Although many people think Henry Ford’s 'Model T' car is the oldest in the world, there are several early automobiles that predate Ford’s car by over 100 years. The earliest automobiles were powered coal & steam power. They were heavy, slow, and designed to hold very few passengers.

These early cars often had to be operated by more than one person and consumed a lot of fuel. Many of these first automobiles had innovative features that would influence the designs of modern cars.

'La Marquise' is the world's oldest running automobile. It is an 1884 model made by Frenchmen De Dion, Bouton and Trépardoux. The car was a quadricycle prototype named for de Dion's mother.

In 1887, the Count of Dion drove 'La Marquise' in an exhibition that has been called the world’s first car race, though no other car showed up. It made the 20-odd-mile Paris-to-Versailles round trip at an average speed of almost 16 miles per hour (26 km/h). The following year, he beat Bouton in a three-wheeler with an average speed of 18 miles per hour (29 km/h).

Fueled by coal, wood and bits of paper, the car takes 30–40 minutes to build up enough steam to drive. Top speed is 38 miles per hour (61 km/h). As the oldest car, it wore the number "0" in the 1996 'London to Brighton Veteran Car Run'. The vehicle was sold at the 2007 'Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance' for $3.52 million (US). It sold again in 2011 for $4.6 million (US), a record price for an early automobile.

More Info: