• The New York Times Seinfeld Mystery

The New York Times Seinfeld Mystery
- image 241918

Give it to the New York Times. They’ve manage to ignore Hillary’s tax return questions for a decade, but they’re right there with the biggest mystery of our day:

What was Jerry Seinfeld driving when he wrecked two weeks ago.

The Times has devoted large space to the issue: Is it a Fiat or a Ferrari?

Here’s how the Journal of the politically weird got to this point:

The New York Times Seinfeld Mystery
- image 241919

Jerry Seinfeld was driving some sort of Italian antique about two weeks ago when he went into the ditch. This resulted in the police being called to report the accident. They, being individuals with some level of discretion, neither saw a reason to make a big deal out of a one car accident involving an old car nor to question Seinfeld’s explanation: the brakes failed.

But, enter the New York Times, the publication that prints everything it hopes people will believe.

(more after the jump)

It questioned Seinfeld’s story.

First, it questioned how the brakes could fail on a 1967 vintage vehicle.

Second, it couldn’t figure out what Seinfeld was driving.

That, in and of itself, was enough to create a story at the times. Bring in the investigative journalists. According to the times, a full thirty minutes of time on the internet could not surface another car meeting the police description of the one being driven by Seinfeld.

Now, for those not familiar with the man’s automotive preferences, Seinfeld is the reason that Porsche remains in business. OK, not really. But he’s sufficiently rabid about the brand to actually own a 959. He keeps it in a garage in downtown New York City.

Yes. You would be permitted to question the sanity of that. Building a garage for your cars in downtown New York City is not an exercise in economy. Reportedly, it’s adjacent to his townhouse and, unlike the townhouse, the garage has a sprinkler system installed at considerable expense.

Many publications have portrayed this as a sign of obsession. There are some of us, of course, who have comprehension. Having one’s priorities in line is a good thing. Kudos to Mr. Seinfeld.

In that garage is a 959 Porsche.

For those who are historically challenged, that was the first road supercar Porsche built. But, they were never willing to sacrifice the four of the few built to U.S. safety standards, so it’s essentially as illegal in the U.S. as Jack Kennedy’s father’s stash was during prohibition. The only way you can have one here is if you swear it is a museum piece for display only. If it ever hits the streets, the customs people will seize it and forfeit it.

Yes. The people that can’t catch an illegal immigrant are seriously watching Jerry Seinfeld to make sure he doesn’t let the tires of that 959 hit the streets of New York City.

So, Seinfeld has this multiple megabuck garage to house his Porsche collection, including one that he cannot drive.

Did I mention that he’s a Porsche nut?

He’s a Porsche nut?

He isn’t a Jay Leno, an eclectic collector of multiple brands and types. Leno, after all, actually enjoys driving his Stanley Steamer through Los Angeles. No, Seinfeld has but one car, one religion, one ultimate: Porsche.

Which is why it stuck everyone as a bit weird that he was reportedly driving an Italian crock when he crashed.

The best guess is that it was a Fiat Dino – a Fiat built with the same engine as the Ferrari Dino, a V-6, in the 1960’s, but with a top grade Fiat body. It’s a rare car, one pretty much ignored on the collector car market, but one that was – in it’s day – pretty hot. It is also an historical artifact. It was created right after Fiat bought an interest in Ferrari, and was one of the earliest results of that somewhat difficult union.

They didn’t sell very well, lacking a certain Italian sex appeal. But they were fast.

Still, the Times did ask a good question, even if it got its facts wrong.

The Times wants to know how Jerry’s brakes failed.

They did enough research to figure out that many Fiat models of the early sixties had dual braking systems, so that only two of four brakes could fail at a time.

But, trust the New York Times to miss the main point.

Much as they’ve loved Ralph Nader over the years, they managed to miss the fact that,

All 1967 model vehicles sold in the United States were required to have dual master cylinders, by federal law.

Shame on the Times: they’ve always loved federal laws regulating the car business.

So, why’d Seinfeld wreck?


Probably because he screwed up and overcooked. Might even have invented a story for the police. Or, he might have been telling the truth, provided that the Fiat of his is an earlier model.

But, with all that faces our nation, why does the New York Times find itself able to put such resources into the TA of a post-celebrity car collector?

Is it because it would rather not . . .

Well, you can fill in that blank for yourself.

Meantime, we’re wondering where Jerry gets replacement panels.

At least we’re confident that if they can be found, he can find them.

And, truth to tell, we actually remember the Fiat Dino of the day.

It was one of those ultimate sleepers.

And, as for the credibility of his explanation:


It was a Fiat. He was driving a Fiat. Anything can break on a Fiat.

He has to have been telling the truth, mostly.

But, driving a ‘60’s Fiat?

We just didn’t know the guy was suicidal.

Ralph Kalal
About the author
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: