1939 Porsche Type 64: One of Stuttgart's First Creations Heads to Auction at Monterey Car Week
Only three samples were built, and this one was once owned by Ferdinand Porsche's own son.
An incredibly rare and historically significant Porsche will be crossing the auction block this summer during Monterey Car Week. Scheduled to see the limelight at the RM Sotheby’s auction in August is a fully restored 1939 Porsche Type 64, which is widely and highly considered Porsche’s first-ever automobile.
The Type 64 arguably set the design template for nearly every succeeding Porsche model in the post-war era. Volkswagen commissioned Ferdinand Porsche to build three motorsports variants of its new KdF-Wagen, all with the idea of commemorating and promoting Germany’s newly built Autobahn roadway network at the time. The KdF-Wagen was the precursor to the Volkswagen Beetle Type 1. That project resulted in the Type 64.
It started life as a parts-bin special from the Type 38 prototype that preceded it, but it featured a reinforced chassis and an uprated engine with hopes to make it a “record-setting" automobile. Powered by a 1.1-liter flat-four, the Type 64 produced 50 horsepower and achieved a top speed of around 99 miles per hour.
Of the three total examples built, one got destroyed during World War II, while another was vandalized by American troops who reportedly took it for a joyride until the engine died and eventually destroyed it in May of 1945. That car eventually was rebuilt and recently put on display at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
Ferry Porsche, son of Ferdinand, owned the third remaining model and was technically the only example to survive the war intact. It remained in storage until undergoing restoration in 1947 by famed Italian designer and founder of Carrozzeria Pininfarina, Battista Farina. It eventually was purchased by Otto Mathé, an Austrian racer, who used the Ferry’s Type 64 to race in the 1950s, making it the first Porsche product to officially participate. Its inaugural race was the International Austrian Alpine Rally in June of 1950.
That third model is what will eventually cross the auction block. RM Sotheby’s didn’t share its estimate on how much the 1939 Type 64 could sell for, but it won’t be cheap, particularly considering one of the most expensive Porsches ever sold at auction was Steve McQueen’s 917K for $14 million in 2017.