It’s been around the block a few times. But that didn’t put the brakes on an auction for the world’s oldest car, where bidding closed at a staggering $4.6 million last week.
A steam-powered automobile, billed as the oldest-operable car in the world, fetched more than twice its estimated price at the RM Auctions house in Hershey, Pa., CNNMoney reports.
The buyer’s name has not been made public, but along with their new wheels, the mystery bidder is now in possession of the record for the highest price ever paid for an early automobile at auction.
So what’s the story behind this rusty roadster? The four-wheeled De Dion-Bouton et Trepardoux, nicknamed “La Marquise,” was built in 1884 for the French Count De Dion, one of the founders of the company that built it. It’s thought the quaint Count named the car in tribute to his mother.
Fueled by coal, wood and bits of paper, the car was viewed as a groundbreaking achievement and first saw racing action in 1887, when it came close to touching its top speed of 38mph.
And despite taking nearly 30 minutes to work up enough steam to drive, the car still retains it green credentials: it can run up to 20 miles on a single tank of water.