Oldest running car shatters estimate at $4.6m

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An 1884 De Dion Bouton more than doubled its lower guide price when it went under the hammer for a record $4.62m at RM’s Hershey sale on 7 October.

The 127-year-old steam-powered four-seater, the world’s oldest running vehicle, had been expected to sell for $2-2.5m but got knocked down for $4.2m for an all-in result of $4.62m, after buyer’s commission was factored in.

The amount is a record for a veteran car and came after an opening bid of $500,000 was rapidly propelled through the $1m mark with bidding increments rewarded by applause from the crowd in the packed saleroom.

The De Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout – known as La Marquise after Count de Dion’s mother – was driven across the sale block at the annual, two-day Hershey swap meet sale in Pennsylvania.

RM boss Rob Myers was delighted with the result: “We were honoured to have been entrusted with the sale of this most important motor car from the renowned collection of the late Mr. John O’Quinn. The world’s leading automotive collectors recognised the incredibly rare opportunity the sale represented, as was reflected in the spirited bidding and impressive result."

The new owner is only the car’s fifth in its 127-year history, which includes participating in the world’s first automobile race (when it was clocked at 37mph) and being bestowed with awards at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

See RM Hershey for more on the sale.

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