World's oldest car? No, but still sells for $4.6 million.

World's oldest car for families that's still running sells for twice the expected price at auction. French vehicle from 1884 runs on steam, but other models lay claim to world's oldest car.

Courtesy of RM Auctions/Newscom/File
Billed as the world's oldest car for families that's still running, the historic 1884 de Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout sold at auction this month for $4.6 million. The car participated in the first automobile race, in 1887, and achieved a claimed top speed of 37 miles per hour. The car requires watering every 20 miles and takes over half an hour to prepare before it can be driven.

A French-built steam runabout, billed as the world's oldest running family car, has sold for $4.62 million at an auction of antique and collectible cars in Hershey, Pa.

The de Deon Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout sold Friday at the annual RM Auctions Inc. sale to an undisclosed buyer, said Tyler Castle, the Blenheim, Ontario-based company's client services coordinator.

The auctioneer says there are other running vehicles that aeo older – and might qualify as world's oldest car. And some older cars possibly could be made to run again. But "La Marquise," as it's known, is one of the world's most important collectible cars.

Preauction estimates had put the value at $2 million to $2.5 million.

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