Auto Union sale scotched

Published: 19 March 2007

Christie’s has pulled the ultra-rare 1939 Auto Union Type D grand prix car from auction this month. It had been expected to hit a new record of nearly £8 million.

As reported previously, the Auto Union was attracting great interest because it is one of only two surviving examples from the late 1930s. However, the legitimacy of the Type D was questioned after going to auction on 17 February. The car was removed from the block when it was discovered that it was not the same Type D believed to have won the 1939 French and Yugoslavian Grand Prix - but the other remaining example, which has considerably less motorsport pedigree. Christie’s cancelled bids for the car on 4 March as potential buyers believed that this car lacked value when compared to the grand prix-winning model.

The car itself is a tremendous piece of engineering from the period. Designed by Porsche, it features a 454bhp, twin-supercharged V12 which has a displacement of only 3.0 litres due to period regulations, but still manages to top 205mph.

The current record for the most expensive car sold at auction belongs to the 1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale Sports Coupe, which was also sold by Christie’s for £5.5 million in 1987. We’ll keep you posted and let you know if the Type D makes it back to auction and trounces the Bugatti or if it returns to the storage room.