In 1896, 30 motorists set off to drive the 60 miles from London to Brighton to celebrate the lifting of the 1865 Locomotion Act, which required a motor car to travel at no more than 4 mph and to be preceded by a man on foot with a red flag. This Run was known as the Emancipation Run and formed motoring as we know it today.
This celebration of early motoring continues today as the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run and remains a “must do” event for owners of veteran cars worldwide. In 2015 the 119th anniversary of the very first Run will be celebrated Nov. 1, representing a rare opportunity for participants to take their extraordinary veteran cars on this historic 60-mile journey.
The Run is open to all cars built before 1905, making the youngest on the Run 111 years old; it is a moving history show, with both familiar and more obscure car names. Cadillac and Oldsmobile number the lion’s share of the American entries and are typically joined by other U.S. marques including Pope, Stanley, Rambler, Northern, Pierce, Waverley and Ford.
In recognition of the large number of American veteran cars regularly taking part in the annual Run as well as the significant number of U.S. entrants, this year’s event has a stars-and-stripes theme with a celebration of U.S. car marques. Organizers of the Run already have a great representation of U.S. entries – the best represented country outside the host nation – but for those thinking about taking part who haven’t entered yet, there is still time!
If you fancy taking part but don’t know where to begin, the organizers have put together some useful advice with you in mind – it covers everything from ensuring your vehicle is eligible for the event, to applying to enter the Run itself. If you don’t already own a veteran car, it even helps with tips from Bonhams on buying a veteran car at auction, and of course the all-important insurance considerations too!. The Guide is now available on the event website, which we suggest reading if you’re thinking about getting involved.
If you can’t organize an entry for this year but would like to be involved with the spectacle of the Run, there are plenty of places to enjoy it along the route. In addition, the Run is a pivotal part of “London Motor Week,” a series of events hosted by the world famous Royal Automobile Club, which also includes a Literary Festival, a Motoring Forum, and the Regent Street Motor Show, so there is no shortage of things to see and do.
At Hagerty International, we’re now embarking on our ninth year as the specialist classic car insurance partner to the Run. During this time, we’ve had the privilege of taking part as passengers in this historic event on a number of occasions and can’t recommend it highly enough. The weather in November isn’t always kind but, in true pioneering spirit, the poorer the conditions, the bigger the achievement!
The passion, enjoyment and friendly approach shown by everybody involved with this event is what classic motoring is all about. We hope to see you there!