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Resource Guide
Auction Central
By Larry Edsall
Back to Community

World’s oldest running car heads for Hershey auction block
By Larry Edsall

Larry Edsall at What is considered to be the world's oldest running car -- the 1884 De Dion Bouton Et Trepardoux Dos-A-Dos steam runabout -- will be offered for sale during RM Auctions Hershey event October 6-7. Pre-auction estimated price is in the $2 - $2.5-million range for a vehicle that has had only four owners since it was new.

Nicknamed "La Marquise" after Count de Dion's mother, the 127-year-old vehicle is powered by twin compound steam engines and rides on a 43-inch wheelbase.

As the story goes, in December 1881, Comte de Dion was looking at model toys with working steam engines and asked George Bouton and Charles-Armand Trepardoux if they could build a steam engine large enough to power a full-size carriage. First they built a steam-powered tricycle, then, in 1883, a quadricycle with a boiler so large it looked like a coffee pot on wheels. A year later, they modified their design to create "La Marquise."

Bouton was at the steering tiller in 1887 when "La Marquise" was the only car on the starting line for what was to be the world's first auto race -- Paris to Versailles. He drove the 20-mile course at an average of 16 miles per hour and reached 37 mph on straight sections of the route.

Count De Dion kept "La Marquise" until 1906, when he sold it to French army officer Henri Doriol, whose family retained ownership for 81 years but never got it running. They sold it at auction in 1987 to British Veteran Car Club member Tim Moore, who returned it to running order and even entered the London-to-Brighton run four times. As the oldest car in the event, the De Dion always gets to be the first car off the line. The car can cover 20 miles on a 40-gallon tank of water.

Moore couldn't decide to which of his two children to leave the car, so he sold it to the late John O'Quinn, whose estate is the consignor at the RM auction.

Also on the docket at Hershey are a1903 Columbia Electric Surrey, a 1904 Oldsmobile "French Front" touring runabout, a 1905 Tribelhorn Electric Brougham, a 1912 Mercedes 28/50 PS Town Car, and a 1913 Argo Electric Fore-Drive limousine, 1913 Pope Hartford 50-hp four-passenger touring phaeton, 1913 Stevens-Duryea Model C 5-passenger touring, and eight vehicles from the Nethercutt Collection, including a 1931 Studebaker President Eight four-seasons roadster and 1927 Packard Six five-passenger phaeton.

Bikes at Barber
RM's Auctions America division will stage its second major motorcycle sale October 8 with more than 150 two-wheelers on the block in conjunction with the Barber Vintage Festival at Birmingham, Alabama. Among those bikes are a 1915 Harley-Davidson V-Twin Electric (that's electric as in the first year for electric lights on a Harley), a 1926 Ace 1000cc, and a 1956 Triton 650cc T120R cafe racer.

Auctions America also has scheduled an all-bikes auction January 12-14 at Las Vegas with early consignments including a 1910 1/2 Yale Single Cylinder, a 1911 Wagner, 1911 Sears Single Cylinder and 1929 Cleveland.

Barrett-Jackson's Vegas jackpot: $24 million
The sale of nearly 600 vehicles brought in more than $24 million at Barrett-Jackson's annual Las Vegas sale. The top sale for a vehicle not being sold to benefit a charity was $264,000 for the a 2009 Mosler Raptor GTR. The high sale of $700,000 was for a customized 1964 Ford Fairlane offered by Barrett-Jackson president Steve Davis to benefit the Armed Forces Foundation. Third- and fourth-high sales also benefited charities -- the YMCA of Southern Nevada and the Darrell Gwynn Foundation, respectively -- with a winning bid of $250,000 for the first Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 offered for public sale and of $200,000 for a 1971 Plymouth 'Cuda custom hardtop.

Mecum St. Charles brings $12 million
Mecum Auctions' 1000-vehicle September event at St. Charles, Illinois, brought in more than $12 million with a 55-percent sell through rate.

The top sales were a 1969 For Mustang Boss 429 for $290,000, a 1969 Chevrolet Yenko Camaro for $177,500 and another '69 Yenko Camaro for $162,000. A 1957 Pontiac Bonneville convertible went for $150,000.

Larry Edsall at Glenmoor auction does $1.1 million
Classic Motorcar Auctions second annual Grande Salon Antique and Classic Car Auction, held at Canton, Ohio, in conjunction with the Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Cars, posted sales of $1.1 million with 121 vehicles crossing the block.

The top sale was $172,800 for an unrestored 1933 Marmon Sixteen LeBaron convertible sedan. A 1954 Cadillac Eldorado convertible brought $108,000.

Larry Edsall at Simeone selects Breedlove for 'Spirit' honors
The Simeon Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia will award its "Spirit of Competition" award on October 19 to Craig Breedlove, the first person to exceed 400, 500 and 600 miles per hour on land.

"Craig Breedlove represents what you can achieve if you have a clear vision and determination," said museum director Fred Simeone. "With only a handful of volunteers and a shoestring budget, he was able to accomplish what many others could not. His achievements captured the country's imagination and made him a household name."

In the 1960s, Breedlove was determined to bring the land speed record, held since the 1930s by British drivers, back to the United States. On August 5, 1963, he piloted his Spirit of America jet engine-powered car to a two-way average of more than 407 mph on the salt flats of Bonneville. A year later, he broke through the 500 mph barrier, but destroyed his car in the process, and narrowly escaped serious injury. He returned in 1965 with a new car, the Sonic I, and went 600.601 mph.

Shortly before exceeding 600 mph in November, 1965, Breedlove set 23 international speed records – including averaging 150 mph for 12 hours - co-driving the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe (CSX2287) that is one of the star displays at the Simeone Museum.

A car show Jaws would love
So far this year there have been some car shows in unusual settings. For example, Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers. Come October 22-23, the Georgia Aquarium, which humbly calls itself the "world's largest aquarium," will showcase 40 "museum-quality vehicles, including a "shark" -- the 1961 Chevrolet Mako Shark Corvette concept car at the Oceans & Autos show in Atlanta.

Velocity channel focuses on classic cars
Discovery Communications launches its new Velocity channel on October 4. The all-HD network targets "upscale men" with programming centered on professional football and cars.

Among the automotive content: Chasing Classic Cars with Wayne Carini, Mecum Auto Auctions; Inside West Coast Customs, Motorweek, American Icon with Chip Foose, and What's My Car Worth? with Keith Martin.

Another program is called Extreme Fishing, but we're pretty sure it has anything to do with the Georgia Aquarium or the Chevy Mako Shark.

Click here for event calendar.


Click here for more articles by Larry Edsall.

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