1884 de Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout
As the month of October nears, it means one thing for generations of of collector-car enthusiasts: Hershey Week Sale! A very special car will cross the autcioneers block as part of RM Auctions’ popular Hershey, Pennsylvania sale – it’s the world’s oldest running motor car, a historic 1884 de Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout. Although it takes more than half an hour to steam before it can be driven and needs watering every 20 miles, it is nonetheless, one of the most significant automobiles in history.
In 1884 a French company showcased the De Dion Bouton et Trepardoux a four wheel steam powered car, named La Marquise after the Count de Dion’s mother, who was one of the Co-founders of the company. The La Marquise fired up its steam boiler with a coal fire. It reach a top speed of about 38 mph that allowed it to win the very first automobile race, covering 19 miles, in 1887. It won this race in competition with the three wheeled version of the De Dion Bouton.
Measuring just nine feet in length, La Marquise features twin compound steam engines, spade handle steering and seats four people dos-a-dos (back-to-back). The seats are located on top of the steel tank, which holds 40 gallons of water.
With just four owners from new, including 81 years in single ownership, La Marquise is naturally expected to create quite a bit of interest with auctioneers RM Auctions expecting somewhere beyond $2.0 million.
The Hershey sale will also feature a fascinating collection of early electric vehicles, including a 1903 Columbia Electric Surrey, the only known survivor (Est. $70,000 – $90,000); a rare Swiss-built 1905 Tribelhorn Electric Brougham (Est. $70,000 – $90,000); and an unusual 1913 Argo Electric Fore-Drive Limousine (Est. $100,000 – $150,000). [RM Auctions]