127-Year-Old Car Fetches $4.6M at Auction

Steam-powered car preceded Model T by decades

By Greg Wilson
|  Thursday, Oct 13, 2011  |  Updated 10:33 AM CDT
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127-Year-Old Car Fetches $4.6M at Auction

Darin Schnabel/RM Auctions / Rex Features

The world's oldest running motor car sells for a record $4.6 million.

A 127-year-old car, built decades before Detroit rolled out the Model T, has sold at auction for a record $4.6 million.

The steam-powered De Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout doubled the expected price at the auction, held last week in Hershey, Pa., by RM Auctions. It is the world’s oldest running motor car, and drew a standing ovation from the audience as it drove onto RM’s Hershey auction stage.

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

The car can reach speeds of 38 miles per hour, and its steam engine requires a water refill every 20 miles. The four-eater averaged 16 miles per hour in the first ever auto race, in 1887.

The new owner, who was not identified, is now one of just five collectors to have claimed ownership of La Marquise.

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