The World’s Oldest Cars From London to Brighton
Every year, the oldest cars in the world, and their devoted owners, gather in England to make the trek from London to Brighton. The Veteran Car Run, held early each November, sees hundreds of pre-1905 cars make the journey in a parade of automobile antiquity.
The Run itself is even older than most of the vehicles participating. According to the Royal Automobile Club, which sponsors the event, the Veteran Car Run commemorates the Emancipation Run, which took place on November 14, 1896. The original run was held to celebrate the passing of a law that raised road speed limits in the UK from four to a whopping 14 miles an hour.
The distance from London to the seaside holiday town of Brighton is a mere 50 miles, but for these antique cars and trucks, it represents a major journey. Among the participants this year was a rare steam car, called a Gardner Serpollet, built in France in 1904. According to the car’s owner, Chris Wedgwood, the car had to be trucked in for the event, but was then able to make the run under its own steam.
Local reports of the Veteran Car Run included descriptions of the many other unique and collectible antique cars. There were three Napier race cars, the first time the Run saw so many of them. One of the Napier models in the Run was the car that won the 1902 race from Innsbruck to Paris. It was the first time a British car won an international race, and the unique paint job on the car was the originator of British Racing Green. Among all the British and other European favorites were a few American cars, including the Waverley, an electric car built in Indianapolis in 1901 as well as a 1903 Cadillac.