For only the second time in more than half a century, hundreds of veteran cars will start this year’s annual 60-mile adventure from London to Brighton by driving down The Mall, London’s ‘Red Carpet Drive.’
Although a regular part of the route in earlier years, The Mall has only been used once since 1962 – that was in 1996 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the original Emancipation Run.
This year the pioneering horseless carriages, all built before 1905, will leave Hyde Park as normal before passing under Wellington Arch and heading down Constitution Hill towards Buckingham Palace.
After rounding the Victoria Memorial in front of the Palace, the cars will drive along The Mall’s red asphalt before turning right into Horse Guards Road and then left towards Parliament Square, Big Ben and Westminster Bridge.
A total of 433 entries – up from 389 in 2013 – have been received by the Royal Automobile Club for the 2014 Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. As tradition dictates it takes place, come rain or shine, on the first Sunday of November (2 November), with the first cars leaving at sunrise, this year 06:56.
The oldest car on the event is a c.1888 Truchutet, a 4hp open tonneau. The entry list includes some of pioneering motoring most famous names, such as Benz, Daimler, Vauxhall, Peugeot and Renault, while the entries includes steam-powered cars, electric cars, three-wheelers as well as petrol-powered four-wheelers.
Regarded as the world’s longest running motoring event, the Run celebrates the original ‘capital-to-coast’ Emancipation Run. This was held on 14 November 1896, and marked the Locomotives on the Highway Act, which raised the speed limit for ‘light locomotives’ from 4 to 14mph and abolished the need for these vehicles to be preceded by a man on foot waving a red flag.
The first re-enactment of the Emancipation Run took place in 1927 and it has been held every year since, barring the war years and 1947 when petrol was rationed.
Although famously not a race, there is a competitive element to this year’s Run with a Regularity Time Trial during the event. Participants will try to match their nominated ‘bogey’ time set for a 13-mile section between Crawley and Burgess Hill. The entire event is free to view for spectators, who line the whole length of the route to cheer on the hardy ‘automobilists’.
The Run is the highlight of a long weekend of motoring nostalgia in the capital, much of it free to view. Other events include the popular free Regent Street Motor Show (Saturday, 1 November) and the annual Bonhams Veteran Car auction (Friday 31 October).