It’s been 122 years since the first Emancipation Run staged by British motorists to celebrate the raising of the national speed limit from 4 mph to 14. But there’s another special anniversary that will be enfolded into the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run that commemorates that first celebratory drive.
It was 90 years ago that Richard Shuttleworth made his debut in the event, driving what is believed to be the first 12-horsepower, four-cylinder Panhard-Levassor.
Shuttleworth became a regular on the run, missing only in 1935 when he didn’t file his entry before the deadline. But even then, Shuttleworth joined the procession on an unofficial basis as soon as it reached Westminster Bridge.
Shuttleworth was a well-known automobile and aviation enthusiast who died in 1940 on a training exercise with the Royal Air Force. He was only 31 years old at the time.
But while Shuttleworth perished, his 1898 Panhard (registration plate TM 19) remained with his family and became part of the famed Shuttleworth Collection of vintage aircraft and automobiles that he established before his death.
With the 90th anniversary of Shuttleworth’s London to Brighton debut, volunteers at the Shuttleworth Collection undertook a two-year mechanical restoration of the Panhard. They finished in time to enter the 2018 running.
“Marking the 90th anniversary of Richard Shuttleworth’s first participation in the Brighton Run will be very special for all involved in keeping The Collection alive in his memory,” said Stuart Gray, vehicle manager at the Shuttleworth Trust.
“I’m sure it will be a proud – yet emotional – day as we picture a hugely enthusiastic young Richard jumping behind the wheel of this very car back in 1928.”
The Panhard reportedly was built for racing and finished fourth in the 1898 Paris to Amsterdam race with Chevalier Rene de Knyff driving 890 miles at an average speed of 24 mph.
In 1901 the car was rebodied by Messrs. Morgan and Sons to its Broughton style. After the new coachwork was added, the car was owned by Lord Rochschild and reportedly was driven into Ascot by King Edward VII.
The 2018 running of the London to Brighton event is scheduled for November 4.