“Each one of these cars is a pinnacle of mechanical culture to me,” Seinfeld said in a statement from Gooding & Co., which is managing the sale. He compared a 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder to an artistic masterpiece (“You can’t drive a sonnet by Shakespeare or a symphony by Beethoven, but this would be the automotive equivalent”) and lauded a 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 IROC RSR as indestructible (“The sound will make your life”).
Less expected—and more interesting—Seinfeld is selling a few non-Porsches1 at Amelia, too.
A 1964 Volkswagen Camper is expected to take $80,000 to $100,000 when it hits the block. First discovered in Texas, it may be one the finest unrestored specimens of the van around. Each component, from the “piano-hinge” flip-out windows to the full kitchen and dinette inside, is completely original; total usage is less than 19,000 miles.
“When my kids were little we would drive around in the bus every Sunday to get bagels and lox,” Seinfeld said. “We got busted by the cops with it for putting up an illegal lemonade stand this past summer in the Hamptons.”
The smooth ivory van has a 1,493–cubic centimeter flat four-cylinder engine with a four-speed manual transmission. It gets 51 horsepower at 4,000 rpm.
Next in the lot order is a 1958 Porsche 597 Jagdwagen. What? We said no Porsches. But look—you could win a lot of money taking bets from strangers on that fact. In other words, this isn’t one of Seinfeld’s sports cars. The olive-green jalopy was made after the end of World War II, when Germany was forced to become heavily demilitarized but remain an active member of NATO. The national army needed some sort of transport. Companies including Borgward and Auto Union submitted proposals to make one; so did Porsche, with its Type 597 four-wheel drive and monocoque steel rig. Ultimately, Auto Union’s DKW Munga won the contract, so Porsche decided to sell the Type 597 to the public instead. It slapped on a new name, Jagdwagen (“Hunter’s Car” in German), and built 71 of them from 1955 to 1958.
Seinfeld’s $425,000 Jagdwagen is considered the best of the 15 remaining models, well-preserved largely because it lived for many years in sunny, rust-free Pasadena, Calif. The car comes with four-wheel drive and a five-speed manual transmission. The 50-horsepower, flat four-cylinder engine, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes, and single Solex carburetor, among other systems, are totally amphibious.
Finally, Seinfeld’s 1960 Volkswagen Beetle rounds out his non-Porsche offerings. (And yes, we realize all of these were made under the VW banner anyway. Just go with us on this.) The $55,000 car has a pebble-gray color—it comes off as a brilliant, stark white—as remarkable as its low mileage. Schoolteacher Ruth Lahey drove it less than 15,000 miles while she owned it for 30 years in South Dakota.
“I love the colors of this car, and the mileage is ridiculous,” Seinfeld said. “This is the last year of the classic 36-horsepower engine.”
The two-tone seats, carpeting, floor mats, rubber molding, and chrome are in mint condition, and the whole thing is completely unrestored. Seinfeld himself said selling it was probably “a mistake.”
The Amelia Island Auction takes place on March 11 outside Jacksonville, Fla.