A Botched Auction, Controversy, and Why Porsche Should Buy the Type 64

After the big publicity push behind the auction of the “first” Porsche ever built, the Type 64, slated for this past weekend in Pebble Beach, the auction turned into a nightmare for auctioneers RM Sotheby. With a reserve that many thought was $30 million, the auction was started at $10 million. It quickly escalated to $70 million. No, wait! The reserve was actually $13 million and the highest bid was quickly adjusted to $17 million because of misinterpreting 13 for 30 and 17 for 70. Got it? Yeah, we know. 

There were gasps and booing from attendees. Many walked out of the auction, and no official word came forward explaining what happened until the next day. Failing the reserve it was a “no-sale.” As auctions go this was an embarrassment for RM Sotheby. But this just continues the strange events that keep following the Type 64 since its inception.

It was designed and built by Ferdinand Porsche from early Volkswagen KdF-wagen bones for a Berlin to Rome race in 1939. The race never happened because Hitler invaded Poland, so it never fulfilled its intended purpose.  A total of three were built, with two still in existence including the auction subject.

Because this was 10 years before Porsche AG came into existence, its Nazi ties, and who knows what other reasons there might be, Porsche has distanced itself from the car. Why?

We won’t speak to the Nazi ties but the Type 64 was built by the founder of the company and draws a direct line between the Volkswagen, which Ferdinand also designed, to the first Porsche car which also shared lots of Volkswagen components. You can see a lot of the 1948 Type 356 in the Type 64. 

It was used by the Porsche family and Ferdinand’s son Ferry brought the car with him to Austria before starting Porsche AG. It was restored in 1949. From there it was sold to an Austrian race car driver who raced it throughout the 1950s. It participated in the Monterey Historic Races in 1982. 

Porsche should just buy it.

In 2017 Porsche AG made $27 billion before taxes. That’s almost $15 million a day. Let’s do the math. $30 million is two days of Porsche profit. Two days’ profit for Porsche to own a racecar handbuilt by its founder that directly ties to the first product the company made. 

Maybe Porsche intended to bid all along, or had a proxy bidder. If so, maybe Porsche was meant to have it. Maybe not.

This car represents the origins of one of the most respected and successful German companies from out of the ruins of that horrid time in the history of the world–especially Germany’s. It displays Germany’s excellence in engineering, design, and craftsmanship, and was a pursuit ultimately laying the foundation for the Porsche AG company. So just buy it already, Porsche.