On 14 November, 1896, the historic Emancipation Run took place between London to Brighton to celebrate the passing of the Locomotives on Highway Act which increased the speed limit from 4mph to 14mph. The new government legislation was a defining moment in British transport history, effectively ending centuries of horse drawn transport and giving motorists the freedom of the road.
This year more than 320 pioneering cars from the dawn of motoring will leave Hyde Park in London at sunrise (07:06am) on Sunday morning and make the same 60-mile journey from the capital city to Brighton.
Several of the makes represented at this year’s run – such as Fiat, Renault, Peugeot, Daimler, Vauxhall and Mercedes – will be familiar to today’s motorists. However, there are plenty of long-forgotten marques there, too: Napoleon, Yale, Dennis, Flint, Maxwell, Star, Lambert and Gladiator.
The oldest car lining up in Hyde Park will be an intrepid single-cylinder 1894 Benz.
Six zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell Toyota Mirai cars, including The Clerk of the Course, will also debut on the run,helping to showcase hydrogen as an effective technology for decarbonising motoring for both business and individual use.
The historic event’s unique charisma has attracted a large number of well-known personalities and international entries with more than 50 participants travelling from overseas to be part of this year’s celebrations. Notably, Andy Green OBE, famous for breaking the sound barrier and claiming the world land speed record, will be debuting his newly acquired steam-propelled 1904 Stanley.
After the symbolic pre-dawn tearing up of the red flag at Hyde Park, the veterans will drive through Admiralty Arch, down Constitution Hill, past Buckingham Palace and onto the Mall, before heading down Whitehall to Parliament Square.
Then, to alleviate congestion, the route will split into two with half the field crossing Westminster Bridge and taking the traditional A23 route via Kennington, Brixton and Streatham. The other half will cross the Thames via the neighbouring Lambeth Bridge and then follow the A3, A24, A217 and A236 over Clapham Common and then through Tooting and Mitcham.
The two routes will then merge once again on the A236 north of Croydon with all cars reunited as they head south through Surrey.
The course between Croydon and Redhill also includes the A. Lange & Söhne Regularity Time Trial; the only competitive element of the event which requires drivers to get as close to a chosen average speed as possible.
After Burgess Hill, the Run tackles the scenic roads through the villages of the Sussex South Downs, passing through Hassocks and Clayton where pubs will be raising funds for Ben, the charity dedicated to supporting the people of the automotive industry.
Aside from the paddocks at Hyde Park and Madeira Drive, the organisers have suggested the following locations as popular viewing points:
6:45am Ceremonial Tearing of Red Flag, Hyde Park, London
7:06am The start, Hyde Park, London
7:06am – 8:25am Constitution Hill, London
7:06am – 8:25am The Mall, London
7:06am – 8:25am Whitehall, London
7:15am – 8:35am Westminster Bridge, London
7:15am – 8:35am Lambeth Palace, London
7:15am – 8:35am Clapham Common, London
7:15am – 8:35am Lambeth Palace, London
7:30am – 9:55am Mitcham, London
7:40am – 11:10am Coulsdon High Street, London
7:44am – 11:10am Merstham, Surrey
8:00am – 11:40am Redhill, Surrey
8:30am – 2:15pm Handcross High Street, Sussex
8:35am – 2:20pm Staplefield village, Sussex
8:55am – 2:40pm Cuckfield High Street, Sussex
10:06pm – 4:30pm Brighton, Sussex
Further information on all the participants entering this year’s milestone 125th anniversary event, as well as full route and other details, are available on the official website: www.veterancarrun.com.
More information of the charity, Ben, can be found at: https://ben.org.uk/