RM Sotheby’s Ruined Its Porsche Type 64 Auction

19 Août 2019 - Autoblog

RM Sotheby’s Ruined Its Porsche Type 64 Auction

The only one to survive World War II

In an extremely unlikely and bewildering turn of events, this 1939 Porsche Type 64 failed to sell at auction. According to a report from Bloomberg and the video you see just below, a great deal of confusion surrounded the car and crowd on Saturday, August 17, as it sounded like the auctioneer mistakenly announced the car's opening bid at $30 million, then called out a series of rapidly progressing bids that eventually hit $70 million. The crowd can be heard audibly gasping as the big screens on either side of the auction stage showed the rising price, which would have made the Type 64 the most expensive car ever sold at auction.

Except that was all wrong; bidding actually started at $13 million and ended in $17 million.

That high bid of $17 million apparently wasn't high enough to hit the car's reserve price, so it remains for sale. 

RM Sotheby’s Ruined Its Porsche Type 64 Auction

A huge wave of anticipation has been building to tsunami levels as the ultra-rare Porsche Type 64 was about to cross the auction block in Monterey. Then, a gaffe blew up the whole process, with the German car not selling. What’s more, people at the auction were booing and walking out, obviously disappointed with the situation.

After playing videos of the lightweight racecar on screens while dramatic music played, the emcee gave a mini-sermon about the Type 64 being the automotive holy grail. With that kind of buildup, the actual car was wheeled out, then bidding was opened at $30 million. That was shocking, because the car was anticipated to sell for about $20 million, but the desire to own the Porsche was high, so people immediately bid.

Quickly the amount built to an astronomical $70 million, with attendees on their feet as they clapped and cheered. Then the emcee had the current bid switched to $17 million, not $70 million. That was too much for the crowd, with numerous people walking out and many booing the emcee. You can see it all play out in the video below.

This was not some simple gaffe, since on the screen at the front of the room $30 million was clearly displayed as the opening bid. If it had sold for $70 million, the Porsche Type 64 would’ve been the most expensive car ever sold at auction by over $20 million.

RM Sotheby’s released a statement affirming that the situation wasn’t some planned joke, but rather that as the bidding opened “increments were mistakenly overheard and displayed on the screen.” That’s a huge mistake.

It’s apparent the $17 million high bid did not meet reserve, so the 1939 Porsche Type 64 won’t exchange hands after all. What was anticipated to be perhaps the most exciting auction at Monterey for 2019 actually did come with quite a bit of energy, just not in the way RM Sotheby’s wanted.