Historic 'Porsche' fails to sell amid auction blunder

Darnell Taylor
August 20, 2019

According to a media report, a Porsche Type 64, which is said to be the first auto with a Porsche badge, has failed to sell at an auction.

RM Sotheby's is the world's largest auction house for investment-quality automobiles. The auctioneer had an accent, he said, "and didn't say the teens well". Then $50 million, $60 million, and eventually $70 million - before surprisingly dropping to $17 million.

The auctioneer stopped the bid at US$17m and pointed out that the US$70m on the screen was a mistake.

The gaffe continued and a bid for $17 million was assumed as $70 million by the screen managers. With no further bids, the auctioneer put the hammer down at US$17m, failing to meet the undisclosed reserve price. The auto is listed as "Still for Sale" on the RM Sotheby's online auction catalog.

Chris Harris of the British series "Top Gear" fawned over the Porsche Type 64 during a recent test drive. Porsche AG wasn't even founded until 1948 - 10 years after this vehicle was built - so it surely isn't accurate to call it a true Porsche, the line of thinking goes.

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An RM Sotheby's spokesperson issued a statement to Bloomberg, saying: "As bidding opened on the Type 64, increments were mistakenly overheard and displayed on the screen, causing unfortunate confusion in the room". It was built using lightweight alloys to take part in the 1939 Berlin-Rome race that was scrapped due to the onset of the war. It featured a narrow two-seat cockpit, wheel spats front and rear, and a dual spare-wheel compartment under the front trunk lid.

Just 3 of the Porsche-designed Type 64s were planned for production and only one remains.

The first example, chassis no. 38/41, completed in August 1939 but it was damaged in an accident in the same year. However, only one of these cars survived World War II, which Ferry later used as his personal auto.

The vehicle was a brainchild of Ferdinand Porsche, an automotive engineer in Nazi Germany, who later went on to launch a company with his surname. However, it was later commandeered by members of the U.S. Seventh Army's "Rainbow" division and had its roof cut. However, the Type 64 is considered an ancestor of today's Porsche sports cars bearing "Porsche's DNA, " Porsche Museum spokesperson Astrid Böttinger said recently.

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