Insuring Famous Rides: The World’s Oldest Car

The world’s oldest drivable car just sold at auction for 4.6 million dollars. So how much would it cost to insure?

Antique car insurance

Over the past few weeks, we’ve mused on how much it would cost to insure everything from the Batmobile to the Pursuit Special and The Dude’s Gran Torino. But, we’ll admit that in our excitement for fictional futuristic features and uber-cool gadgets, we’ve forgotten about the other spectrum of famous rides: century-old collector cars (like the world’s oldest car).

Perhaps the most famous of all, or at least one that’s made headlines recently, is the 1884 De Dion-Bouton et Trepardoux. (Say what?) Recognized by car historians as the world’s oldest car, the steam-powered De Dion just sold at auction for 4.6 million dollars. (An awful lot of cabbage if you ask us.)

Originally owned by the Count de Dion and nicknamed “La Marquise” after the count’s blue-blooded mother, the 127-year-old steam runabout can reach a top speed of 38 mph, which was considered lightning fast in its heyday. It doesn’t have air bags or Bluetooth and needs 40 gallons of water to refuel every 20 miles. But it does come with one innovative feature (at least for its time): the ability to seat 4 people.

Aside from its venerable old age and unique history, De Dion also has the distinction of participating in the first-ever car race held in 1887 (it was the only car to show up) and only having had 4 owners in its long, illustrious life. Naturally, a car so special needs insurance, so we set out to determine how much it might cost to insure the oldest functioning car in history.

The cost of insuring the world’s oldest car

Just for fun, we ran the unusual info through Hagerty, our collector car insurance partner.

Make and model: 1884 De Dion-Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout (yes, its name is as long as it history)
Value: $4,600,000
Garaging location: Castle?
Miles driven per year: With a top speed of 38 mph and the constant need to refuel, De Dion will probably only put on a few hundred miles a year, max

Since the identity of the owner is still unknown, we made a few (un)educated guesses as to the driver’s age (55), driving history (spotless), and number of years licensed (39).

Not surprisingly, we couldn’t get a definitive quote for the De Dion, but we did discover that a car this priceless qualifies for more than your run-of-the-mill collector car policy. Through Hagerty, cars worth more than $500,000 qualify for Private Client Services, which give owners their own designated account executive along with unique extras like trip interruption coverage, VIN theft, and fraudulent title coverage.

In reality, the De Dion is more likely insured through a specialty insurer like Lloyd’s of London. Specialty insurers cover everything from legs to mustaches, and from Loch Ness monsters to Wall Street monsters, and we’re pretty sure ol’ De Dion fits pretty comfortably into the novelty category.

So if you happen to be the lucky new owner of the 1884 De Dion-Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout, we’re sorry to say we won’t be able to insure you. But if you send us a picture, we’d be more than happy to post it on our blog.

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