeld. "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." Seinfeld might not need to worry about throwing a few million on cars, but most of us do. So is a comedy legend's vintage Porsche a good investment? "The Porsche market has seen one of the single greatest percentage increases in values in recent times," says Jonathan Klinger, vice president of public relations for Hagerty. "That is starting to level out, which we see as a good thing. They're not going down, the 20 to 30 percent year over year increase is starting to slow at a more attainable pace."
Estimates start at $1.2 million with the 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera, and top out at $6 million with the Spyder. But if you have that kind of cash and you're in the market for a vintage Porsche, is it still smart to buy one? "Celebrity provenance can impact the value of the car," Klinger says. "That's not a universal truth, but it can." However, it's not Seinfeld's celebrity that would impact the premium, but his status as a car expert. "The vehicles he would have in his collection, you could assume have been well-vetted vehicles in advance," Klinger says. In other words, you might end up paying a premium, but it depends on the car's history and the other bids. Klinger mentions these estimates serve as guides and that "it would be not surprising if the Seinfeld vehicles sold for a premium, but you can also assume that their presale estimates take that into account."
While you have a few months to binge on reruns of Seinfeld before you can get behind the wheel of one of these rare rides (they won't be available until March), there are a few important pieces of advice to consider. "Do your research, as much as you can, before you get to the auction," Klinger says. Klinger adds that with higher-profile auctions, it's easier to get access to information on the vehicles being sold, and you can ask the auction company for a catalogue and the vehicle identification number for the car you want to buy.
Aside from finding out the background of the vehicle, including getting all its documentation, Klinger explains there's another important part of the process. "Know what your spending limit is before you get there, and stick to it," he says. "And that sounds kind of silly but have it on your mind, 'This is what I'm willing to spend for this vehicle.' " Klinger says this is important because, when you're in an auction environment, the setting can make you bid higher than you intended to in the first place. He also advises to get in touch with experts of the vehicle. "If you're looking at a vintage Porsche — a 356 or a 911 — talk to a known restorer of those vehicles who could say, 'When you see this vehicle in person, look for this, this, and this.' They can give you tips on what to exactly look for." In addition to budgeting, Klinger says potential buyers should pay close attention to the bodywork of the car, if you're able to view the vehicle in person. It will save you from spending extra money restoring it after purchased. And if you do end up driving one of these off the lot, make sure, like any car purchase, to get a safety inspection and review its maintenance history.
When it comes to vintage cars, there is no sure bet that it will gain value. With that in mind, "Buy something because you love it," says Arlan Ettinger, president of Guernsey's Auction House. "People tend to buy things solely because they're good investments, [which] sometimes are not the wisest purchases. Buy something your gut tells you is wonderful. Sure, you should investigate the investment potential or the histories of cars like that one in terms of what were they worth five years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago. And see if it's on a good trajectory. But buy something with the feeling that you're going to love this thing.
"If all goes well, you'll pass it down to your children, but on the other hand if the time comes, sell it," Ettinger says. "You will have done well because it increased in value."
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Bids will start on March 11 at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation in Amelia Island, Florida.