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The Value of a Name

by | April 2016

The auction craziness in Amelia with Jerry Seinfeld was interesting, and confusing, and it left me wondering what a name is worth. At the start of the “Seinfeld Collection” of Porsches, Jerry came out, said a few words, and confirmed if you bought one of his cars you could get your picture taken with him. The vast majority of his cars were exceptional, as good examples of their particular model as they get.

The fun started with an all-original 1966 911 with 18,000 miles. The car was a great example but in an un-popular color of sand beige. The color killed the car as if it was any other selection from the 1966 palette. My hand would have never stopped bidding! In the end this car sold for $275,000 and it was nothing short of the best-bought car of the weekend. And the buyer got his picture with it!

Then the stupidity entered the room. A 1989 speedster in white with semi-low miles hits $330,000! Folks, this car was bought by an idiot with way too much money! The vast majority of 1989 Speedsters have 5,000 miles and the cars on the market (yes, there are many comparable) range from $200,000 to $240,000 – exactly where Gooding’s final lot, another white 1989 Speedster – ended up. The buyer of this car paid $100,000 more for a picture and I’ll guarantee it hits the market in the next year, as he was a dealer.

The 1962 VW bug was another perplexing car at $120K. Low mileage, all original, and exceptional. I would love to say the guy who bought it was nuts but I can’t. This Bug was truly a unicorn amongst horses and they simply didn’t survive. When we got to the cars that cost real money (over $600,000) the Seinfeld name faded and it became all about the cars with a Porsche badge. When you’re buying a big car you need to do your homework, and the studious buyers showed up. The 550 was a great example with a strong ownership history, still with its original body as well as engine and transmission. A 550 was a purpose-built racing tool and only a handful survived the racing wars of the 50’s. I think this car sold for exactly what it should have.

When it came to photo time, some got a relatively free picture with Jerry and a few minutes of conversation. Others should have given $50,000 to Jerry’s favorite charity for the photo op and saved the other $50,000!

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