Seinfeld fans out there will know that today, December 23, is Festivus, the fictitious holiday created by George Costanza’s father, Frank (played by Jerry Stiller), after having had it once an for all with the stresses that come with the Christmas season. Being Festivus, I couldn’t think of a better day to embrace my inner George Costanza and pay homage to a very prominent car he drove. Though the “short, stocky, slow-witted, bald mad” George mostly drove conservative, nondescript cars such as the Buick Skylark, Buick Regal, Chevrolet Impala, and Mercury Mystique over the course of the series, at one point he did spring for a more head-turning choice.
Season 6’s “The Mom & Pop Store” begins with George at a used car lot, about to pull the trigger on an ’89 Volvo 240. But then used car salesman directs him to an ’83 Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country convertible (mistakenly referred to as an ’89 in this episode), telling him that the previous owner was Jon Voight. Relishing the thought of driving around in a car which he believes was previously owned by “Jon Voight”, the actor, George decides to go with the LeBaron instead.
After George buys the car, no sooner does Jerry go through the glovebox to find the owner’s manual with the previous owner’s name written as “John Voight”. While attending a party thrown by dentist friend Tim Whatley (played by Bryan Cranston), George finds out that the car indeed did not belong to “Jon Voight” the actor, but Whatley’s friend, “John Voight” the dentist. Regardless, George continues driving the “Jon Voight Car”, and frequently tells women that it used to belong to Jon Voight.
George can be seen driving the LeBaron for the remainder of Season 6 and the beginning of Season 7. Somewhat confusingly, different models are used that vary in color and model year. In Season 7’s “The Gum”, while visiting his parents, George lets “Pop”, an elderly neighbor who used to own a mechanic’s shop, tinker around under the hood. Little does he know that the man is now suffering from mental illness and has previously been institutionalized.
Later in this episode, the engine bursts into flames due to Pops’s tinkering. Due to an earlier event in this episode, the nearby florist’s hose has been turned off, and leaving George unable to put out the flames, fire consumes the “Jon Voight Car”, completely totaling it.
Come to think of it, isn’t it funny how in the 1983-1986 LeBaron Town & Country’s two most famous film and TV roles (the other being Planes, Trains and Automobiles), it gets destroyed by fire?
In any event, here’s to George Costanza and the “Jon Voight car”, the most infamous vehicle featured on Seinfeld. Whichever holidays you celebrate (or don’t), may the season be warm and bright, and may everyone have a Happy Festivus… For The Rest Of Us!
N.B. – All Seinfeld images used are screenshots I took. I do not own the rights to Seinfeld, created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, developed by NBC and Rick Ludwin, produced by West-Shapiro Productions and Castle Rock Entertainment, distributed by Columbia Pictures Television, Columbia TriStar Television, and Sony Pictures Television