The famous Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run boasts many wonderful virtues. Every year, it intrigues thousands of roadside viewers with its unique history and appeal which draws eager entrants from all around the globe. It also serves to honour all those pioneering engineers for their ingeniously innovative technologies dating back to the dawn of the horseless carriage era.
Furthermore, the world’s longest running motoring event inspires a large number of museums not just to display their extraordinary veteran cars but also to keep them in perfect running order in readiness for their annual pilgrimage from capital to coast.
Now exhibited at the newly refurbished British Motor Museum at Gaydon, the Trust’s remarkable collection adds up to the world’s largest display of historic British cars – at the last count it totals more than 300 vehicles. Around eight of these machines date back to before 1905 and thus are eligible to join the Veteran Car Run.
Damon Hill and Charley Boorman drove the museum’s exceptional 1904 Rover 8hp (the world’s oldest surviving Rover car) in last year’s event, while Olympic rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave jumped aboard its 1904 Thornycroft 20hp tonneau in 2014.
A few years ago the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu did likewise providing a 1904 two-seater De Dion-Bouton for TV baker Paul Hollywood, while the renowned Louwman Museum in Holland always supports the event by bringing ‘Genevieve’, the crowd-pleasing Darracq from the much-loved 1953 movie of the same name.
As in recent years, the Veteran Car Run provides a fitting grand finale to the Royal Automobile Club’s busy London Motor Week – a week in which the celebrated Club presents an array of events to suit all motoring tastes. Of late these have included forums, dinners, trophy presentations, lectures and exhibitions as well as the free-to-view Regent Street Motor Show now held annually on the Saturday immediately before the Run.
Adding to the build-up, renowned auctioneer Bonhams hosts a special Veteran Car Run sale on the preceding Friday afternoon with an eye-catching selection of veteran cars and related memorabilia coming under the hammer.