It aimed to be a historic auction ... and it was, but for reasons totally different from what was initially expected. In the traditional auction of RM Sotheby's engine week of Monterey (California) something unusual happened: an error in the transcript of the amounts led the public to believe that it was a historic day ... which finally turned out to be a fiasco.
The jewel of the auction was a Porsche Type 64, the only surviving unit of the three manufactured by Ferdinand Porsche commissioned by the Nazi government and considered the 'embryo' of the Volkswagen Beetle. With an estimated price of 20 million dollars, the bid began at 13 million, but the screen operator confused the figure announced by Maarten ten Holder, head of auctions at RM Sotheby's, and the audience was surprised to see on the monitor the 30 million figure.
According to some testimonies of those present cited by Forbes, Ten Holder's accent could be the cause of a confusion that grew larger as the bids grew. 14 million ('fourteen', in English) became 40 ('forty') per computer art; 15 ('fifteen') in 50 ('fifty') and thus up to 70 million, by far the highest price ever paid for a car.
It was at that moment when the uproar of the audience put on notice the Dutchman, who punctured the globe. The 70 million became 17, a 'small nuance' of 53 million dollars that turned a record bid into a failure. The frustration of the moment caused that no one raised his bet above those 17 million, below the reserve price, the one that the seller sets, but remains secret for bidders. The so-called 'first Porsche' (for being the first car to wear the German brand logo) remains without an owner.
RM Sotheby's has recognized the embarrassing mistake that, in addition, was multiplied by the uproar of those present: "When the Type 64 bid was opened, the increases were shown erroneously on the screens, causing an unfortunate confusion in the room," Explains the house. "Our auctions are known worldwide for their integrity and we take our responsibility with customers very seriously. There was no intention on the part of anyone related to RM Sotheby's but an unfortunate misunderstanding, amplified by the excitement of the room."
It was not the only auction that did not meet the initial expectations. The most expensive car for sale was one of the only two standard McLaren F1 modified to LM specifications, similar to those of the competition versions but maintaining the luxurious interior of the registrable versions. Although the $ 20 million for which it was sold is the record for a McLaren, it was hoped that it could even reach 23.
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