But the auction in California, with bids that reached $ 17 million, ended, leaving the car unsold. Auction sellers often have an undisclosed minimum price below which the car will not be sold. This figure, called the reserve price, has not been reached.
The issue started at RM Sotheby's Monterey's auction as soon as the Type 64 bid began.
Many in the audience gasped and others laughed. It was not clear from the salesman's voice that he was in fact saying "eleven", not "-th". The problem went right over $ 14 million, which was shown as $ 40 million, then $ 15 million was shown on the screen as $ 50 million. The board read $ 70 million before the trader realized the trouble just behind him and asked to be corrected.
Some of the audience erupted as the price was adjusted. The bids then stopped coming and the sale closed to close to $ 17 million.
This was an honest mistake, RM Sotheby's statement said and was not staged. "We take pride in conducting our world-class auctions with honesty and take our responsibility seriously to our customers. This was in no way a joke or stunt on behalf of anyone at RM Sotheby's, but rather a miserable misunderstanding. "
The Type 64 looks a bit like a children's clay model of a modern Porsche. It was Ferdinand Porsche's early attempt to design a rear-engined sports car. This was the same basic idea that the Porsche car company would use in its first car – 356, and later in 911.
"If you put in front of this car someone who knew the cars and ask them what it is, they would probably say Porsche because it's really pretty obvious, "says Leslie Kendall, curator at the Petersen Automobile Museum in Los Angeles, in the weeks leading up to the auction.
Porsche sees the potential for a race car based on the KdF-Wagen rear engine design. The engine at the rear put weight on the wheels that propelled the car, assisting in traction when moving on slippery roads and while accelerating. In the hands of a skilled driver, a rear-engined car can also take tight turns without the weight of the engine in front pulling the car's nose out. Of course, it tends to pull the tail out and can make the car spin around, one of the inherent dangers of this type of design.
The first Type 64 was built to compete in the Berlin-Rome road race, scheduled for September 1939. The chassis and engine were borrowed from KdF-Wagen, but the engine has been modified slightly, increasing its power to 32 horsepower. It was a respectable figure for a car of its size and weight at the time. Aircraft design technologies have been used to make light alloy housing.
On September 1, 1939, the German Armed Forces invaded Poland, igniting World War II. The Berlin-Rome race has never happened. The factories that were to build KdF-Wagens for German families were outsourced to the production of military vehicles designed by Porsche. Only one type 64 has been built so far, but a second one was completed later.
The one sold in Monterey was technically the third car, but it was built on the frame of the first after it was crashed by a Volkswagen CEO from the Nazi era. The second Type 64 was confiscated by Allied forces after the war and crashed shortly thereafter. It was later restored and is now on display at a museum in Hamburg, Germany, after spending some time at the Petersen Museum.
The Porsche family was allowed to store this particular type 64 and it was run by much of Ferdinand and his son Ferry, who would later create 356. Ferry applied the surname to the front of the car. In 1947, this type 64 was rebuilt by Turin, Italy, a car design and production company known today as Pininfarina.
RM Sotheby & # 39; s said on Sunday that it was still trying to close the sale of the car.