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  • Mary Kemnitz

The 11 oldest cars in the world

Do you get all giddy thinking about how your “classic” automobile is still tooling around the highways under its own power? Well, if you want to be really impressed, take a gander at these cars that are still running – all of which are at least 100 years old!



La Marquise is the world's oldest running automobile, as of 2011. 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. Powered by paper, wood and coal, it can cover 20 miles on a tank of water with a maximum speed of 38mph. But it takes 45 minutes to get steamed up.


  1. Britain’s oldest car is a two-seater Wolseley 6 built in 1904. The car, which is now 110 years old, ‘runs like a dream’, according to owner Brian Caseley, and has never broken down – a stroke of luck, really, since it was built before the AA had even been established. The car has a top speed of 29mph, but no one knows its mileage since it was built before milometers were installed in British cars.

  2. The 1896 Roberts Electric is the world’s oldest running electric car. In 1896, its creator, Charles Roberts, had his friend, the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, build him a stable. The horses Roberts housed there soon had company; a carriage with nowhere to hook the whiffletree, no provision on the tall Stanhope for traces or shafts, and no iron on the dash to support the reins. Yet it moved.

  3. The 1898 Stanley Steamer. This was the nickname for the vehicles produced by the Stanley Motor Carriage Company, the top-selling automaker in the two years before the turn of the century. Actually, these steam-engine cars had another moniker: the Flying Teapots.

  4. The 1904 Rolls Royce. This 10 horsepower two-seater was sold at auction a few years ago for a whopping $7.275 million. That was not only the highest price ever paid for a Rolls, but the sale also earned this vehicle the distinction of being the most expensive car ever purchased over the phone.

  5. The 1893 Benz Victoria. One of the Victoria’s brethren undertook the first long-distance "road trip" in motoring history. Theodor von Liebieg was the driver on that historic journey, and he probably pushed the Benz to its top speed of 12 miles per hour while on the open road.

  6. The Circa 1895 Panhard et Levassor. This car was made by a French company, which today limits its product line to light tactical and military vehicles. But the manufacturer holds the distinction of being responsible for various automotive innovations, including a modern transmission, a front-mounted radiator, and a clutch pedal connected to a chain-driven gearbox.

  7. The 1896 Lutzman Victoria. Automaker Frederich Lutzman followed in the footsteps of his fellow German countrymen, Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler. In fact, Lutzman produced some of the first cars ever to be imported into Britain.

  8. The 1896 Steam-Powered Salvesen. This vehicle never went into production, but was instead used to toodle around the Salvesen family estate in Scotland. The cart not only required a steersman in the front, but also a boilerman-stoker in the back to operate the rear-mounted coil-fired boiler.

  9. The 1897 Delahaye Limousine. The Delahaye brand was best known for making roadsters and Jeep-like vehicles in the first half of the 20th century. But this belt-driven limousine was one of the first autos made by founder Emile Delahaye in Tours, France.

  10. The 1898 Benz Dogcart. You could call this the first "green" car in history. This "dogcart" was the first to be fitted with a electric self-start dynamotor, which helped it climb hills more efficiently.

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