The early history of the automobile can be divided into a number of eras, based on the prevalent means of propulsion. Even in the modern era cars evolve yearly, most notably getting more fuel efficient as we rest on the verge of electric cars finally breaking the mainstream market.

In 1870 Siegfried Marcus, built the first gasoline powered combustion engine, which he placed on a pushcart, building four progressively sophisticated combustion-engine cars over a 10-to-15-year span that influenced later cars. Marcus created the two-cycle combustion engine. The car’s second incarnation in 1880 introduced a four-cycle, gasoline-powered engine, an ingenious carburetor design and magneto ignition.

Jumping forward to 1888, the first commercial production of automobiles were on offer to the public from Karl Benz in Germany and, under license from Benz, in France by Emile Roger.

In this post, I take a look at some of the oldest cars in our price database to show you what they’ll cost you in the 21st Century – ironically many are now cheaper in real-terms that their original sale price.

1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen

1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen

  • Most expensive sale: $143,000

See all sale history.

1893 Benz Victoria

1893 Benz Victoria

  • Most expensive sale: $30,642

See all sale history.

1894 Gladiator 2.5hp Vis-a-Vis Petite Voiturette

1894 Gladiator 2.5hp Vis-a-Vis Petite Voiturette

  • Most expensive sale: $54,650

See all sale history.

1894 Duryea Motor Wagon

1894 Duryea Motor Wagon

  • Most expensive sale: $222,000

See all sale history.

1895 Peugeot Type 9 Vis-a-Vis

1895 Peugeot Type 9 Vis-a-Vis

  • Most expensive sale: $210,240

See all sale history.

1895 Buffum Four Cylinder Stanhope

1895 Buffum Four Cylinder Stanhope

  • Most expensive sale: $181,600

See all sale history.

1896 Armstrong Phaeton

1896 Armstrong Phaeton

  • Most expensive sale: $483,400

See all sale history.

1896 Ford Coupe

1896 Ford Coupe

  • Most expensive sale: $54,000

See all sale history.

1896 Leon Bollee Tandem

1896 Leon Bollee Tandem

  • Most expensive sale: $112,649

See all sale history.

1899 Panhard-Levassor Type M2F

1899 Panhard-Levassor Type M2F

  • Most expensive sale: $396,000

See all sale history.

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