A 1939 Porsche Typ 64 – the first car to wear the Porsche name – is offered at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2019 classic car auction.
RM Sotheby’s announced the first car ever to have worn the Porsche name for the Monterey 2019 sale in California in mid-August 2019. The Type 64 was one of three prototypes developed for the planned 1939 Berlin to Rome race and the only one to have survived. The Type 64 predates the first production Porsche — the 356 and was a forerunner of the 550 and ultimately 911. A result in excess of $20 million is expected.
RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2019 Sale
RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2019 classic car auction: 15 – 17 August 2019 with the first day dedicated to Aston Martin marque cars only.
At the 2018 Monterey auction, RM Sotheby’s earned $158 million by selling 124 of 150 lots (83%). The average sale price was $1,270,903.
At the 2017 auction, RM Sotheby’s earned $133 million with a sell-through rate of 88% and 32 cars sold for over a million dollar. RM Sotheby’s three-day Monterey 2016 auction remained the highest grossing classic car auction ever with $173 million earned and 35 million-dollar cars sold.
1939 Porsche Type 64
The Porsche Type 64 was born during the 1930s when the strive for technological advancement in motor car performance drove the motorsport industry in the 1920s and 1930s. The results was some of the most iconic race cars of all times with the cars and motor racing often serving as a source of national pride.
It was a road race that never took place that would give birth to the Type 64. The 1,500-kilometer Berlin-Rome race was set for September 1939 and would be used to promote Germany’s autobahn system as well as celebrate the launch of the KdF-Wagen production car.
In preparation for the race, the government-owned Volkswagen commissioned three special long-distance racing versions of the KdF-Wagen, known internally to Porsche and his engineers as the Type 64. Designed by the same engineers who would go on to create the 356, the cars were built at Reutter Works across the street from Zuffenhausen over 1939-1940, with lightweight aluminum bodies and the wheels fully covered in removable alloy panels. While the Type 64 shares the same drivetrain and suspension as the Type 1 Volkswagen, it is otherwise very different. The chassis and riveted alloy body utilize WWII aircraft technology, while the original air-cooled flat-four engine was tuned to 32 bhp.
Just as the first of the three cars was finished, and weeks before the Berlin-Rome race was set to start, war was officially declared and government interest turned to military vehicles, with the first Type 64 becoming property of the German labor front.
A young Ferry Porsche did not give up, and he moved forward with the two additional cars, which would serve as experimental test beds for Porsche as they developed their own production sports car, essentially making the Type 64 the missing link between Volkswagen and the Porsche 356. The second car was completed in December 1939 and the third, using the chassis of the first car, which had been damaged following an accident with the Managing Director of Volkswagen at the wheel, by June 1940. This third car will headline RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale, 15-17 August.
1939 Type 64 – the First Porsche
The third Type 64 was retained as a personal family car and driven extensively by Ferry and Ferdinand Porsche. When the company was forced to relocate headquarters to Gmünd, Austria from 1944-1948, it was kept alongside No. 2 at the family estate in the picturesque lakeside town of Zell-am-See. No. 3 was the only example to survive the war, and Ferry Porsche himself applied the raised letters spelling out ‘PORSCHE’ on the nose of the car when he had in registered in Austria under the new company name in 1946.
In 1947, restoration work was commissioned by Porsche and completed by a young Pinin Farina in Turin, Italy. Nearly one year later, Porsche demonstrated the Type 356 roadster, no. 1, on public roads in Innsbruck, with the Type 64 by its side. Austrian privateer driver Otto Mathé completed demo laps in the Type 64 and fell in love, buying it from Porsche the following year. He enjoyed a successful racing career with the car in the 1950s—the very first to do so in a Porsche product—and kept it for 46 years until his death in 1995.
In 1997, the Type 64 changed hands for just the second time in six decades and appeared at a handful of vintage racing events with its third owner, Dr. Thomas Gruber of Vienna, including Goodwood and the Austrian Ennstal Classic. Dr. Gruber is the author of the renowned Carrera RS book and one of the most respected Porsche specialists worldwide.
Delightfully patinated, the streamlined 1939 Porsche Type 64 is now offered in Monterey from the long-term care of just its fourth owner, who acquired the car more than a decade ago, and is accompanied by many original spare parts, as well as extensive period images and historic documentation. Perhaps the most significant surviving piece of Porsche engineering and design history, the Porsche Type 64 is estimated to bring in excess of $20,000,000 when it crosses RM Sotheby’s auction podium in Monterey.
“Without the Type 64, there would be no Porsche 356, no 550, no 911,” says Marcus Görig, Car Specialist, RM Sotheby’s. “This is Porsche’s origin story, the car that birthed the company’s legend, and it offers collectors what is likely an unrepeatable opportunity to sit in the seat of Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche. With this car, the new owner will not only be invited to the first row of every Porsche event worldwide—they will be the first row!”
Andy Prill, well-respected marque specialist who has recently inspected the Type 64, adds: “I’ve seen countless special Porsches in my career, but nothing like this. I was very careful in examining the authenticity of the Type 64, no. 3 and its chassis. After spending many days with the car, I have found evidence that all key components of the cars are original as built in 1939/1940. This is the most historically significant of all Porsche cars and it is simply incredible to find the very first Porsche in this original condition.”
The Most-Expensive Porsches Ever
If the 1939 Porsche Type 64 sells for over $20 million it will become the most-expensive Porsche ever sold at public auction. Only 49 cars have ever sold for more than $10 million and only 12 for more than $20 million.
The current Porsche marque record is $14,080,000 paid for a 1971 Porsche 917K at the 2017 Gooding Pebble Beach auction. The 917K was a fabulous racer but this car saw almost no actual racing – its price was mostly due to it being used in the filming of the Steve McQueen Le Mans movie.
The only other Porsche to ever have sold for more than $10 million was the 1983 Le Mans 24 Hours winning 1982 Porsche 956 in Rothmans livery that Gooding sold for $10,120,000 at the 2015 Pebble Beach sale.
The record for a German car at public auction is $29.65 paid for the 1954 Mercedes Benz W196R Formula 1 racing car sold by Bonhams at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2013.
Monterey Week 2019 Car Auctions News
Pre-Sale Auction Announcements:
- RM Sotheby’s: 1939 Porsche Type 64
- RM Sotheby’s: Works 1954 Maserati A6GCS
- RM Sotheby’s: 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta
- Gooding: 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France Berlinetta
- Bonhams: Classic Pre-War Bentleys