A historic 1884 De Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout will be put up for auction at the popular Hershey, Pennsylvania sale of RM Auctions to be held on October 6 to 7, 2011. This 1884 steamer is the oldest running motor vehicle in the world. It was built by Charles-Armand Trepardoux and Georges Bouton under the commission of French entrepreneur Count de Dion. It was penned as "La Marquise" after the mother of Count de Dion. The nine-foot long vehicle features "spade handle" steering and twin compound steam engines. It seats four people back-to-back.
The seats are placed on top of the steel tank, which holds 40 gallons of water, good for about 20 miles. Its classy coal-fed or coke-fed boiler can be steamed within 45 minutes. The 1884 De Dion steamer had only four owners, including the 81 years in single ownership, thus, the La Marquise exudes an impressive provenance.
It was a participant in the first automobile race in 1887, clocking a top speed of 37 mph on the straights. It was also a double award-winner at the 1997 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. It is a fully functioning vehicle, having completed four London to Brighton runs successfully in the United Kingdom where it was always the first car away as the oldest entry with estimated value of $2,000,000 - $2,500,000.
Rob Myers at RM Auctions commented that La Marquise is "arguably one of the most important motor cars in the world." He added that with the vehicle's fully-documented history, immaculate provenance as well as confirmation by leading historians as the oldest running motor vehicle in the world, its sale represents a once-in-a-lifetime ownership chance for savvy collectors "unlikely ever to be repeated."
At the RM Hershey sale, the stunning 1884 De Dion leads an extraordinary lineup of more than 115 automobiles and a select roster of memorabilia. Last year, the RM Hershey sale held during the AACA Eastern Regional Fall Meet boasts a strong track record for early, brass-era vehicles, achieving a record 100% sell-through.