veteran car

London to Brighton Veteran Car Run

The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run is the longest-running motoring event in the world. The first run was in 1896, and has taken place most years since then. To qualify, the cars must have been built before 1905. It is also the world's largest gathering of veteran cars - 443 started in 2005.

It takes place on the first Sunday in November and starts at sunrise from Hyde Park, London and mostly follows the A23 road to finish at Brighton—a distance of 86 km (54 miles). There are two official stops along the way: Crawley (for coffee) and Preston Park (in a suburb of Brighton). Preston Park is in fact the official finishing point; the cars then proceed to Madeira Drive on the seafront at Brighton.

The organisers emphasise that the event is not a race—they do not even publish the order in which cars finish, and participants are not permitted to exceed an average speed of 20 mph (32 km/h). Any that finish (many don't) before 16.30 are awarded a medal.


Some participants dress up in a late Victorian or Edwardian style of clothing. In 1971, The Queen was a passenger. A regular participant is Prince Michael of Kent.


The first run in 1896, organised by Harry J. Lawson, was named "The Emancipation Run": it was originally a celebration of the lifting of the Locomotive Act which had required vehicles to travel no faster than 4 mph (6.4 km/h). This run was started by the symbolic burning of a red flag: the Locomotive Act was popularly known the "Red Flag Act" which had once required cars to be preceded by a person on foot carrying a red flag.

The run was next staged in 1927, and since then annually (with the exception of wartime years and due to petrol rationing in 1947), making it the world's longest running motoring event. From 1930, the event has been controlled by the Royal Automobile Club.

The 1953 comedy movie Genevieve takes place during one of these runs.

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