"World's Oldest Car" sells for $4.6 million

October 12, 2011 12:00 AM

A vehicle billed as the "World's Oldest Car" has sold at auction for the surprising price of $4.6 million, breaking the previous record of a price paid for an early-era automobile.

The vehicle is the oldest car in the world that still works, and is powered entirely by steam. Rather than gasoline, the car needs wood, coal and bits of paper in order to ignite. Still, it takes roughly half-an-hour before it builds up enough steam to actually travel.

The car was built in France in 1884 for the French Count De Dion, who owned the company that manufactured it. The official name of the vehicle is the De Dion-Bouton et Trepardoux, nicknamed "La Marquise," according to CNNMoney.

That build date beats Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz of Germany, who made their first cars in 1885. They would later form Mercedes-Benz. In America, Henry Ford would not make his first vehicle until about 12 years later.

RM Auctions was running the sale in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and predicted the price of the car would be somewhere between 2 and 3 million dollars. It had previously been sold at an auction in 2007 for just $3.5 million, which is why it was somewhat surprising when the bidding ended up going much higher. The buyer of the vehicle has not been revealed.

Back to news