Porsche might be among the handful of manufacturers that speaks fluent heritage. It is lauded for the history it enjoys, and for all the right reasons indeed. Being a millennial I might not have witnessed a lot of the aforementioned heritage, but since the time I became a petrolhead, this is the first time I am coming across such a beaut.
In case you might not have guessed, this is an old Porsche. Not just an old one, but the oldest. Surprisingly, this moniker predated the company a decade before. How? Allow us to explain.
The car you see here is one out of the only three Type 64 that was ever produced. It was purposefully designed by Ferdinand Porsche for a 1500-kilometre race between Berlin and Rome planned for September 1939. The car was based on the Porsche –designed Volkswagen Beetle which was then known as the KdF Wagen back then. It boasted streamlined aluminium body panels and was powered by a hotter 32-hp flat-four engine.
On the downside, the race for which the car was built, never happened in light of the Second World War The government-owned Volkswagen then turned their attention towards military vehicles, forcing the Type 64 to not see the sunrise. However, one example was built which eventually became the property of the German government.
The Type 64 became a darling for the Porsche family and Ferdinand’s son Ferry built two more examples of it. Chassis #2 was out of the production ramp in December 1939 and #3 was finished the following June. Interestingly, the #3 Type 64 borrowed its bones from the first car, which suffered a crash in the hands of Volkswagen’s Managing Director.
Following the war, Type 64 #2 did not survive the war but chassis #3 did and was retained by the Porsche family when they moved to Austria. Ferry put the family name in front of the Type 64, registered it in 1964 and had Battista “Pinin” Farina restore it in 1947.
In the following year, Porsche debuted the 356 as its first car in Austria. Funnily the Type 64 stood right beside it. Popular Austrian racer Otto Mathe bought the car from the company and owned it for the rest of his life. A few years after his death in 1995, it was sold to Dr Thomas Gruber who himself was a Porsche historian.
That brings us to the future when the car will be auctioned at RM Sotheby’s in Monterey this August. The icon is expected to go under the hammer for at least $20 million. The jackpot? It comes along with a number of spare parts, too. To be the most expensive Porsche to go on sale the Type 64 has a worthy fight. Need we remind you the 917K used in the film Le Mans, that fetched a whopping $14 million in 2017? Given its importance in the motoring scene and the badge it carries, we think that might not be a problem after all.
Image Source: RM Sotheby's