Porsche Type 64 fails to sell due to auction snafu

The Porsche Type 64 car was bidding up to $70 million until it wasn't

The Porsche Type 64 car was bidding up to $70 million until it wasn't

The only "Porsche" Type 64 in existence went under the hammer last weekend at the prestigious Monterey auto auction in California - but to absolute uproar in the room once the gavel tapped down.

A vehicle built by legendary automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche and which had been expected to raise $20 million at auction failed to be sold at all, after the bidding process left potential buyers sneering at the auction house for mistakenly announcing offers of up to $70 million.

An RM Sotheby's spokeswoman then issued a statement to Bloomberg, saying, "As bidding opened on the Type 64, increments were mistakenly overheard and displayed on the screen, causing unfortunate confusion in the room".

But the auctioneer, who reportedly had a thick British accent, announced that $30 million would be the starting point and things escalated until he had to clarify that a seventeen million bid had been made, not seventy million.

Despite his best efforts to keep the ball rolling, the bidding got stuck at $17 million, which was below the car's undisclosed reserve. RM Sotheby's had lined up the sale. This was in no way a joke or prank on behalf of anyone at RM Sotheby's, rather an unfortunate misunderstanding amplified by excitement in the room. The average sale price was US$75,000 less than a year ago.

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The top seller on Friday, a McLaren F1 expected to sell for as much as US$23 million, took just over US$19 million during the RM Sotheby's auction that night.

The sleek Type 64 was built by Ferdinand Porsche and his son, Ferry, between 1939 and 1940, years before their namesake company was registered in 1946.

Some observers, led by the terminology in RM Sotheby's own auction catalogue, called the silver coupe a true Porsche. Its engine and most of its parts were supplied by Volkswagen, with components from Fiat and other niche suppliers of the time.

The 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster is the company's purest high performance auto and a limited-edition tribute to the company's history as it prepares for an electric future. It is said that Ferdinand Porsche's son, Ferry, applied the Porsche badge to the vehicle.

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