Steam-powered 1884 De Dion Bouton goes up for auction in California
11 July 2007

What is claimed to be the world's oldest car is up for sale at Pebble Beach, California in August, if you have a spare £1m or so.

The car is a De Dion Bouton & Trepardoux, known as La Marquise. It was made in 1884 – a year before Daimler and Benz made their first machine, and 11 years before Autocar was established.

La Marquise is powered by a steam boiler, and is credited with winning the world's first car race, from Paris to Neuilly and back in 1887, at an average of 27mph. Top speed is said to be 38mph (presumably if you're burning the right blend of wood, coal and paper).

The De Dion is said to have only had three owners in its lifetime. It will be auctioned by Gooding & Co at Pebble Beach on 19 August.

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