Oldest Surviving Porsche Goes Up for Auction for US$20m

Now you can be the owner of the oldest Porsche for US$20m. In the coming August, a 1939 Porsche Type 64 will go up for auction at RM Sotheby’s and it is believed to be the only surviving one of three examples completed.

While the 356 is widely known as the first Porsche, this 1939 Porsche Type 64 even predated the first Porsche 356 by nearly a decade. This car tells the story of Porsche’s origin and the birth of the company’s legend. “Without the Type 64, there would be no Porsche 356, no 550, no 911,” RM Sotheby’s Car Specialist Marcus Görig says.

Back in September 1938, a decade before the birth of the first Porsche 356, Ferdinand Porsche was a leading engineer of the early state-run Volkswagen. He proposed a sports car version of the Beetle, then known as the KdF-Wagen. Though Porsche’s idea was rejected by the Deutsche Arbeitsfront board, it made an impression on Volkswagen, which commissioned Porsche to formulate a similar solution. Porsche designed the 60K10, the tenth different body design applied to the KdF’s Type 60 chassis, and the design is internally classified as the Type 64.

Type 64 was designed for a 1,500km Berlin-to-Rome road rally which was planned to take place in September 1939. It featured a narrow two-seat cockpit, wheel spats front and rear, and a dual spare-wheel compartment under the front trunk lid. The Type 64 was fitted with streamlined aluminum body panels and a 32-hp flat-four.

The first example, chassis no. 38/41, completed in August 1939 but it was damaged in an accident in the same year. As World War II broke out, the September 1939 race was cancelled, and government interest turned to producing military vehicles. Despite the race’s cancellation, Ferdinand Porsche’s son, Ferry Porsche, proposed that the company continue building the second and third cars for testing and experimentation purposes.

The second of the proposed three examples was completed three months later. However, it was later commandeered by members of the U.S. Seventh Army’s “Rainbow” division and had its roof cut. The car’s remains were used as a basis for a re-creation in 2011.

The body of the third model was completed in June 1940 but not mounted on any chassis until after the accident in the first car. This 38/41 would become the sole surviving example of the three planned cars that still lives on today.

In 1949, Porsche sold the Type 64 to Otto Mathé, a well-known Austrian private racing driver and lubricant producer. Despite several attempts by the increasingly successful Porsche company to buy the Type 64 back for heritage purposes, Mathé could never be tempted to sell the car.

In 1995, after 46 years of ownership, the stalwart competitor Mathé passed away. The Type 64 had a new owner, Thomas Gruber of Vienna. It had been kept in his good hands until he sold it to the current owner in 2008. The car still has the well-preserved interior together with the original engine, no. 38/43.

World’s most expensive car ever auctioned – a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

This oldest surviving Porsche will be up for auction at RM Sotheby’s in Monterey and is expected to fetch more than US$20m. The current auction record for the world’s most expensive car is a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, which was sold for US$48.4m at RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale last August.

1939 Porsche Type 64

Auction house: RM Sotheby's
Sale: Monterey 2019
Sale date: 2019/8/17

Lot no.: 362
Estimate: expected to fetch in excess of US$20,000,000