In these days of faster and faster sports cars being released by the major manufacturers and the current obsession with top speed and 0-62mph times so beloved of the majority of the modern motoring press, it comes as something of a relief to know that not everyone is obsessed with speed. That’s not to say that there isn’t a place for sports cars and power in this modern world, there is, but up here in MotorMartin Towers the pace of life is hectic enough and sometimes it takes a story like the following to encourage us all to just slow down and admire a special set of hardy souls. Hardy souls that are keeping our motoring heritage alive and should be applauded for doing so.
All of which brings me to highlight for you classic fans out there that precision Swiss timing comes to the Bonhams Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox as Chopard is appointed the official time-keeper.
MotorMartin has been informed that although the Run is not a race as it occurs on public roads, the Chopard Regularity Time Trial allows participants to enjoy a competitive element by nominating the average speed they think they will maintain over a timed section of the route with the winner being the driver that gets closest to their prediction. The winner in 2015 was a 1900 Georges Richard which, it was estimated, would average 10mph over the section and whose actual time was 9.99mph. As I said, speed is not everything.
Ben Cussons, Chairman of the Veteran Car Run Steering Group, shared with MotorMartin that, “We are delighted to welcome such an admired and respected brand as Chopard to the Veteran Car Run. Timing has long been associated with motoring events – be it the London to Brighton or the British Grand Prix – so Chopard will be playing an important role this November.”
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard, informed MotorMartin that, “Chopard is deeply involved in classic motor sport as a partner of such prestigious events as the Mille Miglia and the Historic Grand Prix of Monaco. To participate in the London to Brighton, an event known all over the world, is exciting and entirely fitting, not least as Chopard itself has reputable history dating back to 1860 when Louis-Ulysse Chopard first establish his workshop in Switzerland.”
Rather incredibly, this year’s Run marks the 120th anniversary of the first ‘Emancipation Run’ from London to Brighton, which was held in November 1896. It marked the passing into law of the Locomotives on the Highway Act which raised the speed limit for ‘light locomotives’ from 4mph to 14mph and abolished the need for the vehicles to be preceded by a man carrying a red flag. Heady days indeed I think you’ll agree.
As tradition dictates, the Run – which has been organised by the Royal Automobile Club since 1930 – will take place on the first Sunday in November, which this year falls on the 6th. More than 400 three- and four-wheelers – all built before 1905 – will take part in the Run.
As is tradition, The Run is just one element of the Royal Automobile Club’s London Motor Week – a seven-day celebration of motoring, which includes an art exhibition, motoring heritage lectures, a motoring forum and a motoring book awards evening. The penultimate event in the week is the free-to-view Regent Street Motor Show, on Saturday 5 November, which turns London’s premier shopping destination into a motoring showcase that puts the spotlight on veterans and moderns alike. Then just before 7am on Sunday 6 November the Club’s premier event, the 120th anniversary Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Run supported by Hiscox, gets underway.
MotorMartin urges you to look up further details of the event and access to registration forms by visiting www.veterancarrun.com. For the majority of us that aren’t taking part, this is a unique opportunity to watch and admire some of those early cars and their owners and be thankful that these motoring pioneers are still doing what they were designed for. MotorMartin certainly is.
Where will you go?