SPORTS CAR CENTRE PRESENTS
Motoring news from around the world - April 2019
Jaguar’s new XE has a diesel that’s as clean as the petrol
Seinfeld now suing dealer which sold him a Porsche 356 Speedster GS/ST that may be fake
Renowned Porschephile Jerry Seinfeld is suing a California classic car dealer, arguing that the company has failed to verify the authenticity of a 1958 Porsche that he purchased from them in 2013 and sold three years later.
The firm that bought the car from Seinfeld, Fica Frio Limited, sued the comedian earlier this month, claiming that the 356 Speedster GS/ST is not an authentic GS/GT. It wants Seinfeld to refund the $1.5 million it paid for the car at a Gooding and Company auction in 2016 and other costs incurred in the purchase.
The legal tit-for-tat came after Seinfeld, who according to his lawsuit owns one of the world’s largest collections of Porsches, tried to sort out the car’s provenance. So far, no one has said for certain why the car in question should be considered a fake.
Seinfeld bought the Speedster from European Collectibles for $1.2 million. According to the Associated Press, Seinfeld says he relied upon the dealer’s certificate of authenticity verifying the car is indeed a Speedster GS/ST. He contacted the dealer after Fica Frio filed suit, hoping it would resolve the situation. But the company has so far refused to get involved, according to the suit, so Seinfeld sued to “reveal the extent to which European Collectibles deploys fraudulent practices in connection with its restoration and sale of classic cars.”
“Jerry has no liability in this matter, but he wants to do the right thing, and is therefore bringing this action to hold European Collectibles accountable for its own certification of authenticity, and to allow the court to determine the just outcome,” Seinfeld’s lawyer, Orin Snyder, said in a statement to the AP.
The nature of the car’s certification remains unclear. As we’ve reported, Porsche’s certification is less scrupulous and does not require meticulous inspection as is the case with, say, a Ferrari Red Book certification.
That said, Fica Frio could be in a difficult position, as auction agreements of the sort that Gooding and Company employ are often quite explicit in their terms and make it exceedingly difficult to reverse a sale if everyone involved in the sale acted in good faith. Seinfeld insists that he did.
“Mr. Seinfeld, who is a very successful comedian, does not need to supplement his income by building and selling counterfeit sports cars,” the lawsuit said, according to the AP.
Which side of the road is the “right” side?
Considering a trip to the UK to immerse yourself in the country’s long and prosperous automotive history? With all that the UK has to offer, you may wonder why the Brits insist on driving on the wrong side of the road—or the correct side, depending on your point of view.
Driving on the left—like they do in Great Britain, Ireland, and Scotland, and most British colonies—made sense hundreds of years ago. According to worldstandards.eu, swordsmen rode their horses on the left side in order to fend off adversaries with their right (usually-dominant) hand. That logic prevailed throughout Europe and into the New World.
The left-side tradition began to change in the U.S. in the late 1700s when farmers hauling heavy equipment behind a team of horses would sit behind the left rear horse so they could lash the entire team with their right hand. To better see oncoming traffic, the driver would move the wagon from the left side of the road to the right, and before long, single riders followed suit.
The first law mandating which side of the road was the “correct” side may have been instituted by Russian Empress Elizabeth (Elizaveta Petrovna), who in 1752 declared that riders should travel on the right. In Europe, the French Revolution also impassioned this “right” way of thinking. Traditionally, French aristocracy stayed to the left—forcing peasants to the right—but after the revolution broke out in 1789, the nobility wisely thought it prudent to blend in, and that meant sticking to the right side with the peasants. Right-hand travel became a law in 1794.
Most of Europe (and the rest of the world) came to the same conclusion when picking a side—some much later than others. For example, in the 1950s and ’60s, Sweden relied mostly on left-hand-drive American vehicles, which made driving on the left side of the road difficult since drivers were closer to the shoulder than they were to oncoming traffic. That made negotiating tight squeezes problematic. In the name of safely, and to be consistent with their Scandinavian neighbors, in 1967 Sweden made the switch from driving on the left to driving on the right.
The Swedish word for “right traffic” is “Högertrafik,” and September 3, 1967—the date of the changeover—is remembered as Dagen H (H Day). More than 350,000 road signs were changed during the night, and an additional 130,000 signs were posted to remind drivers that the law was about to take effect. That morning, all non-essential traffic was banned while crews busily reconfigured intersections. The driving ban lasted just a few hours in some areas, but in larger metro areas it dragged well into the next day.
When drivers were ultimately given the green light, there was still some confusion, but overall it went better than expected. Only 157 minor accidents were reported, resulting in 32 personal injuries and zero deaths.
Today, 65 percent of the world’s population drives on the right side of the road, which is an amazing statistic since that means 35 percent of the world drives on the left—a much higher percentage than most Americans would guess. Notable left-hand-drive nations include Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, and Japan. You can check out the complete list here.
So which side is the “right” side? As the saying goes, “When in Rome…” For the record, the rest that sentence is: “drive on the right”— Italy sides with the majority.
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