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London Brighton Veteran Car Run Bo

Tally Ho!

The world's oldest motoring event, The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run commemorates the Emancipation Run of November 14, 1896, which itself was a celebration of the Highway Act. This important legislation raised the speed limit for “light locomotives” from 4 to 14mph, thus eliminating the need for vehicles to be preceded by a man on foot waving a red flag.

The Emancipation Run has been re-enacted almost every year since 1927, and the 2013 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run is shaping up to be a truly vintage year.

New Partnerships

One thing that will make the 2013 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run stand out is a brand new partnership with Harrods, who have promised to supply the drivers of the 400+ veteran cars with some much-needed refreshments at the halfway point in Crawley, Sussex.

This partnership has some historical precedence. One of the 33 “horseless carriages” to take part in the original 1896 Emancipation Run was a Harrods Panhard-Levassor delivery van, pictured below. Beyond offering teas, coffees and pastries, Harrods will be taking part in the run once more, as managing director Michael Ward will be chugging along in a 1901 electrically powered Waverley.

He said: “I am truly excited to be involved in this year’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

“Dating back to the early 1900s, our vintage vehicles form part of Harrods’ rich heritage and I, being a personal car enthusiast, will take great pride in driving our most prized van from the collection in this iconic motoring event.

“We are also delighted to be bringing a taste of our Knightsbridge store to Crawley where we will officially host a pop-up café at the halfway stop for participants and spectators to enjoy on the day.”

Harrods Veteran Car Run

Rewind Selecta

One of the most dependable traditions of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run is the appearance of a very special car called Bo (pictured).

Short for Boanerges, Bo is a 1902 James & Browne 9hp, one of only two such cars thought to be left in the world. Owned by Imperial College in London, Bo has undertaken the 60 mile London to Brighton Veteran Car Run annually for over 80 years. Every year Bo's driven by a team of engineering students, a ritual dating from the late 1920s when the car was bought by the university as a class project.

Every September through Fresher's Week, Bo can be found sitting proudly outside the Imperial College Queen's Tower, quietly inviting new students to partake in the Veteran Car Run. Though new recruits are welcome to come along for the ride, Bo is always driven by a second or third year student.

“Actually, it takes two people to drive Bo,” says Dr Shaun Crofton, Senior Tutor at Imperial’s Engineering Department and Bo’s guardian.

“One looks after the steering, brakes and gears while the front seat passenger is responsible for the throttle and the ignition advance and retard.”

“It might sound a little dangerous but actually it’s a fine example of how teamwork can get the job done.”

The 2013 London to Brighton 2013 Vetreran Car Run will take place on Sunday November 3. For more information, either read this post again or visit their website.