WATCH: Most-Anticipated Car at Monterey Auction a No-Sale After Foul-Up

1939 Type 64 (photo courtesy RM Sotheby's)

We talked about it on the KFBK Afternoon News--you might have seen it elsewhere, too. There was a lot of anticpation and yes, hype, surrounding the sale this weekend of the 1939 Type 64 at the RM Sotheby's auction in Monterey. Some call it the "first Porsche"---it's not, really. It's nine years too early for that. What it was was, as Jalopnik described it best, the missing link between Volkswagen and Porsche. Three were made in 1939 and 1940 and this is the only survivor. Some people who know these things thought it would sell for $20 million.

And then this happened:

So, what happened there? Here's RM Sotheby's after-the-fact statement:

As bidding opened on the Type 64, increments were mistakenly overheard and displayed on the screen, causing unfortunate confusion in the room. This was in no way a joke or prank on behalf of anyone at RM Sotheby’s, rather an unfortunate misunderstanding amplified by excitement in the room. The auction was not canceled. The car reached a high bid of $17 million.

And that $17 million didn't meet the reserve the owner had set for it, so the Type 64 gets trailered back home and the owner's bank account is about eight figures lighter than he expected it to be today. No question, it'll show up at auction again, probably sooner rather than later and it will be interesting to see what it sells for and whether he'll give RM Sotheby's, one of the most well-regarded auction houses in existence, another shot at it.

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