Rolling History: Some Of The World’s Oldest Cars Take To The Roads Of England

Each year, hundreds of cars from the dawn of the automotive era gather for the running of one of the world’s oldest car-centric events, the London to Brighton Car Run. With the event’s 119th anniversary on the horizon, Bonhams London to Brighton Car Run’s sponsorship and marketing manager Michelle Warner offers a bit of what participants and attendees alike can expect from this year’s event.

London to Brighton

In 1896, 30 motorists set off to drive the 60 miles from London to Brighton to celebrate the lifting of the 1865 Locomotion Act which required a motor car to travel at no more than 4 mph and be preceded by a man on foot with a red flag. This run became known as the Emancipation Run and largely formed motoring as we know it today.

This celebration of early motoring continues today as the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run and remains a ‘must do’ event for owners of veteran cars worldwide. In 2015, the 119th anniversary of the very first run will be celebrated on November 1st, representing a rare opportunity for participants to take their extraordinary veteran cars on this historic 60-mile journey. The run is the world’s longest-running motoring event and around 450 pre-1905 veteran cars from all over the world take part in the annual pilgrimage enjoying the iconic sights of London before heading down the South Coast to finish in Brighton.

London to Brighton

The run is open to all cars built before 1905, making the youngest automotive participant 111 years old. It is a rolling history show, complete with both familiar and more obscure car names. Cadillac and Oldsmobile number the lion’s share of the American entries and are typically joined by other American marques including Pope, Stanley, Rambler, Northern, Pierce, Waverley, and Ford.

In recognition of the large number of American veteran cars regularly taking part in the annual run as well as the significant number of US entrants, this year’s event has a stars-and-stripes theme with a celebration of US car marques. Organizers of the run already have a great representation of US entries – the best represented country outside the host nation – but for those thinking about taking part who haven’t entered yet, there is still time. The deadline for entry is Friday September 25th.

London to Brighton

If you fancy taking part but don’t know where to begin, the organizers have put together some useful advice with you in mind – it also covers how to get a veteran car to the start-line, insurance considerations, and for those who don’t already own a veteran car; it even helps with tips from Bonhams on buying a veteran car at auction. The guide is now available for download from the event website ( and makes the entire process of planning, entering and taking part as easy as possible – worth a read for anyone thinking about getting involved.

If you can’t organize an entry for this year but would like to be involved with the spectacle of the run, there are plenty of places to enjoy it along the route. In addition, the run is a pivotal part of “London Motor Week” – a series of events hosted by the world famous Royal Automobile Club which also includes a Literary Festival, Motoring Forum, and the Regent Street Motor Show.

More information on the event can be found at or by contacting the team via email: [email protected] or phone: +44 (0) 1483 524 433.