This past Friday, a car sold for $4.62 million dollars at An RM Auctions Event in Hershey Pennsylvania. It wasn’t a one-of-a-kind concept car, or a super sports car prototype, or even the amphibious Lotus Esprit featured in The Spy Who Loved Me. Instead, the vehicle up for purchase was a French made 1884 steam powered four-wheeler – the oldest running car in the world.
Properly named the De Dion Bouton Et Trapardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Roundabout, this hot rod topped out at 38mph in its prime with a range of 20 miles on a tank of water. Only 20 were manufactured and 6 remain. The particular piece sold was also the winner (and the sole participant) in the world’s first auto race, which could be part of the reason it claimed such a high price at auction.
Previous to auction, the steam machine was owned for 81 years by the same family, who we wholeheartedly commend for such a feat of automotive upkeep. The little guy still ticks nearly 130 years after manufacturing, which is probably the greatest contributor to why the final auction price more than doubled the estimations going in.