There are special cars and then there’s something like this: the 1939 Porsche Type 64, the oldest car to wear the company’s name and personal vehicle of both Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche.
This is the most historically significant of all cars Porsche has ever made and is now heading to RM Auctions’ Monterey sale, set to take place on August 15.
Ferdinand Porsche wanted to make a lighter, faster version of the KdF-Wagen, the original version of the VW Beetle. The Berlin-Rome road race that was set to take place in September 1939 but never did is the reason behind the Type 64’s existence.
VW had commissioned three special long-distance race versions of the KdF-Wagen to the same design team that would go on and create the Porsche 356. The three cars were built at Reutter Works across the street from Zuffenhausen.
The Type 64 may use the same powertrain and suspension with the original VW Type 1 but it’s very different in every other area; the chassis and riveted alloy body use WWII aircraft technology and the air-cooled engine was tuned to produce 32hp. When the first of the three cars was completed, war was officially declared and it became property of the German Labor Front.
Young Ferry Porsche didn’t give up however and he went on with completing the remaining two cars, using them as test beds for Porsche, turning the Type 64 as the missing link between the Beetle and the 356.
The third Type 64 was created out of the chassis of the first car after it was damaged in an accident with VW’s Managing Director at the wheel in June 1940. It was used as a family car and was extensively driven by both Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche. When the company relocated to Gmund, Austria from 1944 to 1948, it was kept alongside the second car but No.3 is the only example that survived the war.
Ferry Porsche himself applied the raised letters spelling ‘PORSCHE’ up front when he registered the car in Austria. In 1947, the car was restored by a young Pinin Farina and nearly one year later, the refreshed Type 64 was on display next to the then-new Porsche 356.
“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!”
This is it then, the answer to the biggest Porsche collectors’ desire across the world. And that’s why it will sell for a gazillion dollars.