It was Porsche in 1937 who came up with the idea of building a fast Volkswagen. During several meetings with the German Labour Front Prof. Porsche suggested building a sporty version of the KdF car, Type 64. The plan was rejected with the explanation that “…a sports car is not a car for the people”. Nonetheless, in September 1938 first drawings were made of an aerodynamic sports car. The plans seemed to be locked away in the bottom drawer until a motorsports event provided new impetus. In spring 1939 the National Socialist Motorist Corps (NSKK) planned a spectacular race involving high expenses and commitment. The starting point was to be Berlin, from where the racing cars were to race to Munich across the Autobahn. The trip was then to continue through the small Tyrolean region of Austria to the Brenner and then to Italy with Rome as the destination via closed off country roads. The serial KdF car with 24 HS and 985 ccm would not have been very suitable. And so Porsche argued that a special model should be developed based on the KdF car that is suitable to be used in a race. Hühnlein believed in the idea and commissioned Porsche with the development and manufacture of three special sports coupes. The VW base plate and wheel suspensions were completely changed or reengineered. Larger valves, twin carburettors and higher compression increased the engine power to more than 50 HS. The three cars assembled until 1939 in Zuffenhausen at Porsche weighed 545 kg and reached 150 km/h speed. When the war broke out in September it became clear that the planned race could not take place. Of the three new cars only Prof. Porsche’s vehicle survived the chaos of war. It was given a Porsche lettering and as the first “Porsche” it was registered to Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche in 1946 in Gmünd.
In June 1949 racing driver Otto Mathé from Innsbruck bought the sports car directly from Porsche. Mathé converted it to right-hand drive, and between 1949 and 1952 he won many national and international road races, including the Austria Alpine Run, the road races of Korneuburg, Linz, Krems and Innsbruck as well as the state championship title in 1952. Otto Mathé most recently drove the Berlin-Rome vehicle in 1982 in Laguna Seca during a Porsche meeting.
Today the Porsche Type 64, which is considered the original Porsche, is owned by the Society of the Friends of Historic Automobiles.
The Otto Mathé special exhibition with the presentation of the Porsche Type 64 from 24 January until 1 March 2015 at the Ferdinand Porsche fahr(T)raum world of adventure.
The exhibited photographs can be purchased and the proceeds will benefit the “Rollschnecken”, the friends’ association of the school for physically disabled children.
Photo: Wolfgang Blaube