RM Sotheby’s takes title sponsorship of London to Brighton Run

10-year deal will link London auction to day before the rally

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A 1904 Brennan completes the London to Brighton Run in 2018 | Howard Koby photos

RM Sotheby’s and the Royal Automobile Club have announced a 10-year contract that makes the auction company the new sponsor of the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. 

The drive from London to the British Channel is open to vehicles produced before 1905 and is held to commemorate the original “Emancipation Run” of 1896, an event held to celebrate the end of the 4 mph speed limit for motorcars in England.

“RM Sotheby’s has enjoyed entering a team in the Run for many years, and we look forward to playing a larger role in 2020 and the years to come,” Maarten ten Holder, RM Sotheby’s chief auctioneer and its head of European operations, is quoted in the news release.

“Hosting our London sale on the eve of the London to Brighton and during the Regent Street Motor Show will align two international brands for an incredible classic car weekend in London.”

“It is a great pleasure to welcome RM Sotheby’s as our new title partner for the Run,” said Ben Cussons, RAC chairman. “This important new 10-year partnership with the world’s leading automotive auctioneer will allow us to develop a truly global audience for the world’s longest running motoring event. 

A 1901 Autocar on the London to Brighton route

“RM Sotheby’s clearly shares the Club’s passion for all things motoring, with some of the finest veteran vehicles regularly appearing in its auctions and a long-standing enthusiasm for our event. This new partnership will raise the profile of the Run to a new level.”

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The run previous had another auction company, Bonhams, as its title sponsor.

The original Emancipation Run involved 33 vehicles celebrating the “Locomotives on Highways Act” that not only raised the speed limit to 14 mph, but abolished the requirement for motorcars to be preceded by a man walking and waving a red flag. A shorter Commemoration Run was staged before the London to Brighton event started in 1927.

The 2020 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run is scheduled for November 1 and caps what has become known as London Motor Week.

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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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