The only surviving Porsche Type 64 will head to RM Sotheby’s Monterey Sale 15 – 17 August 2019 and is likely to stimulate interest from German marque collectors around the world.
Historically significant and the eldest classic to ever wear the Porsche brand, the 1939 Type 64 was a motorsport leader in 1920s and 1930s.
The Type 64 was born virtually by accident following the organisation of the 1,500-kilometer Berlin-Rome race set for September 1939, which was specifically to promote Germany’s infamous autobahn and to celebrate the launch of the KdF-Wagen production car.
In preparation for the race, the government-owned Volkswagen commissioned three special long-distance racing versions of the KdF-Wagen, known internally to Porsche and his engineers as the Type 64. Designed by the same engineers who would go on to create the 356, the cars were built at Reutter Works across the street from Zuffenhausen over 1939-1940, with lightweight aluminium bodies and the wheels fully covered in removable alloy panels.
Marcus Görig, Car Specialist, RM Sotheby’s:
“Without the Type 64, there would be no Porsche 356, no 550, no 911”
“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!”
The Porsche 64 shares the same suspension and powertrain as the Type 1 Volkswagen but the similarities end there with an alloy body and some creative aircraft technology taking the 64 to a new level.
Just weeks before the Berlin-Rome race was to commence the three cars were finally built, but unfortunately for VW war was officially declared and the focus was redirected towards military vehicles, with the first Type 64 becoming property of the German labour front.
RM Sotheby’s report that Ferry Porsche moved forward with the two additional cars, which would serve as experimental test beds for Porsche as they developed their own production sports car, essentially making the Type 64 the missing link between Volkswagen and the Porsche 356. The second car was completed in December 1939 and the third, using the chassis of the first car, which had been damaged following an accident with the Managing Director of Volkswagen at the wheel, by June 1940.
Andy Prill, well-respected Porsche specialist:
“I’ve seen countless special Porsches in my career, but nothing like this. I was very careful in examining the authenticity of the Type 64, no. 3 and its chassis. After spending many days with the car, I have found evidence that all key components of the cars are original as built in 1939/1940. This is the most historically significant of all Porsche cars and it is simply incredible to find the very first Porsche in this original condition.”
The third Type 64 was retained as a personal family car and driven extensively by Ferry and Ferdinand Porsche. When the company was forced to relocate headquarters to Gmünd, Austria from 1944-1948, it was kept alongside the second Type 64 at the family estate in the picturesque lakeside town of Zell-am-See. No. 3 was the only example to survive the war, and Ferry Porsche himself applied the raised letters spelling out “PORSCHE” on the nose of the car when he had it registered in Austria under the new company name in 1946.
In 1947, restoration work was commissioned by Porsche and completed by a young Pinin Farina in Turin, Italy. Nearly one year later, Porsche demonstrated the Type 356 roadster, no. 1, on public roads in Innsbruck, with the Type 64 by its side. Austrian privateer driver Otto Mathé completed demo laps in the Type 64 and fell in love, buying it from Porsche the following year. He enjoyed a successful racing career with the car in the 1950s—the very first to do so in a Porsche product—and kept it for 46 years until his death in 1995.
A truly remarkable classic car that will no doubt fetch high numbers when the sale commences in Monterey 15 – 17 August this year. More information can be seen here.