The formula couldn’t be more simple. Have car nut Jerry Seinfeld chose an old car, grab a comedian buddy and head to the coffee shop and talk about…well, anything. From the original show in July 2012, Seinfeld has produced more than 80 episodes. To coincide with Season 11 now showing on Netflix, we rate the coolest cars from each season of the series.
Season 1: 1952 VW Beetle
Getting Coffee With: Larry David
Seinfeld kicks off his very first episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with a couple of safe bets; longtime friend and Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David, and Jerry’s own immaculately restored, split-rear-window 1952 VW Bug. “If, like me, you feel true humility is in short supply, this car is for you,” says Seinfeld. The pair cruise—slowly—around Beverly Hills in the cobalt-blue Beetle, stopping briefly alongside a Bugatti Veyron parked outside the Bijan store on Rodeo Drive. “That car has 10 radiators. My car doesn’t have any.” Jerry is eager to demonstrate a couple of the Beetle’s quirky features; the “semaphore” turn signals and the snail-slow windscreen wipers. “It’s called a split-window because the rear window was made in two pieces to save money,” says Jerry. Discussing Seinfeld’s newly launched series, Larry David sums it up best: “You’ve finally made a show about nothing.”
Season 2: Paul Newman’s 1995 Volvo 960 Station Wagon
Getting Coffee With: David Letterman
From the outside, it looks like a regular 1995 Volvo 960 station wagon. Regent red. Black leather upholstery. Premium sound. But pop the hood and there, in all its glory, a 380 hp, supercharged Ford V-8 hooked-up to a Mustang five-speed stick-shift. And the best part? It was a gift from screen legend Paul Newman to his buddy, late-night host David Letterman. “I just love this car because of Paul Newman,” says Letterman. “He called me one day and says a guy is building me a Volvo with a racing engine. Would you like one? Yes, I would.” Jerry gets to drive the bad-ass Volvo, loading it up with groceries and soccer balls, and then proceeding to lose everything out of the back when he burns rubber in the store parking lot. Letterman’s best quip about the notoriously hot-running car? “It does smell like we’re seconds from incinerating something”.
Season 3 :1981 DeLorean DMC-12
Getting Coffee With: Patton Oswalt
Jerry went back to the future with stand-up comic Patton Oswalt, heading for coffee in LA behind the wheel of a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12. “The cars were built in Ireland with the assistance of Johnny Carson and Sammy Davis Jr., two celebrities. I don’t know why that didn’t work out,” quips Seinfeld. And things didn’t work out too well on the run for coffee; within 20 yards of picking up Oswalt—he was the voice of Remy in the Pixar film Ratatouille—the DeLorean spewed hot, lime-green coolant all over the road. Thankfully, the car had been supplied by specialists DeLorean Motor Company California in nearby Huntington Beach who were able to rush round a second DMC-12. “If you drive a DeLorean you’d better have a spare,” says Jerry.
Season 4: 1976 Ford LTD Country Squire Wagon
Getting Coffee With: Sarah Jessica Parker
“I don’t like this car. It’s big. It’s wasteful. It has stupid fake wood paneling on the side,” says Jerry. The car in question: a cherry red ’76 Ford LTD Country Squire Wagon owned by his guest, Sex in the City star Sarah Jessica Parker. “She just bought it and I don’t even know why. But I’m gonna find out.” Before the drive out to the Colony Diner in New York’s East Meadow, Parker explains: “I grew up in a car like this. I spent so much time in the back of that car. Smell it. A little bit of gas, which I love. So much space. I cannot believe we are in this car and it’s mine,” she gushes. Amazingly, sports car-loving Jerry eventually falls for the land yacht’s charms: “I have to say I kinda like driving this thing.”
Season 5: 1971 Ferrari Daytona 365 GTB/4
Getting Coffee With: Amy Schumer
Feisty stand-up comedian and actor Amy Schumer is initially in love with the Fly Yellow Ferrari. “This is the coolest,” she says on first seeing the rakish Italian prancing horse on the streets of Manhattan’s Upper West Side. But things take a turn for the worse as the Ferrari’s 352 hp, 4.4-liter V-12 develops a bad misfire. “This is like a horrible Mexican food digestion episode,” says a clearly irritated Jerry as the car belches smoke and holds-up traffic. As the misfire worsens, Schumer becomes increasingly concerned: “It’s comforting to know how I’m going to die,” says Schumer clutching her seatbelt like Rosary beads. “I really, seriously, don’t know if we’re going to make it,” adds Jerry. “But we don’t cancel shows. We do the show and if things go wrong, that’s just the way it is.” The car makes it, but owners Janet and Steve Cohen could not have been too happy with Seinfeld’s parting comment about their $700,000 pride and joy: “The car is such a piece of s…”.
Season 6: 1976 Lamborghini Countach LP400
Getting Coffee With: Jim Carrey
The laughs start the moment Ace Ventura star Jim Carrey threads his gangly limbs through those scissor doors and into the cockpit of this stunning Tahitian-blue ’76 Countach LP400 flying wedge. Destination? The Killer Cafe in LA’s Marina Del Ray. “Does it have A/C?” asks Carrey. “It does. But it’s kinda like an Alaskan husky breathing on you,” replies Jerry. The Lambo was on loan from the Shammas Collection in LA and spectacularly restored. As an LP400, it came with a 370 hp, 3.9-liter, quad-cam 12-cylinder capable of pushing this Italian “raging bull” to a top speed of 180 mph. “It feels like we’re in a Bond movie,” says Carrey. Designed by Bertone as a successor to the iconic Miura, the Countach was arguably the world’s first true supercar. “I love the short, sharp front end. It’s like a little knife blade going through the air,” adds Seinfeld.
Season 7: 1963 ‘Split Window’ Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Getting Coffee With: President Barack Obama
This is the epic episode where Jerry cruises this icy-blue ’63 Corvette down Pennsylvania Avenue and right into the gates of the White House to grab coffee with then Commander-in-Chief, President Barack Obama. Introducing the ’63, Jerry says: “Are there faster Corvettes? Yes. Are there bigger-engined, tire-melting Corvettes? Of course. Are there cooler Corvettes? I don’t think so.” Seinfeld and the President go cruising around the White House grounds, but any attempts to exit are thwarted by unamused security staff. But in an usual twist for the show, the guest gets to climb behind the wheel and, in the case of the president, do a burn-out in front of the West Wing. “Watch out people,” shouts Obama. One cute touch is the bumper sticker on the back of the ‘Vette: “My Other Car Is A 5 Ton Bulletproof Limousine.”
Season 8: 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
Getting Coffee With: Lorne Michaels
“It’s tailored. It’s timeless. It’s enduring,” is how Jerry describes the gorgeous, ivory white 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing. It’s also how he describes his copilot for a cruise through Manhattan, the iconic executive producer and creator of TV’s Saturday Night Live, Lorne Michaels. The immaculately restored Gullwing, number 223 of 1,400, was on loan from retired health care exec Sandy Hillback and is a regular on the concours circuit. “The thing about this car is the sophistication, the light weight, the aerodynamics, the engine. It all added up to one of the fastest cars of its time,” gushes Jerry. With a 3.0-liter inline-six engine—producing 240 hp—and a four-speed manual gearbox, it can run from zero to 60 mph in eight seconds and top out at 135 mph. “It’s a little tough to get in and out of,” adds Jerry while trying awkwardly to extract himself from the car.
Season 9: 1957 BMW 507 Roadster
Getting Coffee With: Christoph Waltz
For the Austrian actor Christoph Waltz—picked for his role in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds—Jerry chose an international eatery and an iconic, international sports car. The fine dining was courtesy of the International House of Pancakes in Torrance, Calif. And the car, a magnificent Papyrus-white 1957 BMW 507 Roadster. “They made 252 of these before they came to their senses and went; ‘We are losing our ass on this car!’ Here’s a car that shouldn’t even exist, yet here it is,” says Jerry. BMW hand-built this dashing two-seat hardtop roadster between 1956 and 1959—and lost money on every one. Today, they’re worth a fortune; a 507 driven by British racer John Surtees sold at auction last year for more than $5 million. Powered by a 150 hp, 3.2-liter V-8, it could hit 136 mph flat out.
Season 10: 1984 Ferrari 288 GTO
Getting Coffee With: Tracy Morgan
“GTO stands for Gran Turismo Omologata. What does that mean? It means that it’s fast,” says Jerry about the stunning 1984 Ferrari 288 GTO he’s driving to meet comedian Tracy Morgan. “Ferrari built it with Kevlar and carbon fiber and mounted it on a tubular chassis. You don’t know what I’m talking about. But trust me, it’s what you want.” This super-rare machine—one of just 272 built—was from the collection of leading 288 GTO authority Joe Sackey, who wrote a book about this 400 hp, mid-engined exotic. With Jerry picking up Morgan at his New Jersey mansion, we got a quick glimpse of the comedian’s own collection—Rolls-Royce Dawn, Ferrari 488, Bentley Mulsanne, Lamborghini Aventador. “That’s a machine” says the star of 30 Rock gazing at the red GTO. “Look at the hips on her.”
Season 11: 2004 Porsche Carrera GT
Getting Coffee With: Eddie Murphy
Jerry ships his own, much-loved liquid-silver 2004 Carrera GT out to Beverly Hills for a drive with the Trading Places funnyman. Describing the sound of the engine: “It’s like 10 mountain lions clearing their throats simultaneously. And then going; “Alright, let’s go kill something.” And when it comes to the price of owning a Carrera GT: “These cars cost a lot when they were new. They cost a lot to maintain. Is it worth it? Yeah, it’s worth it. Life’s a pain in the ass too. Is that worth it?” Jerry and Eddie cruise through Beverly Hills to the Rose Café in Venice. One highlight is when Jerry hits the throttle, letting the Porsche’s big 605 hp, 5.7-liter V-10 rip. “Easy, Jerry Seinfeld” says a nervous-looking Eddie Murphy.