THE WORLD’S oldest Porsche sports car could also become the most expensive Porsche ever to sell at auction, when it goes under the hammer later this year.
The 1939 Porsche Type 64 is one of the earliest cars designed by Ferdinand Porsche and the only surviving example of the three models that were built.
Considering Porsche’s background as a racing car designer, it’s perhaps no surprise the Type 64 was designed to compete. The diminutive coupé was intended to take on a mighty 932-mile road race from Berlin to Rome, as a showcase of the German car industry’s engineering nous, but the Second World War put an end to any such endeavours. Dr Porsche, already heavily involved in the Nazi party, spent the war years concentrating on military vehicles, especially tanks.
Despite being designed as a competition car, the Porsche Type 64 doesn’t have particularly exotic underpinnings. Under the skin it was almost identical to the original Volkswagen Beetle, with the dashboard design being perhaps the most obvious clue at to its “people’s car” origins.
To endow it with a bit more speed, Porsche gave it aerodynamically-enhanced bodywork complete with removable wheel covers, to reduce drag. Twenty-eight percent more power was liberated from the four-cylinder engine, though that still only endowed it with a not-so-potent 32bhp.
Remarkably, considering the car’s provenance, the Type 64 has rarely changed hands. Since Ferdinand Porsche sold the racer to racing driver Otto Mathé in 1948, the sole surviving Type 64 has gone through two more owners, with its current custodian reportedly acquiring the car over a decade ago.
As such a rare and important model, the Porsche Type 64 is tipped to sell for a large sum; reports suggests the car could go for up to $20m (£15.6m). If those estimates are on the money, the 80-year-old racing car would pip the current auction record for a Porsche of $14m (£11m), held by a 917K Le Mans racer that sold in 2017.