It could become the most expensive Porsche to ever sell at auction.
What you're looking at here is the oldest surviving Porsche in history. It's a 1939 Porsche Type 64, a precursor to the 356 and the personal car of both Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche that was made nearly a decade before the Porsche car company was founded after World War II. And now "the most significant surviving piece of Porsche engineering and design history" is heading to auction.
The Porsche Type 64 has a fascinating history. Ferdinand Porsche wanted to make a lighter, faster version of the KdF-Wagen, the early version of the VW Beetle. The plan was to build three Type 64s for a 1,500-kilometer road race from Berlin to Rome in September of 1939. It had the same drivetrain as the KdF-Wagen, but the engine output was increased to 32 horsepower, and an aerodynamic, riveted aluminum body was fitted. When the first of the three cars was completed, the race was canceled due to the war and the car became the property of the German Labor Front.
Ferry went on to complete the remaining two cars, which were used as test beds for Porsche as they developed their own production car. Essentially, the Type 64 was the missing link between the Beetle and the 356. The second car was completed in 1939, followed by a third car in 1940 that was built out of the chassis of the first car after it was damaged in an accident with VW's Managing Director at the wheel.
The third Type 64 was used as a personal family car and driven extensively by Ferry and Ferdinand Porsche. When the company relocated to Gmund, Austria from 1944 to 1948, it was kept alongside the second car, but the third car is the only example that survived the war. 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, the car received a restoration by a young Pininfarina and was demonstrated next to the 356 on the public road by Porsche nearly a year later. The Type 64 was later sold to an Austrian racing driver who owned it until his death in 1995. After that, the car was bought by its third owner in 1997. Over 20 years later, the oldest surviving Porsche in the world is going under the hammer at RM Auctions' Monterey sale on August 15, where it's expected to fetch at least $20 million. If it does, it will become the most expensive Porsche to ever sell at auction, beating the 917K used in the film Le Mans that fetched $14 million in 2017.
"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!"