Since the dawn of motoring, the automobile industry has constantly vied to improve on metrics for fastest top speed, quickest 0-60mph time, most horsepower… that sort of thing.Well here’s one that’s unlikely to change: the world’s oldest running motor car. And what’s more, it could be yours if you have a spare $2-2.5m in your back pocket.RM has secured the working 1884 De Dion Bouton Trepardoux steam car as the headline lot for its upcoming Hershey, Pennsylvania sale this weekend.Commissioned by French entrepreneur, Count de Dion, and built by Georges Bouton and Charles-Armand Trepardoux, the steamer was nicknamed La Marquise after the Count de Dion’s mother. At just 9ft long, the coal or coke-fired car features twin compound steam engines, spade handle steering and seats four people ‘dos-a-dos’ (back-to-back), while its 40-gallon water tank is good for a 20-mile range.The De Dion has had just four owners from new, one of whom it kept it for 81 years, and it boasts some enviable provenance, having taken part in the first automobile race in 1887, when it was clocked at a top speed of 37mph.It has subsequently led four London to Brighton Veteran Car Runs – being the oldest car to take part each time – and was also a double award winner at the 1997 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.“La Marquise is arguably one of the most important motor cars in the world,” says RM Auctions boss, Rob Myers. “With its impeccable provenance, fully-documented history and confirmation by leading historians as the world’s oldest running motor car, its sale represents a once-in-a-lifetime ownership opportunity for savvy collectors, unlikely ever to be repeated.”See RM Hershey sale for more.
| 4 Oct 2011