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World's Oldest Running Car Fetches Record Price at Auction

Attendees at last week's RM Auctions sale in Hershey, Pa., stood and applauded when the car named "La Marquise" made its entrance. The car — built about two decades after the American Civil War — is said to be the oldest running motor car in the world.

On Thursday, the 1884 De Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout added another record to its name.

It was sold for $4.62 million, which apparently is an international record among early motor cars in auction sales. Moreover, the price La Marquise fetched at the RM event was more than twice as much at is original pre-sale estimate.

"We were honored to have been entrusted with the sale of this most important motor car from the renowned collection of the late Mr. John O'Quinn," stated RM Auctions chairman and founder Rob Myers.

"The world's leading automotive collectors recognized the incredibly rare opportunity the sale represented, as was reflected in the spirited bidding and impressive result," he added.

Sharing a bit of history about the vehicle, officials said French entrepreneur Count de Dion commissioned the vehicle. The inspiration for the La Marquise moniker was his mother.

Prior to Thursday's sale, La Marquise was just four owners from new. The vehicle ran in what is said to be the first car race in 1887 and has made the London-to-Brighton (United Kingdom) run four times. It can reach a speed of 38 miles per hour and can run 20 miles on a tank of water, officials noted.

During the recent sale, the starting bid of $500,000 immediately climbed to $1 million, eventually eclipsing the $4 million mark.

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