London to Brighton celebrates Richard Shuttleworth’s debut 90 years ago

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Richard Shuttleworth and his 1898 Panhard were regulars on the run | London to Brighton Run photos

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 missed only one year

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.

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Shuttleworth’s car has been restored and will participate again in the run

“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.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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