The 1939 Porsche Type 64 found its genesis in a road race that never happened. The race was to be from Berlin to Rome and would cover some 1,500 kilometres. It was supposed to celebrate the KdF-Wagen production car, as well as to draw attention to Germany’s autobahn system. The German government commissioned three long-distance racing versions of the KdF for the event, which were known as Type 64.
The cars were finished and the race was to start just as war was declared. Factories were switched over to military vehicles, and the Type 64 became the property of the German labour front.
That didn’t stop Ferry Porsche. He made an additional two cars to serve as test vehicles for a production sports car. Type 64 became the bridge between the government-owned Volkswagen and the eventual Porsche 356. The first car was finished in December 1939, but was soon damaged in an accident. The chassis from that car was used to make the second car. Ferry and Ferdinand Porsche kept that car as a family vehicle—Ferry applied the raised “PORSCHE” to the car himself.
When the family had to move to Austria, the car stayed at the family estate where it survived the war.
Marcus Gorig, RM Sotheby’s Car Specialist, notes that “without the Type 64, there would be no Porsche 356, no 550, no 911. This is Porsche’s origin story, the car that birthed the company’s legend.”