Auctioning off the Original Porsche

Auctioning off the Original Porsche

Alora Foote, Contributor

The car company with an eleven billion dollar net worth, Porsche, recently auctioned off their very first car, dating back to even before the company was founded in 1969. The car itself, the 1939 Type 64, has an interesting history, including the thrilling sport of car racing.

The Type 64 was Ferdinand Porsche’s, the founder of the car company, first attempt at making what would be in his day, a modern sports car. The engine was not placed under the hood like it would normally be in a regular car. Ferdinand Porsche decided to place it behind the seats instead, which was an idea used in both Porsche’s first official car, the 356, and also the recent Porsche 911. The physics of this reappropriated the weight over the wheels, which would propel the car forward, making it ideal for a racing car. “The first Type 64 was built to compete in a Berlin to Rome road race scheduled for September 1939” (CNN Business). Porsche’s goal was to make a slick, inexpensive sports car for German families in Nazi Germany. However, it’s production did not start in large amounts until after the war had ended, when it became known as the Volkswagen Beetle.

Saturday, August 17, Monterey, California hosted an energized and high-energy auction to sell off the wanted Type 64. The sellers had high expectations for the car. The anticipated sale was around $20 million. However, the mistake in the auction house caused the crowded room’s energy to drop and the bidders were lead to think the sale was a joke. The sale began with an introductory video and the announcement of the starting price. The crowd was shocked when they heard “$30 million,” which was the number displayed on the digital screen tracking bids. Although some thought the high price was a joke, bidders rapidly rose the price up to $70 million. “…with the crowd on its feet, iPhones raised, and cheering, the auctioneer announced that he said ‘$17 million,’ rather than ‘$70 million'” (Bloomberg). It was a simple pronunciation mistake. The crowd was again shocked. People laughed or walked out, or both when the media screen fixed the mistake, displaying the $17 million. Collectors describes the pronunciation mistake The car would have been the most expensive car that had been sold by Porsche in all of their history. The mix-up however, prevented the sale and the car hasn’t gained a new owner.

Since the goal was above $20 million, the Type 64 wasn’t sold because $17 million was too low for the sellers to permit the sale. “Auction sellers often have an undisclosed minimum price below which the car will not be sold. That figure, called the reserve price, was not reached” (CNN Business). After the pronunciation mishap, the crowd quit throwing in bids and the car remained at $17 million.

Though it was under the reserve price, selling the Type 64 for $17 million would have made the car the highest paid car under the Porsche name. If the sellers chose not to fix the error, the Type 64 would have been topped the highest current car sold in auction by a wide gap between prices.

In the end, the first ever car that started the Porsche legacy was not sold this past Saturday. The problem? Pronunciation issues.