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London to Brighton: Museums in motion


It’s one thing to display a more-than-century-old vehicle in a static setting, but it’s another thing to keep it in running order — and then to drive it in a competitive event. That’s just what happens every year with the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, held the first Sunday in November in England.

“It’s a unique spectacle and brings notable exhibits from our collection to life,” said Stephen Laing, curator of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust. “We need events like this to keep the cars going. It provides us with a great opportunity to involve our key trustees and also to get the cars out in front of the public.” 

London, London to Brighton: Museums in motion, ClassicCars.com Journal
Damon Hill and Charley Boorman In the museum’s 1904 Rover

The Trust has the world’s largest display of historic British vehicles, more than 300, including eight dating to pre-1905 models and thus eligible for the London to Brighton event. The museum annually enters vehicles, often with such celebrity drivers.

Another museum that regularly sends cars to the event is the Haynes Museum in Sparkford, Somerset. The museum was established by John Haynes of the Haynes Manual auto-repair guides.

“Senses are only truly engaged when you see, hear and sometimes smell (such vehicles),” said Chris Scudds, deputy chief executive of the Haynes Museum. “We’ve always prided ourselves on the work our Workshop and Restoration Centre do to persevere and restore our collection. The museum’s ethos is that cars and motorbikes are living, breathing machines.”

Thus, the museum’s 1903 Darracq Type L is a Veteran Car Run regular. This year it will be driven by Bronek Masojada, chief executive of Hiscox Insurance, a major Run sponsor.

The London to Brighton Run honors the original Emancipation Run staged by British motorists to celebrate the raising of the national speed limit from 4 mph to 14. 

London, London to Brighton: Museums in motion, ClassicCars.com Journal
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DB5 wins Pyrenees 1000 vintage rally

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London, London to Brighton: Museums in motion, ClassicCars.com Journal
E-type Jaguar on the ro3

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Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
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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