Vintage cars line the route for London to Brighton Run: Over 320 motors from past events mark the anniversary by covering 60 miles of capital city.

  • It was held for the first occasion in 1896. The purpose of this event was to celebrate raising the speed limit to 14 MPH.
  • Today’s event saw over 320 ‘veteran’ vehicles – that is, built before 1905 –  make the historic 60-mile journey
  • This event was initiated by a symbolic tear-up of a red flag from Hyde Park. The celebration ended on Madeira Drive, Brighton.
  • In order to ease congestion, veteran cars broke into two groups in London and met in Surrey.


Over 320 classic cars made the 60 mile trip from London to Brighton today, marking the 125th anniversary of the annual RM Sotheby’s veteran car run.

In 1896, the first Veteran Car Run from London to Brighton was held to celebrate the increase in speed limits from 4 mph to 14 mph.  

The fleet’s annual journey of 60 miles from Hyde Park (London) to Madeira Drive (Brighton), is made up all vehicles that were in service between 1904 and 19.

‘Veteran’ motors are defined as those built before 31 December 1904, according to the The National Motor Museum Trust. 

At 10:10 this morning, the classic cars started arriving at the beachside resort after having begun to depart Hyde Park at dawn. 

Classic cars dating back to the dawn of automobiles in the late 1800s made the run from Hyde Park, London, to Madeira Drive, Brighton, today in what was the 125th anniversary of the event

In this 125th year anniversary event, classic cars from the dawn of automobiles ran the distance between Hyde Park (London) and Madeira Drive (Brighton).

The symbolic flag-tearing in Hyde Park kicked off the event at sunrise, with some vehicles arriving on Brighton seaside by 10am

The event began at dawn with the symbol flag-tearing in Hyde Park. A few vehicles made their way to Brighton by 10am.

The London leg of the veteran car run soon gave way to leafy villages in Sussex (pictured: Staplefield, Sussex)

 The London leg of the veteran car run soon gave way to leafy villages in Sussex (pictured: Staplefield, Sussex)

All of the vehicles in the event dated back to at least 1904. The event has its roots in a liberalisation of laws governing automobiles in 1896

Each of the cars in the show was at least 1904. It all began with a 1896 liberalization in automobile law.

Before the liberalisation of road laws in 1896, drivers could not exceed 4mph, and they were required to have an escort with a red flag walking ahead of them

Drivers could only travel 4 mph before the 1896 liberalization of road laws. They were also required to be accompanied by a person with a red flag who walked ahead. 

London witnessed the symbolic toppling of a red flag as the event began.

Automobile operators had to be accompanied by an escort, waving a red banner twenty yards in advance of their destination, before 1896 (the date for the first London-to–Brighton car race). 

Following the flag-ripping the classic cars made it through Admiralty Arch and down Constitution Hill to reach Parliament Square.

In order to decrease congestion and demonstrate their respect for modern motorists, they split the convoy into two different groups. 

The group of over 320 cars split into two groups so as to reduce congestion, with one cohort going on the A23 route via Kensington, Brixton and Streatham and the other following the A3, A24, A217 and A236 over Clapham Common and then through Tooting and Mitcham

To reduce congestion, the group of more than 320 cars was split in two. One cohort followed the A23 via Kensington, Brixton, Streatham, and the other took the A24 route through Kensington, Brixton, Streatham, and the A237 over Clapham Common, then went on to Tooting and Mitcham.

The 60-mile historic route from London to Brighton was completed for the 125th time today by over 320 classic cars

Over 320 vintage cars completed the historic 60-mile route between London and Brighton today. 

Spectators wrapped in coats and hats braved the frigid temperatures to wave to classic cars passing through the village of Staplefield, Sussex

The cold temperatures forced spectators to wear coats and hats to greet the classic cars that passed through Staplefield in Sussex.

A small group of old cars followed the historic route by crossing Westminster Bridge to continue on A23 via Kensington Brixton Streatham.

The Argus reported that half of the group crossed the Thames via Lambeth Bridge. They then followed A3, A24 and A217 over Clapham Common before going through Tooting & Mitcham.

The two groups were reunited on the A236 north of Croydon  as they headed south through Surrey, then to Hassocks and Clayton and finally ending up on Madeira Drive, Brighton.