Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox

Thank you to all those of you that completed our post-event survey after the 2016 Run and shared with us your feedback. Each year we spend time making refinements to the Run and the results of the survey is one of the key factors that drives these enhancements, so your input is very much valued.

We’re already in discussions with authorities and suppliers for this year’s Run and are reviewing arrangements that may be required for a detour around some major water mains replacement roadworks scheduled for the stretch of the Run that passes through Brixton. Further details will be published as soon as they’re available.

If you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to put this year’s Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox in the diary. In keeping with tradition, the Run will take place on the first Sunday of November - Sunday 5th November. Early bird entries will open at the end of March.

Celebrating French Motoring

Each year we take the opportunity to celebrate the veteran cars of a particular nation. Last year the focus of our attentions was German motoring and, in particular, the 130th anniversary of Karl Benz presenting his Patent-Motorwagen to the world. 

In 2017, we are celebrating French motoring and we look forward to welcoming French participants and French marques from all over the world to November’s event. Our first starter at the 2016 event was in fact an 1895 Peugeot entered by The Louwman Museum in the Netherlands which we hope to see again this year for our special celebration of French motoring.
1895 Peugeot at the 2016 Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox start line

Planning Ahead

In order to help you do some early planning ahead of the 2017, an outline of the programme of events for London Motor Week throughout the week prior is detailed as follows: 

Thursday 2 November 2017
10.30am – 3.30pm 
Royal Automobile Club’s Motoring Forum.
Admission by ticket only

Friday 3 November 2017
1.00pm – 7.30pm 
The Bonhams Veteran Car Run Sale. Viewing Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.
Entry by auction catalogue or Veteran Car Run participant pass only

Hiscox Reception. Admission by ticket only

Saturday 4 November 2017
10.30am – 4.00pm 
Regent Street Motor Show featuring International Concours d’Elegance.
FREE for all to view

12.00noon – 2.00pm 
Regent Street Motor Show Lunch at Pall Mall clubhouse. 
Admission by ticket only

5.30pm – 6.00pm 
Hiscox First Timer’s Briefing. 
Admission to participants only

6.00pm – 7.30pm 
Hattingley Valley Participants’ Reception supported by Hagerty at the Pall Mall clubhouse.
Admission by ticket and to participants only

Sunday 5 November 2017
7.02am – 8.45am 
Bonhams Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox Start – Serpentine Road, Hyde Park

8.15am – 1.45pm 
The Harrods Stop at Crawley

10.02am – 4.30pm 
Bonhams Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox Official Finish – Madeira Drive, Brighton

10.02am – 4.30pm 
The Bonhams Veteran Car Run Participants’ Hospitality – Madeira Drive, Brighton.

6.45pm onwards 
78th Veteran Car Club Annual Dinner – Grand Hotel, Brighton. Admission by ticket only

Please note that this programme is subject to change and additional functions may be added in due course. We’ll keep you updated!

If you’d like to make a booking to any of these functions, you can do so when registering your entry online when entries open at the end of March. Alternatively please contact the Veteran Car Run team on +44 (0) 1483 524 433.

Longevity Medals

As the world’s longest-running motoring event, there are a significant number of participants who have taken part for many years and in recognition of this stalwart commitment to the Run, the VCR Steering Group is producing a ‘longevity’ medal.

If you’ve taken part in ten or more Runs, then you are eligible for a bronze medal. If you’ve taken part in 25 or more Runs then you are eligible for a silver medal and for over 50 Runs it’s a gold!

There is a small cost associated with the production of the bronze and silver medals but if you have participated in 50 or more Runs, then we’ll be delighted to present you with your gold medal at this year’s Hattingley Valley Participants Reception at the Royal Automobile Club the evening before the Run on Saturday 4th November.

Further details on how to apply will be published in due course. 
London to Brighton Veteran Car Run longevity medals
BBC Children in Need on the 2016 Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox

BBC Children in Need

Since the 2015 event we have had great pleasure in the involvement of BBC Children in Need with the Run. For the last 3 years, places on the vintage buses - that have given special dispensation to take part in the Run - as driven by radio and TV personalities Chris Evans, Alex Jones and Ken Bruce, have been bid for on the BBC Radio 2 Children in Need auction which takes place each November, the week after the Run.

During this three-year period, a whopping £741,246 has been raised for BBC Children in Need and in 2016 the auction winners on the buses were also joined by children from four London-based Children in Need special projects who enjoyed a very special day with us.
We are delighted to be working with this brilliant cause once again for the 2017 Run and look forward to welcoming the vintage buses, their high-profile drivers, and of course the all-important auction winners to join us next November.

Project Renault

In celebrating French motoring this year, we’re delighted to feature a spotlight on the restoration of a 1900 Renault Type C which was first entered into the Run in 1973 and has rarely missed the start since (albeit there have been a number of occasions when she struggled to finish due to crown wheel and gear issues).

The time has now come for Run partner and owner, Renault, to rectify a number of issues from mechanical to woodwork. So, at the start of February the car was completely dismantled, carefully labelling each item to assist with replacing them in their correct positions at the same time noting each job requiring attention. Certain parts have been given to specialists for their attention.

The chassis has now returned from the blacksmith after realignment of the rear spring hanger and next goes to the Blast Booth, with many other metal parts, to have the paint stripped – it’s had a coat or two of paint over the last 117 years! 

Next stop is the Pattern Maker to organise replacement of the aluminium differential casing which is showing signs of numerous re welds and cracks. There’s been a strong start to the project and we’ll keep you posted with developments as they unfold over the next few months!         

Bonhams Sale Calendar in 2017

We’re delighted to confirm that our title partner, Bonhams, is offering participants in the Run who may wish to attend their 2017 sales a free catalogue which will enable entry. To take advantage of this offer, please contact the dedicated Catalogue Subscriptions Department at Bonhams on: +44 (0) 1666 502 200.

Details of the 2017 auctions are as follows:                 

 Sale Date  Sale
 19-Mar-17  Goodwood Members' Meeting Sale
 23-Apr-17  The Spring Stafford Sale: Pioneer, Vintage & Collectors’ Motorcycles
 13-May-17  The Aston Martin Sale
 21-May-17  The Spa Classic Sale
 30-Jun-17  Goodwood Festival of Speed
 02-Sep-17  The Beaulieu Sale
 09-Sep-17  Goodwood Revival Sale
 10-Sep-17  The Chantilly Sale
 06-Oct-17  The Zoute Sale
 15-Oct-17   The Autumn Stafford Sale: Important Collectors’ Motorcycles
 03-Nov-17  London to Brighton Veteran Car Run Sale
 02-Dec-17  The Bond Street Sale
 06-Dec-17  The December Sale, Olympia

Bonhams are to offer two Veteran Car Run eligible Lots at the forthcoming Goodwood Members’ Meeting on Sunday 19 March.

Please visit for further information. To discuss directly with a member of the Motor Car Department, please call +44 (0) 20 7468 5801 or email See images below for details.
1903 Clément 12/16hp Rear-entrance Tonneau
£250,000 – 300,00
1903 Gladiator 10hp Rear-Entrance Tonneau
£130,000 – 160,000

From the Archive

Royal Automobile Club Heritage Manager, Jane Holmes digs out some motoring history from the Club's archive

On 14th November 1896 the Motor Car Club made an open appeal for motorists to join their historic `red letter day’ in the history of automobilism. This appeal in `The Autocar’ also referenced the automobile industry on the continent which was already well established as a result of progress being unhindered by legislation. `The Autocar ‘article optimistically noted a number of British coach builders who were eagerly awaiting an onslaught of orders for the motor car in preparation for the establishment of a home-grown motor manufacturing industry following the Emancipation Run.

By the time of the article’s publication it was conservatively estimated that some 400 coachbuilders were located throughout Britain, with 100 of these companies based in London alone. By 1898, just two years after the Emancipation Run, the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers (established 1667) had joined forces with London County Council to offer a Day School of Carriage Building at London’s Regent Street Polytechnic. Many of the course students became the car body designers of the future, such as James Wignall of Mulliners and Alf Ellis of Cross & Ellis.

As demand for the automobile grew, the skill of the body maker was much in demand. Apprenticeships could last for 6 years, with a skilled coachbuilder earning around £2 14s for a 47 hour week when the average skilled wage was 8½d for a 54 hour week prior to WWI. This lucrative period for hand crafted bodies was not to last. Coachbuilding was a lengthy process with painting alone taking 25 to 30 coats of paint to finish one vehicle and as demand for cars grew, mass production techniques were eagerly sought.

The death knell for the hand crafted body in Britain, eventually came in 1925 and 1926. Cellulose spray paint was introduced in 1925, reducing production times and in 1926 William Morris established the Pressed Steel Company in Cowley, forging the way for increased production volumes using press steel bodies. As we prepare for another Veteran Car Run, we are reminded of the skill of the coachbuilder in these lovingly restored pre-1905 vehicles.

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