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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 December 2007, 05:38 GMT
Oldest Rolls sells for record sum
The world's oldest Rolls Royce - 3/12/2007
The car is in perfect running condition, says Bonhams

The world's oldest surviving Rolls Royce car has driven away with two records after it sold at auction in London for 3.5m ($7.3m).

The price is the highest ever paid for a car built before 1905 and is also the most for a Rolls Royce.

The open-topped two seater was the fourth vehicle built by the new Charles Rolls and Henry Royce after they began work together in 1904.

An anonymous British collector paid twice the auctioneer's estimate.

Two telephone bidders drove the price up to its record-breaking high in a thrilling bidding war, said a Bonhams auction house spokesman.

'Tickle the carburettor'

The veteran car has had only three careful owners and is in perfect condition, said another Bonhams official.

"The purchaser could get in and drive it away," Tim Schofield, head of UK motor sales for Bonhams, told Reuters news agency.

"You would just need to tickle the carburettor, make sure the battery has a bit of life in it, remove the sleeve from the starter handle and give it a couple of turns."

The previous record for a veteran car built before 1905 was 1.76m paid for a 1884 De Dion Bouton.

The most a Rolls Royce has previously fetched was 1.48m for a 1912 Silver Ghost Double Pullman Limousine.



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