One-hundred-twenty years ago, in London, England, cars rolled en mass, quite slowly, in an inaugural motor run.
The UK London to Brighton Vintage Car Run started on Nov. 14, 1896 and was originally called “The Motor Car Tour to Brighton.”
On Sunday, Nov. 1, the Old English Car Club’s Vancouver Coast Branch will pay tribute to the run that happened near the turn of the 19th century.
The 21st annual London to Brighton Commemorative Run starts at the Delta Town and Country Inn and winds up at the Fox and Fiddle Pub restaurant on the Langley Bypass.
“Our run commemorates the UK ‘London to Brighton Vintage Car Run’ which takes place the same day,” said Malcolm Tait, a member of the organizing committee, and a member of the Old English Car Club, Vancouver Coast Branch.
Registration is $10, with 100 per cent of the proceeds being donated to REACH Child and Youth Development Society in Delta and Langley.
Optional is a London to Brighton Plate, at $10 each, and a run patch for $10 apiece.
Unlike the UK run, where cars must be 1904 or older, owners of all ages and models of British cars can take part.
Langley’s Tony Cox will once again drive his 1962 MGA MK2 on this year’s run.
Last year, he completed the run with his car’s roof up on a cold and misty day. Cox described last year’s run as “cold and wet.”
“The heater in my car works pretty good, the windshield wipers work and so long as you don’t stop, you really don’t get that wet.”
The participation is going to be “really dependent on the weather,” Cox said.
The run averages 35 to 40 cars each year but a few years ago, on a particularly bright, sunny day, there were between 50 and 60 cars involved.
“The more people who enter it, the more money we can donate to the charity,” Cox said. “That’s basically the philosophy behind it, and the idea of commemorating a run that’s been going in England for 120 years is kind of neat, too.”
The UK run celebrates the repeal of the British law that limited motorized vehicle speed to 4 mph (6.4 kph) and required motorized vehicles to be led by a person waving a red flag.
The 4 mph was considered the pace of a fast walking person.
The new speed limit was 14 mph (22.5 kph).
Last year (2015) more than 400 cars participated in the event.
“That’s a lot of very old cars,” Tait said.
The OECC Vancouver Coast Branch has been holding a celebratory run since 1996 (the 100th anniversary of the UK run).
For the first 12 years it was called the Ladner to Bellingham Run, with the route going through Ladner and ending of course in Bellingham.
Due to delays at the border, the route was changed to remain in the Lower Mainland and the event’s name changed to reflect this.
Next Sunday, registration is on site starting at 9:15 a.m., and the cars will start their journey at 10 a.m. from the Delta Town and Country Inn, 6005 Hwy 17A (near the Massey Tunnel) and ending at the Fox and Fiddle.
Cars should start arriving at the restaurant from 12:30 p.m.
“It’s not a timed run or anything like that,” Cox said. “We have a route sheet, and people drive the route.”