Wednesday, 3 May 2017

April Newsletter - Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox

Entries in Full Swing!

We are delighted to report that entries for the 2017 Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox have got off to a great start, with an increase of 16% in bookings for the first week of entries opening.

Don’t forget that if you’ve not yet entered but are planning to, our Early Bird prices only apply until Friday 26 May.
Longevity Medals

In recognition of those who have entered in fifty or more London to Brighton Veteran Car Runs, the Royal Automobile Club is presenting the gold ‘50 Year Longevity Medal’ at this year’s Hattingley Valley Participants’ Reception, supported by Hagerty, scheduled for the evening of Saturday 4 November, at the Club’s Pall Mall clubhouse.

Longevity Medals are also available for those who have entered the Run 25 times and 10 times.

Application Forms for all 3 levels of achievement are available via email to  These silver 25 year and bronze 10 year Longevity Medals will be available for collection at the Hattingley Valley Participants’ Reception in November, too. The cost of the 25-year and 10-year Longevity Medals is £26.00 (inc VAT).
Bronze, Silver and Gold Longevity Medals
2017 Route Alterations 

As highlighted in our February newsletter, Transport for London have advised us that there are major roadworks planned to replace mains water pipes along the stretch of Brixton Road and Brixton Hill starting summer 2017, potentially in place for two years. These roads make up an early section of the Run so the roadworks would severely hamper the progress of the veteran cars out of London. To mitigate this, we’ve carried out investigations with members of the VCR Steering Group to establish a satisfactory alternative route out of London, avoiding the Brixton roadworks. The detour will certainly be required for this year’s Run and, probably, for the 2018 Run too.

It is planned that the detour will start at The Oval, Kennington and take the A3 to Clapham Common where it transfers to the A24. New directional road signage will be in place on the day and a route map will also be issued to all participants prior to the Run to assist with pre-planning and familiarisation. Full details will be shared in due course.
A Unique Spectator Experience

Each year, the open top bus tours that follow the Run from London to Brighton give spectators the unique opportunity to be involved and experience the 60-mile route taken by the veteran cars. Tickets are hot property and sell out very quickly so, if you’re interested in watching the Run unfold from an open-top bus, we suggest you get in quick to avoid disappointment!

The journey starts with the chance to soak up the atmosphere in Hyde Park, with exclusive access to the VIP viewing area at the start line, before following the cars down the route to the halfway check-point at Crawley High Street.

As the veteran cars stop in the High Street for interviews, those taking part in the exclusive bus tours have the chance to watch the cars pass the halfway mark of their journey, before continuing to follow the route with the next scheduled stop at the finish line at Madeira Drive, Brighton. Here, there’s access to the paddock area for tour goers; perfect for enjoying a close-up view of the cars as they cross the finish line and celebrate the end of an historic day.

Due to the unpredictable nature of the British weather, particularly in November, the bus tours are only filled to 50 per cent capacity giving everyone the opportunity to shelter on the lower deck in the event of inclement weather.

This experience costs just £95 per person, which includes:
  • An open top bus ride to Brighton, following the route of the veteran cars, and a return open top bus ride to London
  • Your own souvenir copy of the official event programme
  • Exclusive access to the paddock on Madeira Drive in Brighton
To reserve your place on the open top bus tour and enjoy this remarkable, iconic British motoring event from a different perspective, book now at:
Open Top Bus Tour driving through Redhill on the 2016 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox

Project Renault

We’re pleased to report that strong progress has been made with the renovation of the 1900 Renault Type C that Run partner and owner, Renault, is working on. The latest status for those that have been following her progress is that the engine has been completed and will be ready when the time comes for it to be reinstalled in the chassis.

The aluminium parts of the differential casing have had a mould made and the new pattern is being used by the Foundry in Birmingham to cast the replacement. The machining of this casting will be started as soon as it’s delivered.

The blacksmith has reformed the ends of the various rods for the brakes and rear axle and has also manufactured extra mounting brackets to ensure the correct number can be used when the body is remounted on the chassis. All the piping and the brass finishing strip between the leatherwork and the paintwork has been removed until the painting is finished, which has made it easier to flatten and apply the primer coats.

Further updates will be provided in our next instalment!

From the Archive

Royal Automobile Club Heritage Manager, Jane Holmes, shares some insight into the earliest days of motoring exhibitions from the Club's archive

Those of you who have struggled to make your veteran cars fit for the Run may be heartened to discover that on the evening of 13 November 1896 at 10.00pm that great motoring pioneer, the Hon. Charles Rolls, was laying sideways in a ditch near Hatfield. He was travelling en route to London to participate in the Emancipation Run when his front axle broke clean in two. The large canopy on his car did not help balance and the two passengers in the back of the car were badly shaken having slept deeply moments before. Rolls and his party adjourned to the master suite of a local inn which was `so small that you could not find the window’. The wreckage of the car was given refuge in a local stable and after a fitful night Charles Rolls had to proceed the next morning by train having endured his first automotive crash. This adventure was just one of the experiences that the Hon. Charles Rolls related to Royal Automobile Club members on 10 December 1903 in a talk entitled `Roadside Experiences’.

Rolls began his motoring adventures in France in 1895 with the purchase of a Peugeot carriage of 3¾h.p which was infinitely more powerful than the previous Peugeot at 3¼h.p. Rolls recalled `It was a rather top heavy vehicle hung on three springs and it used to sway terribly going downhill… and of course there were no radiators in those days and the pump would not work above a certain temperature. You had to ascertain if the pump was working by sticking your hand under a pipe in a box behind and, as it was usually burning hot, the passenger got tired of being burnt and got in the habit of saying yes whenever he was asked if the water was circulating… much time was lost stopping for water, which was often very difficult to find, we frequently had to get into private gardens and draw from people’s wells’.

Whilst he may not have had much luck with pumps, Rolls did seem to be popular with the Police, persuading the Chief Constables of Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire to `have their men look the other way’ as he drove the new car from Victoria Station through the shires.
Title Sponsor Bonhams’ Chairman Robert Brookes driving an 1895 Peugeot owned by The Louwman Museum from the start of the 2015 Run

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