Long before Henry Ford got into the business, and about a year before Daimler and Benz had a go at it, came "La Marquise". Running on coal, wood and paper, the 1884 steam-engined four-wheeler is considered the oldest running car in the world. And it's going up on the auction block at Pebble Beach next month.
La Marquise has a top speed of 38 mph, and completed a 19-mile road-course demonstration in 1887 with an average speed of 26 mph. That kind of velocity was enough for the car to uphold its record as the fastest in the world... when De Dion-Bouton made another car – a three-wheeler – for La Marquise to compete with in the world's first car race.
The automobile was built for the Count De Dion in France by De Dion-Bouton et Trepardoux, the company in which the nobleman was part owner. Remarkably, some 123 years later, the car has only had two owners since. You could be the fourth if you've got the $1.5 to 2 million the car's expected to fetch at auction. (Leno, we know you're reading this....)
Follow the link to view La Marquise on film.