- A controversial 1939 "Porsche" Type 64 — which the automaker claims isn’t technically a Porsche — failed to sell at RM Sotheby’s Monterey car auction Saturday night.
- During the auction, the screen operator and some audience members heard the auction started at $30 million, while the auctioneer was actually saying $13 million.
- The care ultimately failed to sell after not meeting the reserve price, and the entire experience was caught on video by multiple attendees.
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A "Porsche" with a controversial history was expected to fetch upwards of $20 million on Saturday at RM Sotheby’s Monterey car auctions. The car ended up not selling at all.
The 1939 Type 64 is considered by some the "world’s first Porsche." However, the automaker claims that the car with Nazi ties actually predates the company itself, and a spokesperson for the carmaker’s museum told Business Insider there "could be better actions than putting this onto an auction."
The controversial sale for the Type 64 started to scattered cheers and car enthusiasts with their phone cameras ready to snap a photo as it was being rolled out. The auctioneer started the bidding at $13 million, but the large screen displaying the bids showed a starting bid of $30 million to the attendees instead as the crowd started booing.
As bidding continued, the number on the screen made its way up to $40 million and $50 million, all while the auctioneer was actually saying "$40 million" and $50 million."
The crowd reacted with a mix of cheers and laughs as the "-ty" instead of "-teen" mistake continued. As the bidding hit $17 million the auctioneer realized the mistake.
"It says 70, guys, it’s 17," said the auctioneer. "It might be my pronunciation. (It’s) 17 million dollars. 17."
The excitement started to falter as auction blunders were unveiled.
The number on the screen then dropped drastically from $70 million to $17 million, accompanied by a slew of boos and shouting. Attendees also reportedly walked out of the room, according to Bloomberg.
"As bidding opened on the Type 64, increments were mistakenly displayed on the screen, causing unfortunate confusion in the room," an RM Sotheby’s spokesperson told Business Insider in an emailed statement. "We take pride in conducting our world-class auctions with integrity and we take our responsibility to our clients very seriously. This was in no way intentional on behalf of anyone at RM Sotheby’s, rather an unfortunate misunderstanding amplified by excitement in the room."
At $70 million, the Type 64 would have broken last year’s record for the most expensive car ever auctioned at $48.4 million, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO. But that was never the real bid for the car.
"That is the biggest mistake in modern history," a man at the auction can be overheard saying in the video. "We saw it right here. We actually saw this."
The auction for the Type 64 ended a few minutes later after people ceased to bid on the car, which was still below its reserve price.
"The car did reach a high bid of $17 million but did not meet reserve. We will continue making every effort to sell the car," Sotheby’s statement said.
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