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London to Brighton Veteran Car Run 2011 – Report and Photos

The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run 2011 was held Sunday, 8 November in London, with nearly 500 pre-1905 vehicles celebrating the 115th anniversary of the 1896 Emancipation Run.

The Royal Automobile Club’s flagship event received entries from 22 countries, with the international contingent representing over 25% of the total field. Germany, the celebrated country in this year’s Run, had the most international entries with 26.

In addition to Germany, cars from around the globe, from as far afield as China, Australia, South Africa, USA and across Europe made the start from London’s Hyde Park to embark on the 60-mile historic drive to the seafront at Madeira Drive, Brighton.

The first car to leave Hyde Park at 7:02am (official sunrise), carrying the famed number one starting plaque, was a 1894 Benz Velo driven by 17 year-old Oliver Wright from North Yorkshire. The only other car dated the same year was the German-entered Benz Victoria of Karl-Heinz Rehkopf. The pair help make up the 24 Benz (1894-1902), Daimler (1898-1903) and Mercedes (1902-1904) participating marques as event sponsors Mercedes-Benz and Bosch celebrate 125-year anniversaries in 2011.

France’s De Dion Bouton was the most-entered manufacturer with 86 models participating, the Vis-à-vis being the most popular with 22 entries. Also among the line-up were 22 participants across nine manufacturers representing steam-engined Veteran vehicles in addition to three electric examples, a 1900 Cleveland Stanhope from Ireland, a 1902 Columbia Tonneau from the USA and a British-entered 1903 Waverley Surrey.

To culminate the celebrations surrounding 125 years of the automobile, Mercedes-Benz entered two vehicles from the company’s own collection and two customer vehicles for the 115th anniversary Run. From the museum collection, a 1902 two-seater Mercedes-Simplex racing car was driven by journalists Doug Nye and Bernd Ostman, while a 1904 four-seater Mercedes-Simplex touring car was piloted by Nigel Mansell OBE, 1992 Formula 1 World Champion. The private entries included a 1903 60 PS Mercedes-Simplex and a 1904 28/32 PS Mercedes-Simplex racing car.

The four-cylinder 1903 Mercedes Simplex driven by Nigel Mansell OBE boasted the highest horsepower of the entire entry list, with 60hp, while a single cylinder 1897 Marot Gardon Tricycle of Matt Roberts (GB) was the lowest at just 1.25hp.

Commenting on his debut Run experience, Mansell said, “Brilliant! Fantastic! I was asked to drive by my friend Mike Penning MP, Minister for Transport. I have to thank Mercedes for letting us have the car, which hasn’t had a hiccup. I grew a beard for the event and for Movember so we’re raising money for good causes as well. This event started so many years ago. It’s a great tribute to the Royal Automobile Club and the organisers. It’s a true testament to what it’s all about. It reminds you how far in history the car has come. It’s astonishing.”

Matt Roberts astride the 1897 Marot Gardon Tricycle was the first to arrive in Brighton in 2011, an impressive three hours and 25 minutes after leaving Hyde Park in the first sector group. In a remarkable feat for vehicles ranging between 106 and 117 years old, an astonishing 420 Veteran vehicles completed the 2011 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

Similar to our 2010 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run coverage, photographer Tim Scott also documented this year’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, offering the following 200 pictures that capture the indelible spirit of the race. To see more from Tim, visit

London to Brighton Veteran Car Run 2011 – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture)

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[Source: LBVCR; photo credit: Tim Scott / Fluid Images]