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Unique Porsche predecessor in 1939 fails to sell after auction lace



A 1930s bulbous race car expected to be the most expensive car with the Porsche name ever sold at auction. But the sale was ruined by a confusing mix at the auction stage.

Technically, the Type 64 is not really a Porsche because the company did not yet exist when Ferdinand Porsche created the car in Nazi Germany. But the role of ancestor of today's Porsche sports cars is clear, and it was expected to sell Saturday for as much as $ 20 million.

  The oldest car to use the Porsche brand goes on display at Sotheby's May 21, 2019 in London, England. The only surviving Porsche Type 64 Berlin-Rome, No. 3, this rare piece of motorsport history was the passenger car of Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche, which preceded the first production Porsche, the 356th (Credit: Tristan Fewings / Getty Images for Sothebys) [19659005] The oldest car to use the Porsche brand is on display at Sotheby's May 21, 2019 in London, England. The only surviving Porsche Type 64 Berlin-Rome, No. 3, this rare piece of motorsport history was the passenger car of Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche, which preceded the first production Porsche, the 356th (Credit: Tristan Fewings / Getty Images for Sothebys) [19659006] The oldest car to use the Porsche brand is displayed at Sotheby's May 21, 2019 in London, England. The only surviving Porsche Type 64 Berlin-Rome, No. 3, this rare piece of motorsport history was the passenger car of Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche, which preceded the first production Porsche, the 356th (Credit: Tristan Fewings / Getty Images for Sothebys) [19659007] 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. This figure, called the reserve price, was not reached. </p>
<p>  The problem started at RM Sotheby's Monterey auction as soon as the Type 64 bid started. </p>
<p>  In videos posted online of the event, the auctioneer called for an opening bid of $ 13 million, but the big screen showing the current bid price showed $ 30 million. </p><div><script async src=

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 have it fixed.

  The oldest car that wore the Porsche badge is on display at Sotheby's May 21, 2019 in London, England. The only surviving Porsche Type 64 Berlin-Rome, No. 3, this rare piece of motorsport history was the passenger car of Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche, which preceded the first production Porsche, the 356th (Credit: Tristan Fewings / Getty Images for Sothebys) [19659012] The oldest car to use the Porsche brand goes on display at Sotheby's May 21, 2019 in London, England. The only surviving Porsche Type 64 Berlin-Rome, No. 3, this rare piece of motorsport history was the passenger car of Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche, which preceded the first production Porsche, the 356th (Credit: Tristan Fewings / Getty Images for Sothebys) [19659013] The oldest car to use the Porsche brand goes on display at Sotheby's May 21, 2019 in London, England. The only surviving Porsche Type 64 Berlin-Rome, No. 3, this rare piece of motorsport history was the passenger car of Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche, which preceded the first production Porsche, the 356th (Credit: Tristan Fewings / Getty Images for Sothebys) [19659007] Some in the audience asked when the price was corrected. After that, the bids stopped and sales were hammered to the tune of $ 17 million dollars. </p>
<p>  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. "</p>
<p>  If the car had been allowed to sell for $ 17 million, it would have been the highest price ever paid for a car with the Porsche name. Had it sold for $ 70 million and the price was incorrectly displayed on screen, it would have been the most valuable car of any kind ever sold at a large margin auction. </p>
<p>  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. </p>
<p>  "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, "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. </p>
<p>  Type 64 was based on one of Ferdinand Porsche's previous designs, KdF-Wagen. Kraft-durch-Freude-Wagen (which translates to "strength through sliding car") was supposed to be a cheap car for German families, something the Nazi government could celebrate as an achievement for the people. It never went into large scale production during the Nazi era, but after the war it would become known as the Volkswagen Beetle. </p>
<p>  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. </p>
<p>  The first Type 64 was built to compete in a road race Berlin to Rome scheduled for September 1939. The chassis and engine were borrowed from the 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. </p>
<p>  1. In September 1939, the German armed forces invaded Poland and triggered 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 by this time, but a second was completed later. </p><div><script async src=

The one sold in Monterey was technically the third car, but it was built on the frame of the first after being 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.

RM Sothebys said on Sunday that it is continuing to try to close a sale on the car.

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