1884 De Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-A-Dos
|Model History||Auction sales research||Specifications||Body styles and Chassis Data|
Engine/Mechanical Component Photos
DeDion named the prototype car 'La Marquise' in honor of his mother. It would be used in 1887 in the 20-mile race from the pont de Neuilly in Paris to Versailles and back. La Marquise was the only light steamer in the race. Bouton drove the solo race in 1 hour and 14 minutes with an average speed of 16 mph. Top speed was reported to be 37 mph.
In 1888 DeDion drove La Marquise to a victory over Georges Bouton who was driving a light steam tricycle.
The Count would retain La Marquise for many years, even after the popularity of steam powered cars faded. After many years, the next owner of the steamer was an artillery officer named Doriol. By this point in history, some of the little carriage's bonze and copper plumbing had been stripped and used for making shell casings.
La Marquise was displayed at the 1925 Grand Exhibition in Grenoble and was awarded a Special Diplome d'Honneur. A restoration was attempted but never really finished until June of 1987, when it was sold for only the second time in its life. A British individual was its next owner, who acquired permission to have it exported from France. A complete restoration was commissioned bringing it to original running order.
This car is a multi-award winning vehicle, as would be expected. It outclasses every rival in terms of heritage, distinction, uniqueness, pedigree, and history. It won the UK National Steam heritage Premier Award for Restoration and Preservation in 1991. In 1997 at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, it was a double first place winner, winning the U1 class for pioneer steam cars. The Automobile Quarterly awarded it the Historians Trophy for the 'Most Historically Important Car at the Show.'
It was honored at the 1996 Louis Vuitton Concours at the Royal Hurlingham Club, London. It was class winner of pre-century steam vehicles in 1999 at the Cartier 'Style et Luxe' Concours at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. In 1994 and 1998 it made featured demonstration runs at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
It has completed the 62-mile London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run and the Evelyn Ellis Centenary Run.
The car has changed ownership only twice in nearly 125 years. It is the world's oldest racing car, the world's oldest functioning automobile in private hands, and the holder of many prestigious awards.
In 2007 it was brought to auction and offered for sale. This was a rare opportunity that truly is a once-in-a-lifetime affair. It was one of the highlights of the auction and took a prominent display location throughout the auction preview days. As it crossed the auction block, bidding was energetic. As the gavel fell for the third and final time, the lot had been sold for $3,520,000 including buyer's premium.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
|Auction Sales Information|
|Auction||Gooding & Company|
|Auction||RM Auctions - Hershey|
|RM's Hershey, Pennsylvania Sale||Gallery|
|Gooding & Company||1884-1912|