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Origin of the Species: Type 64 Goes to Auction in August

The Type 64 was many things, but it was not conventionally beautiful. Designed to make the most of a tuned, 32-horsepower variant of the Volkswagen Type I flat-four, the all-aluminum car was a masterpiece of 1930s aerodynamics. The riveted construction was strong and rigid for the day, and emulated the construction techniques used on then-current German aircraft like the Bf 109 and Fw 200.

This particular car, the third built, was actually completed in 1940 using the remains of the wrecked first car. Ferry Porsche and his family used the car routinely for several years, and the car received its first restoration in 1947 at the hands of a young Pinin Farina. Yes, this car was first restored a year before 356/001 saw the light of day. Perhaps most importantly, it is allegedly the first car to ever carry the Porsche insignia on the front.

During the premier of  the first 356, the Type 64 was demonstrated by Austrian driver Otto Mathé, who was smitten by the car and owned it through his death in 1995. From 1940 through 1995, the little Type 64 had just two owners, each a legend in their own right. From 1997 through the present day the car has belonged to Doctor Thomas Gruber of Vienna, who has shown the car at vintage events periodically throughout his ownership.

While owners love to toss around words like « numbers matching, » making such claims about the Type 64 is more challenging than average. The hopeful Type 64 owner will not be able to reference a Kardex, but will have to rely on experts. Per Andy Prill, a marque specialist who recently inspected the car, « I have found evidence that all of the key components were manufactured in 1939/40, » which by itself is special. How many sports cars were completed in that part of the world during the opening phases of the Second World War?

Though its origins were shrouded by war, and muddled slightly by being built for a race that never actually happened, the Type 64 remains one of (if not the) most significant Porsches of all time. When the Type 64 crosses the auction block in August with RM Sothebys, the result is virtually guaranteed to be tremendous. What the Type 64 lacks in pace it more than makes up for in pure provenance.

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