RM Sotheby’s will sell the world’s oldest Porsche-badged car in Monterey
In 1939, the German government planned a 1,500km road race from Berlin to showcase both its Autobahn system and the new KdF-Wagen, a new ‘people’s car’ designed by Ferdinand Porsche for Volkswagen. Then state-owned, Volkswagen asked Porsche to create a special streamlined endurance version of the KdF-Wagen for the race. Three cars were commissioned and built at Reutter Works in Zuffenhausen by the same engineers who’d go on to construct the 356s. The Type 64s, as they were internally codenamed, featured lightweight aluminium bodies complete with removable alloy wheel spats, aerospace-inspired chassis, and tuned 32HP air-cooled flat-four engines. Alas, the outbreak of World War 2 intervened shortly after the first car was completed, abruptly halting further production.
Undeterred, the young Ferry Porsche pushed on with production in private, using the subsequent two cars as experimental prototypes for his family’s future sports cars. It’s the third Type 64 of the three produced that RM Sotheby’s has consigned to its Monterey sale in August. Completed before June of 1940 and utilising the chassis of the first car, which had been involved in an accident, No. 3 was kept by the Porsche family and regularly used by both Ferdinand and Ferry around their family estate in the Austrian lakeside town of Zell am See. The only Type 64 to survive the War, No. 3 was also used to promote the Type 356 Roadster No. 1 in 1948 and became the very first Porsche to race competitively, forging up a successful record in the 1950s in the hands of its second owner, who would keep the car for a remarkable 46 years.
Since 1997, No. 3 has changed hands just twice, meaning that whoever casts the winning bid in Monterey will become only the car’s fifth owner. Not only the missing link between Volkswagen and Porsche, this Type 64 – the oldest Porsche-badged car extant – paved the way for the 356, 550, 911, and myriad other automotive icons. Its significance is hard to underestimate, hence why RM expects it to garner ‘in excess of 20m dollars’ in August. For now, we’ll wait with bated breath.
Photos: RM Sotheby’s © 2019