Spectacular run of pre-1905 cars takes to London streets during annual event

Participants drive past people having their picture taken on Parliament Square in London, during the annual Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox. PIC: PA
Participants drive past people having their picture taken on Parliament Square in London, during the annual Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox. PIC: PA
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Spectacular cars from the early 1900s took to the roads as part of what is believed to be the world’s longest running motoring celebration.

The annual Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run took place yesterday and the event happens on the first Sunday of this month every year to mark the Emancipation Run of November 14, 1896, which celebrated the Locomotives on the Highway Act passing into law. The legislation raised the speed limit for “light locomotives” from 4mph to 14mph and abolished the requirement for the vehicles to be led by a man on foot.

More than 400 examples of pre-1905 manufactured vehicles were on show during the 60-mile journey from Hyde Park in central London to the seafront in the Sussex resort of Brighton, setting off from 7am.

Celebrity motor enthusiast Charley Boorman and former racing driver Damon Hill opened the ceremony by customarily tearing a red flag, a tradition first started at the 1896 run – men who led cars on foot had to carry red flags until 1878. A pair of newlyweds were pictured alongside the cars as participants drove by Parliament Square in the capital.

Tom Purves, the Royal Automobile Club’s chairman, has said that “few events in today’s international calendar can claim such individuality, personality and character”.