The 1884 De Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout was commissioned by the French entrepreneur Count de Dion and built by Georges Bouton and Charles-Armand Trepardoux 127 years ago.
Nicknamed ‘La Marquise’ after the Count’s mother, the nine-foot long creation features twin compound steam engines, ‘spade handle’ steering and back-to-back seating for four.
The seats are positioned on top of a steel tank, which holds 151 litres of water, enough for a range of about 32km when the boiler is fed with coke or coal.
La Marquise competed in the first automobile race in 1887 and reached a top speed of 60km/h.
With just four owners over its life, including 81 years of single ownership, RM Auctions spokesman Rob Myers estimated La Marquise would sell for between $2 million and $2.5 million.
"La Marquise is arguably one of the most important motor cars in the world," Mr Myers said."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."
La Marquise will be auctioned in Pennsylvania on October 6-7.
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