The Porsche 356 is widely believed to be the first car to be built by the iconic German automaker. However, Porsche’s history of building cars is quite complicated and difficult to chart. The first car in the history to actually carry the Porsche name is the Type 64 – an endurance racing car of which just three were built from 1939-1940. This makes it possibly the most significant car ever built by Porsche. Out of the three that were ever built, there is only one example that still survives and is going up for sale at the Monterey Car Week auction in August this year.
Type 64 was designed by Ferdinand Porsche for a 1500-kilometer race between Berlin and Rome planned for September 1939. However, the race was canceled due to the onset of World War II. It was based on the KdF Wagen – a precursor to the Porsche-designed Volkswagen Beetle. But the car was built for endurance racing and fit with streamlined aluminum body panels and lightweight components. Even its flat-four engine was re-tuned to produce 32 horsepower. This particular car was the only one that survived the war and was retained by the Porsche family to be used as a personal car. It was later restored by Pininfarina founder Battista Farina before being sold to Austrian racer Otto Mathé in 1948, who held onto it until his death in 1995. The car is still in its original state, along with its original four-cylinder engine, and even comes with some of its original tools and spare parts that are included in the sale. RM Sotheby’s in its press release declares it “the most significant surviving piece of Porsche engineering and design history” and expects it to fetch somewhere close to $20 million.