Adam Carolla Buys Paul Newman’s Porsche 935 for $4.4 Million

Newman famously drove the 1979 race car to a class win at Le Mans.

Adam Carolla’s passion for acquiring Paul Newman’s cars hit a new level last week during Monterey’s Car Week, when he dropped $4.4 million on the 1979 Porsche 935 Newman drove in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“I bought, in my mind, the Holy Grail of cars,” Carolla told listeners of his The Adam Carolla Show podcast. But his winning bid nearly didn’t happen. More on that in a second, though. First, a little backstory about this iconic 935.

Newman, with co-drivers Dick Barbour and Rolf Stommelen, ripped the 935 in question to a class win and second-place-overall finish at Le Mans in 1979. The car also campaigned in 71 other races, including a win at the 1981 24 Hours of Daytona and the 1983 12 Hours of Sebring. It’s also the first (and only, so far) Apple car, since Apple Computer festooned it in racing livery in 1980. That wasn’t the most successful season for a previously podium-worthy vehicle, though, which may explain why Steve Jobs yanked the logos off the 800-horsepower, turbocharged flat-six car.

Before heading to Monterey to be sold by Gooding & Co., it was returned to Le Mans spec, which meant a Hawaiian Tropic livery. A $4 million estimated price tag was conservative, and Carolla went to the auction not even thinking he’d bid, as he proclaimed that kind of money to be out of his league. However, Carolla also reckoned that a car with this level of provenance wouldn’t see an auction block ever again. With those two conflicting points bouncing around in his head, he jumped into the bidding fray.

After submitting a bid of $4.4 mil, a phone bidder came in at $4.5, though it turned out the phone bid was mistakenly applied and thus discounted. That left Carolla as the winner of one of the finest Newman race cars ever. Tack on the 10 percent buyer's premium ($440,000) and it was quite an expensive day for Carolla. He (perhaps) joked he’d have to liquidate some of his crop of 40-plus cars, maybe even his Lamborghini Miura SV, in order to bring home the Porsche—but it would still be worth it.

And the 935 will see track time under Carolla. He’s pledged to drive it at Laguna Seca’s Rolex Historics Race next year.

Check out the Porsche 935 in action in the below video from Gooding & Co.