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World's Oldest Running Car Up For Sale 107

cylonlover writes "A very special car will cross the auctioneers block next month — it's the world's oldest running motor car, a historic 1884 de Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout. The second prototype built by Count de Dion, the car participated in the world's first automobile race, which only attracted one competitor. It completed the course, and although it's arguably not possible to have a race without two competitors, this is the car that 'won' that race, achieving a claimed top speed of 37 mph on the straights."
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World's Oldest Running Car Up For Sale

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  • 37mph is more than you need for most Sunday afternoons on the M25!
    • by Anonymous Coward

      37 MPH ought to be enough for anybody.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      As a college educated American, I call BS on this. Cars were invented by Henry Ford. Ask 100 Americans and democracy will tell you that Hank invented them.

  • ...does it run DOS?

  • I'm picturing him standing on top of his car as it's puttering down the road, singing My Heart Will Go On.
  • Someone let Jay Leno know.
  • by ByOhTek ( 1181381 ) on Friday September 23, 2011 @02:48PM (#37494858) Journal

    That is to say, the real Top Gear (UK), not any of the other cheap imitations.

  • by need4mospd ( 1146215 ) on Friday September 23, 2011 @02:50PM (#37494884)
    Now show me the Carfax.
  • Then lowered and have some 19" alloys and a sound system put on it.
  • It doesn't meet government safety, environmental or fuel consumption regulations.

    • Hey it's steam-powered. That means it runs on coal, that sexy America-tastic power source. You guys love coal right?

      Insurance will still be a bitch on a car this old though...

    • Re:Must be scrapped (Score:4, Informative)

      by Bob the Super Hamste ( 1152367 ) on Friday September 23, 2011 @03:24PM (#37495300) Homepage
      I know you were going for a funny but it would only have to comply with the regulations that were in effect when the vehicle was made, so none. Granted it may have to have one of those orange triangles on the back, but other than that it should be perfectly street legal. Also if the car isn't currently in the US it can easily be imported as it is old enough to not have to comply with current regulations (I know this because I looked into importing a car a few years back) and there wouldn't be any import restrictions on it. That is one of the great things about old vehicles is the lack of regulations, also vehicle age is determined by the chassis age not the engine so swapping out and old blown engine with the new one means you can strip off all the emissions controls and only run with the ones needed at the time of vehicle manufacture. This is why I like that my project car is a pre-emissions vehicle (it has some but they are very limited as it only has to deal with crankcase emissions), so basically I can do what ever I want with it.
      • AFAICT, in California the vehicle smogs as the donor, and you're never allowed to swap a motor older than the vehicle, truck into car, or diesel into non-diesel. Once it's pre-smog, though, it no longer requires checks for registration.

        If you live someplace else you're probably right.

      • Well, would that car have any wood in it []? You just might run into some unexpected difficulties importing it...

  • At only 37 MPH it's never going to get fast enough to activate its flux capacitor to get back to 1884... When's the Mr. Fusion scheduled to be invented again?
  • One of the nameplates on the boiler said it was "Inexplosible." CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!!
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      I once ignored a bi-lingual safety warning because the Spanish word for "Warning" is something very similar to "Advertisement". I thought it was spam. Don't worry, my eyebrows grew back.

  • It takes more than half an hour to prepare before it can drive, requires watering every 20 miles, and has a top speed of 37mph. That sounds like most of the crap American cars from the 70s I drove. A funny video they could make would have it cut off by Mr. Bean in his British Leyland Mini 1000.

  • Could someone please work this car news into a linux analogy for me please?

    • Re:Analogy (Score:4, Funny)

      by Kozar_The_Malignant ( 738483 ) on Friday September 23, 2011 @03:40PM (#37495466)
      The oldest bootable copy of the original linux on a 5.25 inch floppy is being auctioned.
    • by Qwell ( 684661 )

      Sure thing.

      It would be like somebody selling Softlanding Linux System floppies.

      • It would be like somebody selling Softlanding Linux System floppies.

        I actually have some SLS floppies in a box in my garage. I don't imagine anybody would want them though. However, I predict a lot of interest in this car. Hell, if I had that kind of money and the space to store and maintain it, I would put in a bid myself.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      Yes.. it;s like someone selling MINIX disks..

  • A car with extremely unique provenance?

    Don't even bother going to that auction Jay will pay whatever it takes.


  • if it's been declared stolen or SORN. Also get a mileage check from its last MOT and that it has no speeding fines against it. Avoid any nasty surprises.
    • Since you are using british terminology i'm assuming you are reffering to the UK, I can't seem to find anything in TFA about where the care is located.

      Avoid any nasty surprises.

      While I'd agree your list of things to check for is good for those buying cars in general I don't think they are the most important things in this case.

      I doubt anyone cares too much about the mileage on a car like this. You don't buy a car like this because of the mileage or lack thereof. You buy it to own a price of history. Did cars of that age even have an

      • I suppose that I would just want to make sure that the car is in good nick. You know, make sure that the granny that owned it didn't take it drag racing before going to church...
        • At 37 MPH is it even possible to get a speeding ticket? The lowest speed limit I have seen in the US at least was 30 MPH (on public roads at least...) and a cop surely won't pull you over for 7 mph over, it isn't worth it.

          • Oh, speedcameras in Britain... they will get you.
            • Perhaps we should rename all speed cameras (and red light cameras) as a tax enforcement device. It would be much harder to hide from the public that all a speed camera is is income for the state. It surely doesn't make the roads safer.

  • Bogus! (Score:4, Informative)

    by coats ( 1068 ) on Friday September 23, 2011 @03:55PM (#37495626) Homepage
    The world's oldest running car is an 1830's vintage French steamer, currently on exhibit at the Automobile Museum in St. Petersburg FL.


    • Re:Bogus! (Score:5, Informative)

      by DRJlaw ( 946416 ) on Friday September 23, 2011 @04:11PM (#37495806)

      The world's oldest running car is an 1830's vintage French steamer, currently on exhibit at the Automobile Museum in St. Petersburg FL.

      The admitted replica? []

      Which is of a 1770s vintage French steamer that is not run and itself a frankenbuilt [] reconstruction of the vehicle?

      Yet the boiler of the Conservatoireâ(TM)s fardier today is clearly under-specified, too small, and without any means to top it up with water. The cylinders are uncharacteristically poorly made and thereâ(TM)s no safety valve fitted to the boiler, even though a valve was known to be a necessity even back in 1770. And there are also discrepancies between descriptions and drawings made around 1770, and those made once the fardier was installed in the museum.

      Alain was baffled but intrigued. He went back to his research and found a comment from the 18th century relating how looters (after scrap metal) were chased from the arsenal. It seems the bronze cylinders and distributor were stolen and almost certainly remade by the museum many years later.

      But what of the clearly inefficient boiler and the apparently redundant leaf spring? Alain suggests that, following the infamous accident, the original â" and now damaged â" boiler might have been swapped for the smaller experimental boiler from the 1769 fardier, and reassembled incorrectly with the chimneys back to front. It seems feasible, as does his theory that the accident was caused by someone inadvertently operating the regulator lever while the fardier was steaming up.

      Running car my hiney.

      • interesting stuff, wish i had a mod point for ya
      • Running car my hiney.

        Put it on the top of a hill, give it a light tap, and I assure you it'll run like a charm. You'd never know the boiler was on backwards. Why, I bet your friends will be clamoring for one too once they see how cool having one is, except well, there's one and only one in the world. Who wouldn't want that kind of prestige?

        Think about it. But not too long because I have three other guys who were here earlier who said they're interested. In fact, I'm expecting a call this very afternoon from one of them. But sin

    • I looked it up at Said car is a reproduction 1770 Fardier de Cugnot. From the website:

      "The original Fardier de Cugnot has been in the collection of the Le Conservatoire de Arts et Metiers, Paris, France since 1801. Currently on display is one reproduction Fardier on loan from the Deutsche Ban Museum in Nuremberg, Germany, as well as a completely functional, faithful reproduction that was created from the ground-up by The Tampa Bay Auto Museum."

      So, the oldest car is on display in Pari
  • Totally steampunk. Miniaturizing the locomotive and taking it off-track was an obvious approach towards independant motorized transit. This makes me wonder, what are the oldest running vehicles in the various tech categories (gasoline powered, diesel, electric, and hybrid). You could break this down even further I suppose. Oldest fuel injected vehicle still running? Less interesting though. Yeah I know I could google it, and maybe I will later...

    • by Chrisq ( 894406 )

      For all intensive purposes, "whom" is no longer a word. That begs the question, "who cares"?


      And who cares about whom?

    • I wonder what steam car would be possible to build using modern materials/tools. I probably would be quite good, well apart from the 'takes x minutes to build up steam" part.

  • Spinnners. A dixie horn. A trunk rattling subwoofer. A trunk, come to think of it. And junk.
  • Too bad unleaded coal is so expensive at Shell these days.

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