World's Only Surviving Porsche Type 64 Doesn't Sell After Auction Confusion

Daniel Fowler
August 19, 2019

It isn't clear if the owner of the Type 64 will put the auto up for sale at a future auction, though there's still a for sale ad on RM Sotherby's website meaning any interested buyers can still make an offer.

The auction was then cut off as no bids higher than $17 million were issued, and this hugely significant piece in automotive history failed to meet its reserve.

A 1939 Porsche Type 64, the oldest auto to wear a Porsche badge and the personal vehicle of German vehicle designer and manufacturer Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche on display during a press preview at Sotheby's auction house in London, May 21, 2019. Sotheby's said that the mix-up, whatever its reason, "was in no way intentional on behalf of anyone at RM Sotheby's, rather an unfortunate misunderstanding amplified by excitement in the room". The screen figure was dropped to $17 million but the audience had had enough, with many walking out. "They just lost so much credibility".

The vehicle is still listed as "for sale" in RM Sotheby's online catalog. "It has been passed around for years, and no one wants it".

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The Type 64 was far from the only rough sale during a weekend where gross totals through Friday were down about 25 per cent, or about US$50 million, from 2018, according to Hagerty.

Media reports, citing some attendees, state that the error was not actually technical but resulted from the auctioneer's Dutch accent which made "17 million" sound like "70 million" and confused the screen operator. Insiders at RM Sotheby's described the current market as "a bloodbath". It was never $30 million and it most certainly never was bidding up to $70 million. However, there is some dispute among experts as to whether the Type 64 is a true Porsche as it was built using Volkswagen parts.

Despite being touted as the "world's first Porsche, " strictly speaking the Type 64 isn't a Porsche; back in 1939 it was labelled as a "Volkswagen Sport" as its creator Ferdinand Porsche worked at Volkswagen at the time.

Though his cars would later become iconic, Ferdinand Porsche was an honored member of the Nazi party. What remains to be seen is what happens to the auto next-and how RM Sotheby's will recover from the debacle.

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