But the California auction, with bids going as high as $ 17 million, ended up leaving the car unsold. Auction sellers often have an unknown minimum price below which the car will not be sold. Apparently, this figure, called the reserve price, was not reached.
The problem started at RM Sotheby's Monterey auction as soon as Type 64 bidding started.
Many in the audience gasped and others laughed. It was unclear from the auctioneer's voice that he actually said "-teen" and not "-ty." The problem even continued to $ 14 million, which was shown as $ 40 million, when $ 15 million was shown on the screen as $ 50 million. The board read $ 70 million before the auctioneer realized the problems right behind him and asked to be corrected.
Someone in the audience bid when the price was corrected. After that, the bids stopped and sales were hammered to the tune of $ 17 million dollars.
It was an honest mistake, RM Sotheby's said in a statement, and it was not staged. "We are proud to conduct our world-class auctions with integrity and take our responsibility to our clients very seriously. This was by no means a joke or stunt on behalf of anyone at RM Sotheby's, rather an unfortunate misunderstanding compounded by excitement in space. "
Type 64 is somewhat similar to a children's camp model of a modern Porsche. It was Ferdinand Porsche's early attempt to design a sports car with the engine in the back. This was the same basic idea that the Porsche car company would use in its first car, 356, and later in 911.
"If you put someone with good knowledge of cars in front of that car and asked what it was, they will probably say 39; Porsche & # 39; because it's really quite obvious, "said Leslie Kendall, curator at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, in the weeks leading up to the auction.
Porsche saw the potential for a racing car based on the KdF-Wagens rear-motorized design. Having the engine in the back emphasized the wheels that drove the car, helped with traction on slippery roads and while accelerating. In the hands of a skilled driver, a rear-motorized car can also take tight turns without the weight of a front engine pulling the car's nose outward. Of course, it tended to pull its tail out and could make the car spin around, one of the inherent dangers of this type of design.
The first Type 64 was built to compete in a road race from Berlin to Rome scheduled in September 1939. The chassis and engine were borrowed from KdF-Wagen, but the engine was slightly altered, increasing the power to 32 horsepower. It was a respectable figure for a car with its size and weight at that time. Aircraft construction technologies were used to create the light alloy body.
1. September 1939, German armed forces invaded Poland, provoking World War II. The Berlin-Rome race never happened. The factories that were supposed to have built KdF-Wagens for German families were given over to produce Porsche-designed military vehicles instead. Only a Type 64 had been built at this time, but a second was completed later.
The one sold in Monterey was technically the third car, but it was built on the frame of the first after it was crashed by a Nazi Volkswagen executive. The second Type 64 was confiscated by Allied forces after the war and crashed shortly after. It was later rebuilt and is now on display at a museum in Hamburg, Germany, after spending some time at the Petersen Museum.
The Porsche family got to keep this special Type 64, and it was much driven by both Ferdinand and his son Ferry, who would later create 356. Ferry used the family name at the front of the car. In 1947, this Type 64 was restored by Turin, Italy, a car design and production company known today as Pininfarina.