Hagerty magazine Publisher Rob Sass recaps Thursday's top Monterey auction results from Russo & Steele, Bonhams…
Dr. Porsche’s Type 64 comes up short at Monterey 2019 auction
The Type 64—the sea-green, patina-clad wonder of a Porsche that arguably started it all for the brand from Stuttgart—couldn’t get it done at Monterey this year, as bidding at RM Sotheby’s came in at $17M and stalled without crossing reserve. That means the all-time Porsche auction record still belongs to the McQueen/Le Mans-participating 917K that sold in 2017 for $14.08M.
There was some excitement during the initial bidding as it started at $30 million and then quickly increased as the packed room stood to witness a potential historic price. The monitors on the stage showed $70 million as the crowd gasped—only to have the bubble burst when the a new, much lower bid next appeared on the screen. The new bid was $17 million. Confused? So are we. The auctioneer remained at $17 million for several moments until finally ending the proceedings with a no-sale. Much of the crowd then left the room. There will likely be some follow-up to determine what happened during the bidding, and we’ll report back when we know more.
The aquamarine Type 64 has had the rare privilege of both witnessing and making history, being both spectator and actor in 80 years of the Porsche story. The letters on the front, snuck in between the swooping cut of the hood and the neat oval grille in the mid-1900s, stand as reminders to what Porsche has accomplished in the last 80 years; rather than looking back at a powerless art car or obscure shell of a concept, we gazed tonight in Monterey on a successfully executed, race-worthy concept that wore the brand whose birth it foretold.
Did Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche know that, 80 years later, the momentum of his name and company would captivate the automotive community, causing a crowd to pack into a California hotel for a chance to see his WWII daily driver on the auction block?
Maybe, maybe not. The initial rear-engined, lightweight, aerodynamic family recipe has been spun into dozens of track- and road-going concoctions, from Le-Mans-winning longtails to single-seater racers and do-it-all road cars with one eye always towards the nearest track.
The featherweight Type 64’s genes have proven so strong that even companies outside of Porsche have re-imagined and recreated subsequent 911s into collectibles highly desirable in their own right. Singer, Emory, and others emphasize different shades of the Porsche marque—the creativity, the refinement, the flat-six howl—and each can trace the lineage of their chosen model back to this weather-worn Type 64.
Fact is, a disappointing auction result doesn’t cheapen that heritage. We wouldn’t be surprised if the Type 64 gets its due down the road.