Car lovers get their vintage motors onto the road for the world’s longest-running motoring event 

Classic car lovers came together today to celebrate the world’s longest running motoring event which celebrates the birth of motoring in Britain.

More than 400 petrol-heads took part in the 54-mile London to Brighton Veteran Car Run which was founded in 1896, with some driving vehicles dating back to pre-1905.   

Half of the participants started at Westminster Bridge while the other half kicked off the event at Lambeth Bridge. The two routes merged on the A236 north of Croydon before heading to the finish line together. 

This Dennis historic fire engine crossing Westminster Bridge was one of the classic vehicles taking part in the The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run

This Dennis historic fire engine crossing Westminster Bridge was one of the classic vehicles taking part in the The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run

This Dennis historic fire engine crossing Westminster Bridge was one of the classic vehicles taking part in the The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run

Having a wheel-ly good time: It wasn't just classic cars that were taking part in the event -  this man joined the fun on a Penny-farthing

Having a wheel-ly good time: It wasn't just classic cars that were taking part in the event -  this man joined the fun on a Penny-farthing

Having a wheel-ly good time: It wasn’t just classic cars that were taking part in the event –  this man joined the fun on a Penny-farthing

Left model Yasmin Le Bon, who was one of the most successful models in the 1980s. Right, two men in a pre-1905 car –  that had an umbrella for a roof

 Among those to take part was TV gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh, model Yasmin Le Bon, Grand Design’s Kevin McCloud and the Mail’s motoring editor Ray Massey. 

Jeremy Vaughan, head of motoring at the Royal Automobile Club which oversees the run, said: ‘This was the very first motoring revolution and in many respects we are enjoying another one right now – but how many people realise that we had electric cars in the 19th Century.’

Alan Titchmarsh said: ‘It was my first time doing the London to Brighton, it was quite unique, what an experience. We have to hand it to these early pioneers.’ 

The first event was known as the Emancipation Run in which 33 ‘automobilists’ set off from London to Brighton to celebrate the repeal of the Red Flag Act which was despised by motorists of the time.

Ray, who took part in a 1904 Lanchester Driver, driven by the Royal Automobile club stalwart Duncan Wiltshire, said: ‘The London to Brighton Veteran car run celebrates a historical revolution harking back to 1896 when motor vehicles were not allowed to travel at more than 2mph and when the requirement for a man with a red flag walking 20 yards in front was removed.    

‘It is a glamorous bonkers piece of British motoring tradition harking back more than a hundred years and today I had the privilege of taking part for the first time along with supermodel Yasmin Le Bon and TV gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh.

‘It was an incredible sight to see the weird and wonderful vehicles taking part from a time when even electric cars and steam driven cars were on the road.’

A breakdown mean Ray’s journey took seven hours rather than the five that he expected.

‘Our journey, however, was not without incident. Some 40 miles after leaving Hyde Park at 7.30am our car conked out, but a brilliant team of engineers from Jaguar Classic Division made running repairs that got us back on the road.’

Two participants driving along The Mall in London. As many as half a million spectators lined the route for the longest running motoring event in the world

Two participants driving along The Mall in London. As many as half a million spectators lined the route for the longest running motoring event in the world

Two participants driving along The Mall in London. As many as half a million spectators lined the route for the longest running motoring event in the world

Blast from the past:  Participants in pre 1905 four-wheeled cars and antique automobiles cruise down The Mall 

Blast from the past:  Participants in pre 1905 four-wheeled cars and antique automobiles cruise down The Mall 

Blast from the past:  Participants in pre 1905 four-wheeled cars and antique automobiles cruise down The Mall 

These men who are sporting incredible moustaches pose for a picture on the Birdcage Walk in London

These men who are sporting incredible moustaches pose for a picture on the Birdcage Walk in London

These men who are sporting incredible moustaches pose for a picture on the Birdcage Walk in London

Half of the participants started at Westminster Bridge while the other half kicked off the event at Lambeth Bridge. The two routes merged on the A236 north of Croydon before heading to the finish line together

Half of the participants started at Westminster Bridge while the other half kicked off the event at Lambeth Bridge. The two routes merged on the A236 north of Croydon before heading to the finish line together

Half of the participants started at Westminster Bridge while the other half kicked off the event at Lambeth Bridge. The two routes merged on the A236 north of Croydon before heading to the finish line together

The first event was known as the Emancipation Run in which 33 'automobilists' set off from London to Brighton to celebrate the repeal of the hated Red Flag Act.

The first event was known as the Emancipation Run in which 33 'automobilists' set off from London to Brighton to celebrate the repeal of the hated Red Flag Act.

The first event was known as the Emancipation Run in which 33 ‘automobilists’ set off from London to Brighton to celebrate the repeal of the hated Red Flag Act.

Among those to take part was TV gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh, model Yasmin Lebon, Grand Design's Kevin McCloud and the Mail's motoring correspondent Ray Massey.

Among those to take part was TV gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh, model Yasmin Lebon, Grand Design's Kevin McCloud and the Mail's motoring correspondent Ray Massey.

Among those to take part was TV gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh, model Yasmin Lebon, Grand Design’s Kevin McCloud and the Mail’s motoring correspondent Ray Massey.

Alan Titchmarsh and Ray Massey, the Mail's motoring editor gearing up for the start of the event in London

Alan Titchmarsh and Ray Massey, the Mail's motoring editor gearing up for the start of the event in London

Alan Titchmarsh and Ray Massey, the Mail’s motoring editor gearing up for the start of the event in London

The first event was known as the Emancipation Run in which 33 'automobilists' set off from London to Brighton to celebrate the repeal of the hated Red Flag Act

The first event was known as the Emancipation Run in which 33 'automobilists' set off from London to Brighton to celebrate the repeal of the hated Red Flag Act

The first event was known as the Emancipation Run in which 33 ‘automobilists’ set off from London to Brighton to celebrate the repeal of the hated Red Flag Act

The event is the world's longest running motoring event which celebrates the birth of motoring in Britain

The event is the world's longest running motoring event which celebrates the birth of motoring in Britain

The event is the world’s longest running motoring event which celebrates the birth of motoring in Britain

 

 

 

 

  

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