In the late '30s, Adolf Hitler commissioned a special "people's car" to be built for a Berlin-to-Rome road rally, and what resulted was the 1939 Porsche Type 64, or what Jalopnik calls the "missing link between Porsche and Volkswagen." Only three of these vehicles were built, and just one survives to this day, so when it was announced that RM Sotheby's was putting it up for auction, the automotive aficionado world lit up, with predictions the car would go for as much as $20 million. But a current glimpse at the auctioneer's website after Saturday's much-hyped event shows a "still for sale" notice, the result of what Jalopnik calls a "weird and unsatisfying ending." Bloomberg explains an opening bid of $30 million jump-started what appeared to be a fierce bidding war, rising all the way to $70 million—until the auctioneer suddenly corrected himself, noting the top bid was $17 million, not $70 million.
A video of the auction shows the bizarre incident unfolding. Whether it had been an accident or, as Jalopnik puts it, a joke meant to hype the sale and boost bidding, potential buyers were miffed, and no one ever topped the $17 million bid. MSNBC notes that because $17 million was below the seller's minimum price, the sale was nixed. "A massive f---up," one observer notes, per Bloomberg. "As bidding opened ... increments were mistakenly overheard and displayed on the screen, causing unfortunate confusion in the room," RM Sotheby's says in a statement. "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." (Read more Porsche stories.)