Steam-powered car from 1884 sells for $4.6 million


20 Responses to “Steam-powered car from 1884 sells for $4.6 million”

  1. gwailo_joe says:

    Well…isn’t that just a cool old thing.  4.6 seems a little pricey; but it is the oldest of its kind: and the 1% need their toys too!

    I wonder how much it would cost to fabricate an exact replica…?

    At any rate, I’d love to see that old rattle trap try and hit 38mph again!

  2. tilthouse says:

    For making the carriage walking at the first speed, take back the drag of the wheel backward crowbar of the right and take completely and progressively back the crowbar of embriage to you while…………..hurl the mover til his starting.For taking the second speed, push rapidly at the crowbar forward without brutality. When it is raised up again, it gaves all its strength.

  3. GlenBlank says:

    Not a ‘jalopy’.

    Old car =/= jalopy

    As Wikipedia notes, a jalopy is “a decrepit car, often old and in a barely functional state. A jalopy is not a well kept antique car, but a car which is mostly rundown or beaten up.”

    This is not that.

    • MonorailBredpig says:

      Because Wikipedia is always correct.

      • GlenBlank says:

        When I  quote or link to Wikipedia, it’s because it saves me typing, not because I think it’s ‘always correct.’  

        It frequently saves me from writing a long, detailed explanatory post.  

        I don’t use it for anything I don’t know well enough to be able to vouch for the correctness of the Wikipedia summary.

        It’s a useful reference work, not an unassailable authority.  

        But I sort of thought everyone already knew that.

  4. Lobster says:


  5. abstract_reg says:

    I know that alternative energy is cool, but I’m not sure that the amount one would save on gas would ever make up for the initial price tag. Plus I’ve heard that steam is actually a less efficient power source than gasoline. Seems like a rip off to me. Plus I doubt that thing would pass a safety inspection.

  6. Phoc Yu says:

    I believe it was the only car to show up at the race, so I guess that would make it the first car to win a race.  The two sweetest words in the English language: de-fault

  7. I wonder who the buyer was. Dollars to donuts it was Leno.

  8. ShawShaw says:

    A beautiful antique to be sure, but I have a nagging question: How do you steer it?

    • AlexG55 says:

      The picture unfortunately obscures what I think is the steering wheel-  this one shows the controls slightly better. I think the T-shaped handle at the top of the vertical rod is what was used to steer- something like bicycle handlebars.

  9. GlenBlank says:

    By the way, there’s a very nice set of hi-res photos of this vehicle at:

  10. Teirhan says:

    that is a pretty piece of steam-powered automobile

  11. ackpht says:

    Looks like a jalopy to me.

  12. PFlint says:

    I’m gonna say that GM bought it, as a prototype.

  13. Petzl says:

    Steampunk, literal and personified.

    • Lobster says:

      I see the “steam” part, but there’s not a lot of “punk” in there, unless the inventor was feeling particularly angsty at the time.  Perhaps he wanted to stick it to The Man, keeping the people oppressed with his horse-based tyranny.

  14. Jason Rizos says:

    Winning bidder was Cory Doctorow

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