The world’s oldest running motor car, a historic 1884 De Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout, entered the history books, selling for $4.62 million before a packed house at RM Auctions’ Hershey, Pa., sale last week. The whopper of a sale price more than doubled its original pre-sale estimate and represents a new world record for an early motor car sold at auction, according to RM Auctions.
The new owner joins a list of just five collectors to have claimed ownership of La Marquise over its well-documented history, according to RM. In addition to being the world’s oldest running motor car, La Marquise’s provenance includes participation in the first automobile race in 1887, where it reached a top speed of 37 mph on the straights, along with a double award at the famed 1997 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. In addition, La Marquise has also successfully completed four London to Brighton runs in the UK.
Commissioned by French entrepreneur Count de Dion and named "La Marquise" after his mother, the 127-year-old vehicle drew a standing ovation from the audience as it drove onto RM’s Hershey auction stage, the auction house reported. Attracting a starting bid of $500,000 and immediately jumping to $1 million, bidding moved swiftly, with the gavel eventually falling at $4.2 million (the final sales price of $4,620,000 includes 10 percent buyers’ premium, according to RM).
“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. The world’s leading automotive collectors recognized the incredibly rare opportunity the sale represented, as was reflected in the spirited bidding and impressive result,” said Rob Myers, chairman and founder, RM Auctions, following the sale.