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by Tim Beissmann

The oldest working car in the world has been purchased at auction for a record US$4.62 million ($4.72 million).

The sale price of the one-of-a-kind 1884 De Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout (or ‘La Marquise’ as it is affectionately known) was more than double the original pre-sale estimate. It marks a new world record for an early motor car sold at auction.

The 127-year-old drew a standing ovation from the auction gathering as it drove onto the stage. The opening bid of US$500,000 was immediately doubled and from there the bidding moved swiftly to an unprecedented US$4.2 million (the final US$4.62 million price included a 10 per cent buyers’ premium).

RM Auctions chairman and founder Rob Myers said the high price was evidence of the historical importance of La Marquise and the respect it commanded from even the most elite automotive aficionados.

“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 highest bidder has become just the fifth person to claim ownership of La Marquise, whose history also includes participation in the world’s first automobile race in 1887, where it reached a top speed of 60km/h.




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