The Royal Automobile Club has announced that the 2017 Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, supported by Hiscox, will create an Entente Cordiale this November as the event adopts a French flavor. To celebrate France’s extensive contributions to motoring’s early days, the 2017 Run will welcome examples of those pioneering French marques, two of the most familiar and historic being Peugeot and Renault, established in 1889 and 1899, respectively.
They will be joined by cars from more than a dozen other marques, including De Dion Bouton, Panhard Levassor, Mors, Clement and Bolide, as well as an example of the patriotically named Napoleon marque. Also expected are several very rare models ready to fly the Tricolore. One is what’s thought to be the only remaining Créanche in existence. Built in 1900 by Société Louis Créanche of Courbevoie, Seine, the voiturette is powered by a single-cylinder De Dion engine. Everything except the body — an exact replica constructed in 1972 — is original.
Another French rarity, which may also be the only surviving example, is an 1896 Raynaud vis-à-vis. Powered by a 3.8-liter two-cylinder engine, it was advanced for its day, featuring a steering wheel rather than a tiller. It was discovered in Southern France in 1975 and, aside from a repaint and new solid tires, is absolutely original.
Renault, one of the event partners, is also hoping to have something special on the Run, as a rare 1900 Renault Type C is currently undergoing restoration, aiming to be ready for the 60-mile trip to Brighton.
This year’s edition of the longest-running motoring event in the world will be held, as ever, on the first Sunday in November — which this year falls on the 5th. The London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run celebrates the passing into law of the Locomotives on the Highway Act, also known as the Red Flag Act, in November 1896, and refers to a time when these new-fangled machines had to follow a walking man holding a red flag. As dawn breaks on November 5, a ceremonial red flag will be torn and the 400 entries will commence their journey from capital to coast.
Open to all vehicles built before 1905, the organizers are reporting a 16 percent rise in entries over 2016 in the first weeks after bookings opened. Early bird entry fee discounts are available until this Friday, May 26.
The Run is just one element of the Royal Automobile Club’s London Motor Week. A full week crammed with motoring events, awards and functions, with popular events including the free-to-view Regent Street Motor Show. Held on Saturday November 4, it turns London’s premier shopping street into a motoring showcase that puts the spotlight on veterans, classics and moderns alike.