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Back in May 2008, Jerry Seinfeld narrowly dodged a potentially catastrophic accident when the brakes failed on his classic car.

According to East Hampton Town Police Chief Todd Sarris, the harrowing ordeal unfolded as Seinfeld noticed he’d lost the brakes in his 1967 Fiat. He attempted to halt the vintage car using the emergency brake but found it unresponsive. In a split-second decision, he expertly maneuvered the Fiat, averting a collision at an intersection with remarkable skill. The Fiat, however, rolled and landed belly up.

In reading about the accident, I was perplexed by the model name: a 1967 Fiat BTM. BTM? Huh? Well, it turns out that there isn’t a BTM in the 1967 Fiat lineup. At the time of the crash, commenters-at-large asserted that the Associated Press, which had originally published the story, penciled the model name down incorrectly. 

A red 1967 Fiat Dino parked in left front angle view
1967 Fiat Dino | Courtesy of Bring a Trailer

Allegedly, Seinfeld’s version was likely a 124 hardtop or Dino. Some speculate that if it was indeed a “BTM,” the name might have been given to a custom unit that Seinfeld had acquired. Perhaps the letters referred to the designer, Bertone, and the car’s home bases, Turin (Fiat) and Maranello (Ferrari). After all, the Fiat Dino had the same six-cylinder as the Ferrari Dino. The Fiat was decidedly less aesthetic.

A blue 1967 Fiat 124 hardtop coupe parked in almost full left profile view parked on gravel
1967 Fiat 124 | Courtesy of Bring a Trailer

Investigations later revealed the incident’s cause as mechanical failure, absolving Seinfeld of any liability. Remarkably, despite the gravity of the situation, Seinfeld emerged physically unscathed, returning to his East Hampton abode without requiring medical attention.

Jessica Seinfeld, his wife, recounted Jerry’s initial shock upon grasping the severity of the situation. True to his comedic nature, Jerry Seinfeld approached the accident with characteristic humor, advising against driving sans functioning brakes unless one possessed “professional clown training or a comedy background.”