Porsches are often a study in contrasts. Where many models are markedly advanced in one way or another, in others they are often simple in the extreme. The 356 featured sophisticated monocoque construction, making it strong and rigid compared to the related VW Beetle. At the same time it relied on a powerplant which was, even by the mid-1950s, fairly primitive. The Type 64, the marque’s first car, is much the same. While the body is heavily streamlined, the driveline shares the Volkswagen’s humble origins. The body is riveted rather than welded. The engine displaces just one liter. Though modest, this record setting racer would serve as the common ancestor for all Porsches to come. Rather shockingly, Chris Harris got to drive it in advance of its upcoming sale. Just imagine our envy.
We highlighted this car, the sole remaining original Type 64, back in May when it was announced that the car was headed to auction. Since then the car has appeared not just in enthusiast publications, but has gained traction in the mainstream media as well. With an expected sale price of around $20m and undisputed provenance, the Type 64’s sale comes with all the cachet you’d expect of the sale of a Picasso rather than a racecar, though it really is that important. For car enthusiasts the Type 64 is a landmark, and for Porsche enthusiasts in particular it is an undisputable icon.
And Chris Harris got to drive it, in a drizzle no less. What makes me absolutely pleased to bits about this car, is how untouched it seems. The seats are tattered, the paint is peeling from the engine cover, the headliner is heavily stained, and the doors don’t fit properly. This car wears its history proudly, and is unashamed of its warts. Hopefully Otto Mathe is proud that his old car is still being enjoyed, more or less as he left it.
The car is headed to auction at Monterey later this week, and we are extremely excited to see where it winds up.