The Porsche Type 64, the one that started it all

The Porsche Type 64 was the first car to be produced and race under the most influential automotive brand in the World.  It was also designed and built by the most influential automotive engineer of the 20th Century.  Just how much is it worth?

What would a historically significant car designed by the most influential automotive designer of the Twentieth Century who founded one of the most significant automotive brands in history be worth?  The significance does not stop there.  This same vehicle is the first race car to enter a motorsports event under the name of the brand, that incidentally is the most winning automotive manufacturer.
Well, we are about to find out and the experts are predicting a winning bid of around $20 million.
The vehicle in question is the Porsche Type 64, one of three vehicles built by Ferdinand Porsche.
The Porsche Type 64
One of just three copies ever made, the Porsche Type 64 or Porsche 60K10 is considered the first vehicle of what was to become the Porsche company. It was also the first Porsche vehicle to be campaigned in a motorsport event.
Commissioned by Volkswagen and built by Porsche as a motorsports version of its KdF-Wagen, the precursor to the Volkswagen Beetle Type I, the Porsche Type 64 has many mechanical components from Type 38 that preceded it.  It was powered by a 1.1 liter flat-four engine that produced forty horsepower.  The aerodynamic Porsche Type 64 had a top speed of 160 Km/hr or right around 99 miles per hour.
The lightweight body was constructed of aluminum and built by Reutter, the same company that would go on to build the bodies of the upcoming Porsche 356 before production was brought ‘in-house’ in 1963.  Interestingly enough, Reutter would eventually start producing automotive seats under the name of ‘Recaro‘, one of the best automotive seat builders in the World.

The 1930s, the Golden Era of German automotive advancement

Ferdinand Porsche was a central character in the development of the German automotive industry in the late 1920s and 30s.  The catalyst for much of this technological advancement in automotive design was the creation of the German Autobahn system.

Planned in the 1920s, and enthusiastically embraced by Adolph Hitler when he took power in 1933, the German Autobahn system was built with the hands of 120,000 people.  To celebrate the development of the Autobahn, The Nazi party financed the development of automotive technology capable of dominating European racing circuits and breaking land speed records of era.

Historically significant vehicles from this era include the Silver Arrows, the Mercedes Benz and Auto Union Grand Prix race cars in addition to the Mercedes Benz T80, a land speed record racer designed to be powered by a 3,000 horsepower engine that was never used.  Both the Auto Union and the Mercedes Benz T80 were designed by Ferdinand Porsche.

Ferdinand Porsche was born in Austria in 1875.  His first contribution to the automobile industry was enormous, so much so that he was awarded the title, ‘Automobile Designer of the Century‘ in 1999, an international award given to the most influential automotive engineer of the Twentieth Century.

Ferdinand Porsche’s contribution first started in 1898 with the Egger-Lohner, an electric carriage like vehicle.  By 1901, Ferdinand Porsche had designed and built the first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle, the Lohner-Porsche.  For the next fifty or so years, Ferdinand Porsche would continue to make contributions to the automotive industry as the designer of the Volkswagen Beetle, the Mercedes Benz SS/SSK, one of the most beautiful Mercedes Benz vehicles ever built and several other significant vehicles, including German military vehicles from World War II.  In addition to positive contributions, Ferdinand Porsche also had ties to the Nazi regime.

Ferdinand Porsche’s contributions were both deep and wide in that not is his name associated with many significant cars, he also worked with many of the leading German automotive companies of the era including Mercedes Benz and Auto-Union, the predecessor of Audi, he was also the Chairman of Volkswagen, what is now one of the largest automotive companies in the World.

A record in the making

In 2017, the Porsche 917 used in Steve McQueen’s movie ‘Le Mans’ sold for $14 million.  Because of the rarity and significance of the Porsche Type 64, I expect it to sell for much more than the previous record for a Porsche.  I would also not be surprised to see the winning bid come in from Porsche themselves.  Stay tuned.

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