Jerry Seinfeld made a name for himself in the 1980s by becoming one of the more popular stand-up comedians on the circuit, making appearances on late night talk shows frequently. Toward the end of the decade, Seinfeld went the way of many other comedians and parlayed his success into a sitcom, working with friend Larry David to create “Seinfeld”.
The show aired on NBC for a decade and became one of the most popular shows in television history. Throughout the series, it was obvious that Seinfeld was a huge fan of Superman, but behind the scenes, he had another love that people have learned about over the years. It’s also become a very expensive hobby.
Due to the success of the syndication from his show, Seinfeld has been able to become one of the richest celebrities around. It’s estimated that his net worth is now well over $800 million, with some estimates saying that it’s over $900 million. Because of this, Seinfeld has been able to rack up quite the impressive car collection. One brand that Seinfeld loves in particular is Porsche, and he’s had more than 45 of them at one point.
In 2016, Seinfeld announced that he’d be selling three of the nicest Porsches from his collection, including a 550 Spyder, 911 Carrera and 356 A 1500. He said that “I’ve never bought a car as an investment. I don’t really even think of myself as a collector. 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.”
He might have parted ways with those vehicles, but the one that he held onto was his 1986 Porsche 959. The 959 first hit production in 1986, stopping in 1988 and then restarting for both 1992 and 1993. It was hard to get your hands on one, as there were only 345 of these rally cars produced. Porsche wanted to make sure that they made enough to make them street legal, needing to make at least 200.
When first released in 1986, the 959 was the fastest street legal production car, which was able to reach up to 197 miles per hour. Using a twin-turbocharged engine, it was able to hold up and is still considered one of the faster sports cars out there despite being over three decades old. Add in its rarity, and it’s no surprise that the asking price for the 959 higher than ever.
The rumors said that Seinfeld paid $700,000 at the time to acquire his beloved white 959 (there were four total color schemes made), and some estimate that he’d be able to sell the vehicle at auction for about $1.5 million, so you might want to brush up on your comedy script writing if you want to buy one. There aren’t many that go up for sale, especially from the original 1986 model year. Even if you wanted to get one back when it was released, it would have cost $225,000 (about $500,000 in today’s money). Many different car enthusiasts say that the 959 is the pinnacle of Porsche’s production cars. Even back when it was first released, writers were saying “There is no doubt that Porsche has produced the fastest and technically most advanced car yet offered for road use.”
The 3,200 pound 959 was all about performance and luxury, and although it certainly didn’t hold up as being “flashy,” it still holds its own in terms of driving ability. The six-speed manual transmission not only can get you to nearly 200 miles per hour, but it takes just 8.3 seconds to go from zero to 100 miles per hour, finishing the quarter mile in 12.5 seconds. It does this by using 444 horsepower and 370 lb-ft of torque, even registering an impressive zero to 60 time of just 3.7 seconds.
Fuel mileage wasn’t too much of a concern, so there wasn’t an official one released by Porsche back in the mid 1980s. It’s estimated, however, the 959 can reach about 19 miles per gallon on average, with around 15 miles per gallon in the city and 23 miles per gallon on the highways. For its time (and high performance), that’s another way that the 959 still holds up well today.
You’ll notice that the interior looks quite a bit different than the super-expensive cars of today. There aren’t touchscreens or monitors, and everything is on standard gauges instead of LED screens. It’s likely the least impressive part of the car, but was still great for the time and the main focus is still the performance, which includes utilizing the exterior to become more aerodynamic. Since it’s a rally car, this was very important and when you see all of it coming together, it just works.
Seinfeld himself has said it was the exterior and overall design that drew him to the 959 and other models made by Porsche. “This little car is the essence of sports car perfection,” he said. “There’s no stupid lines on a Porsche that don’t make sense,” comparing many of the other sports cars of today. Seinfeld doesn’t take the 959 out very often, as it depends on a few different factors. “The key to driving is having the right car on the road road on the right day and being in the right mood,” he said. “You have four elements that make a great drive.”