1884 De Dion Runabout sold for $4.62 million

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 10, 2011

How much would the world’s oldest running motor car fetch when sold? Well, the final sales price was enough to break the world record for an early motor car sold at auction at $4.62 million. This car is no other than the 1884 De Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout, which was recently placed under the hammer at RM Auctions in Hershey, Pennsylvania. To note, the $4.62 million sale price is more than double its original pre-sale estimate.

The 1884 De Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout was commissioned by Count de Dion, naming it 'La Marquise' after his mother. When the car was driven onto RM's Hershey auction stage, it was historic enough to draw a standing ovation from the audience. Starting bid was $500,000, which instantly surged to $1,000,000. By the time the bidding reached $4,200,000, the hammer finally struck.

Once the 10-percent buyers' premium is included, the final sales price reached $4,620,000. Its new owner becomes one of the elite five collectors who boast of having La Marquise in their collection. This historic motor car took part in the first auto race in 1887, logging 37 mph in top speed on the straights. It also grabbed a double award at the 1997 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Moreover, the 1884 De Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout has completed four London to Brighton runs in the United Kingdom. Rob Myers, Chairman and Founder of RM Auctions, remarked that the company had the honor of selling what is considered as the most important motor car from the collection of the John O'Quinn.

He remarked that the rare opportunity of owning such a historic car has been recognized by leading collectors in the world and was reflected in the spirited bidding and the final price.

Press Release

WORLD'S OLDEST RUNNING MOTOR CAR BRINGS A REMARKABLE $4,620,000 AT RM'S HERSHEY, PENNSYLVANIA SALE

The world's oldest running motor car, a historic 1884 De Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout, entered the history books tonight, selling for an impressive $4.62 million before a packed house at RM Auctions' Hershey, Pennsylvania sale. The impressive sale price more than doubled its original pre-sale estimate and represents a new world record for an early motor car sold at auction.

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. Attracting a starting bid of $500,000 and immediately jumping to $1,000,000, bidding moved swiftly to applause from the crowd, with the gavel eventually falling at an extraordinary $4,200,000. The final sales price of $4,620,000 includes 10% buyers' premium.

"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 & Founder, RM Auctions following the sale.

The new owner joins an elite list of just five collectors to have claimed ownership of La Marquise over its well-documented history. In addition to being the world's oldest running motor car, La Marquise's impressive 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.

Topics: classic car, auction

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