Auctions and Brokerage
Please note that the sale of this vehicle, which is a non-drivable prototype, is subject to certain special terms and conditions described below
From the Jerry Seinfeld CollectionPorsche AG, Stuttgart, GermanyJerry Seinfeld (acquired from the above in January 2007)
Porsche introduced its fabulous Carrera GT to the world at the Louvre on September 28, 2000, to a general level of astonishment. This car threw down the gauntlet to Porsche’s competitors and firmly placed the German marque at the fore of competition-inspired supercar design and engineering.
The genesis of the Carrera GT was Porsche’s unrealized LMP 2000 project, which was started by Porsche Motorsport Chief Herbert Ampferer during Porsche’s one-year hiatus from the top level of sports car racing. Porsche’s intent was to develop an all-new machine that switched to normally aspirated power from the turbocharged engines that had been so successful in the GT1 category from 1995–98. The engine for the LMP 2000 was a development of the Type 3512 3.5-liter V-10 that Porsche had supplied to the Arrows Footwork F1 team; the engine was enlarged to 5.5 liters and utilized two gear-driven camshafts per cylinder bank. Most of the remaining drivetrain and suspension geometry was carried over from the proven GT1-98 and fitted to a new carbon fiber tub built in the UK by Lola Composites. Though initial testing results were positive, the program was not to be. Porsche chief Dr. Wendelin Wiedeking’s choice to halt the project in November 1999 was called a “business decision” and the company’s funds were instead spent on the development of the Cayenne SUV.
While Dr. Wiedeking did not initially support Porsche’s new race car program, he wasn’t blind to the competitive nature of the production car business, and when it became apparent that there would be a slate of new sports cars coming from rivals at Aston Martin and Mercedes-Benz, among others, Dr. Wiedeking took action. Porsche decided to build a top-line sports car, and its engineers were given no restrictions in its development as long as the vehicle demonstrated the design and engineering might that made Porsche such a fabled marque.
While no currently existing parts were mandated for use in the Carrera GT design, one of the first decisions made was to integrate the V-10 engine from the LMP 2000 car into the new model, a logical choice given that much of the competition department for Porsche was now working on the car’s development.
Two Carrera GT prototypes were built, both relying heavily on Porsche’s racing parts bin. Suspension components and the gearbox from the GT1-98 were mated to the V-10 engine and a space frame was built out of high-strength aluminum. Porsche installed 15" carbon ceramic brakes behind newly designed, center-lock, aluminum 19" and 20" wheels wearing 265 and 335 section-width Michelin Pilot Sport tires. Though intended solely as a concept car, Porsche wanted it to appear as production-ready as possible; therefore, power steering and ABS braking systems were adapted to fit.
The styling of Porsche’s new supercar was assigned to a team headed by Harm Lagaay. His task was made difficult by Porsche’s diverse offerings, which didn’t give a clear direction for the exterior design of such an important car – one that would be placed at the top of the model range. “Our brand is not identified by any distinct element such as a radiator grille,” he remarked at the time, “so its personality derives from the way we design the details and handle the surfaces.” Both Porsche’s newly opened Los Angeles-based US design studio and the German styling department were given two days to sketch concepts that would express the qualities necessary for the new Carrera GT. The winning design had to express the extreme aerodynamic and technical requirements of the project while looking as much like a member of the Porsche family as possible. The results can only be described in superlatives, and it is safe to say that the Carrera GT hasn’t aged a day in the 15 years since the design’s birth.
This Carrera GT Prototype is the only one of the two cars built that was assembled as a running automobile. The model’s debut in Paris was accompanied by a dynamic video featuring Porsche test driver and rally great Walter Röhrl driving the car at high speeds in the American Southwest’s desert.
The Prototype is very similar to, but equally different from, the resulting production Carrera GT, with which it shares almost no components. Close inspection shows the absolute bespoke nature of this incredible machine, with notable details at every turn both from the competition-derived construction and hand-built nature of the bodywork and interior. Technology abounds with a period state-of-the-art high-definition screen replacing standard instrumentation. From the machined billet aluminum projector-style headlights to the advanced center console, there is never any doubt that what you are looking at was carefully honed by highly skilled craftsmen.
Jerry Seinfeld, who was fortunate enough to purchase this piece of Porsche history directly from the company in January 2007, is the car’s sole private owner. Understanding the Prototype’s significance and admiring the unique story of its development, this car has remained on display with the rest of Mr. Seinfeld’s remarkable collection of vehicles.
Mr. Seinfeld recalls, “I was able to acquire this car with the help of Grant Larson, who poured his life into the design. This is the only existing prototype of the Carrera GT. Walter Röhrl drove it down the Champs-Élysées at 6 am on September 28, 2000, on his way to the Paris Auto Show. The ultimate tribute to one of the greatest Porsches ever.”
Importantly, before the car was sold to Mr. Seinfeld, Porsche removed the ECU from the Prototype’s engine-management system, and therefore the car has been, and remains, undrivable.
Please note that the buyer of this car must, as a condition of purchase, agree to certain special undertakings and other terms and conditions which include, among others, that the car may not be driven and that any future sale by such buyer is subject to a right of first refusal in favor of Porsche. Each bidder on this car is strongly encouraged before bidding to review these special terms and conditions, which are available from any Gooding sales specialist prior to or at the auction, or at the Gooding office at the auction.
Offered publicly for the first time from one of the world’s great Porsche collections, this Carrera GT Prototype not only represents historical evidence of the model’s debut, but remains, on its own, a remarkable creation designed and hand-built by one of the world’s greatest and most revered sports car manufacturers. An opportunity not to be missed, this important Porsche Prototype comes with our highest recommendations.