UPDATE: In an extremely unlikely and bewildering turn of events, this 1939 Porsche Type 64 failed to sell at auction. According to a report from Bloomberg and the video you see just below, a great deal of confusion surrounded the car and crowd on Saturday, August 17, as it sounded like the auctioneer mistakenly announced the car’s opening bid at $30 million, then called out a series of rapidly progressing bids that eventually hit $70 million. The crowd can be heard audibly gasping as the big screens on either side of the auction stage showed the rising price, which would have made the Type 64 the most expensive car ever sold at auction.
Except that was all wrong; bidding actually started at $13 million and ended in $17 million.
That high bid of $17 million apparently wasn’t high enough to hit the car’s reserve price, so it remains for sale. The original article continues below.
If you’re a die-hard Porsche fan of some means, you may want to start liquidating some assets, because one of the most significant cars in the brand’s history is going up for auction. It’s the 1939 Porsche Type 64, and that year is not a typo. This is a Porsche sports car from before the end of World War II and before the official formation of the Porsche car company after the war 70 years ago and the production of the 356.
The car has a truly fascinating history. According to RM Sotheby’s, Ferdinand Porsche and Volkswagen planned to build and race three Type 64s in a 1,500-kilometer race from Berlin to Rome in September 1939. It was based on the KdF-Wagen, the early version of the postwar Beetle, and used the same drivetrain, but the engine output was increased to 32 horsepower, and an aerodynamic, riveted aluminum body was fitted. Only one was built before the race was canceled because of the war, with the other two being spearheaded by Ferdinand’s son Ferry Porsche a little bit later. One of those was used as a personal car by the Porsches, and it was the only one to survive the war.
After the war, Ferry Porsche brought it with him to Austria when he started his eponymous sports car company, and he had it restored by Pinin Farina, the founder of the Pininfarina design house. The Type 64 was later sold to an Austrian racing driver who held onto it until his death in 1995. The car then went on to its third owner in 1997, and is now being offered for auction. It will cross the block at the Monterey, Calif., auction Aug. 15-17.