Perhaps the most significant car in Porsche's history, the 1939 Type 64, will be auctioned in Monterey, California this August.
Only three examples were built by the engineers who went on to build Porsche's first mass-produced car, the 356. Of the three built, only the car you see here survived World War 2. In other words, this is a very rare beast.
The cars were lightweight racing versions of the then-new KdF-Wagen that became the Volkswagen Beetle, and were used to celebrate the launch of the 'people's car'.
They were also designed to promote Germany's recently-constructed Autobahn, with plans to race them in a 1500km road race between Berlin and Rome in September 1939. The outbreak of World War Two put a stop to that, however.
The Type 64 has the same suspension and driveline as the Type 1 Beetle, with an air-cooled flat-four engine reaching a top speed of 160km/h. The body was hand-shaped from aluminium, making the streamlined car look quite futuristic.
No. 3 was used by Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche as a family car, and two years after the company moved to Gmund, Austria, Ferry placed the raised Porsche lettering on the front of the car. It became the first car to receive Porsche badging, two years before the 'Prototype No. 1' 356.
At the launch of the first prototype, Austrian privateer driver Otto Mathe was behind the wheel on demo laps of the Type 64 and loved it so much he bought the car from Porsche, going on to have racing success in what became the very first racing Porsche. Think of it as the first 911 GT3...
It remained in Mathe's possession until his death in 1995. Two years later it was bought by Dr. Thomas Gruber in Vienna, who took it to numerous vintage racing meets, including Goodwood.
As for why No.3 is so special? No. 2 was put into storage and was found in 1945 by American troops who chopped the roof and drove it until the engine failed. It was then scrapped, but was later restored using spare parts bought from Porsche.
What makes No. 3 so special is the fact it's an original car in unrestored condition, with original spare parts. A true survivor.
Andy Prill is the well-respected Porsche specialist who inspected the Type 64.
“I’ve seen countless special Porsches in my career, but nothing like this," he said. "This is the most historically significant of all Porsche cars and it is simply incredible to find the very first Porsche in this original condition.”
“This is Porsche’s origin story, the car that birthed the company’s legend, and it offers collectors what is likely an unrepeatable opportunity to sit in the seat of Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche."
The Type 64 No. 3 will be auctioned by RM Sothebys at Monterey between August 15 and 17. A price guide hasn't been released, but we'd presume it will be a lot...