The car was intended for a race that was planned between Berlin and Rome, yet was cancelled by the outbreak of World War II. It was damaged and rebuilt by Porsche. In 1949 it was bought by a racecar driver, and was sold only in 1997 to an Austrian Porsche collector who was the one offering it in Monterey.
Experts expected the car to sell for around $20 million, but YouTube videos shot at the event appear to show the Dutch-accented auctioneer opening the bidding at $30 million, exciting the crowd.
The starting number of $30 million was displayed on the screen, then followed by bids of $40 million, $50 million, $60 million and $70 million announced by the auctioneer. However, after the number raised was to seventy, the auctioneer said that he had actually meant seventeen. “It might be my pronunciation,” he added, changing the number on the screen to seventeen to the crowd’s dissatisfaction.
An authentic $70 million bid would've made the car the most expensive ever sold at auction, potentially tying the record price reportedly paid for a Ferrari 250 GTO in a private transaction last year. RM Sotheby’s issued a statement acknowledging the error, adding that it was unintentional and not a prank.