THE London to Brighton Veteran Car Run had its 125th anniversary yesterday and many have said it was "their best-ever Run".

Yesterday morning around 300 pioneering veteran cars set off at 7am from the capital city's Hyde Park, waved off by hordes of well-wishers.

It has been 125 years since the first ever RM Sotheby’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run took place.

The Emancipation Run was held in 1896 to celebrate the new Locomotives on Highways Act.

The Act raised the legal speed limit for 'light locomotives' from 4 to 14 mph and abolished the need for a man to walk ahead waving a red flag.

The Argus: Photo: Simon DackPhoto: Simon Dack

To mark this freedom the event is now opened by the symbolic tearing of the red flag, performed this year by Wing Commander Andy Green OBE and Ben Cussons, chairman of the Royal Automobile Club.

Having assisted with the tearing of the red flag, Green drove his recently acquired 1904 Stanley steam car.

Green said: “I’ve been lucky enough to have been a passenger on past runs but doing it in your own car gives you such an incredible sense of achievement.

“Even better still is seeing all the smiles on faces of the thousands and thousands of people of all ages who line the entire route.

"This is such a very special event which brings so much pleasure to absolutely everyone. Just fabulous.”

The Argus: Photo: Simon DackPhoto: Simon Dack

First away from Hyde Park was a single-cylinder, 4 bhp Lutzmann dating back to the dawn of motoring in 1896, followed swiftly by the world’s only Raynaud – an 8 horsepower twin-cylinder from the same year.

Emphasising the eco-conscious changes that motoring is currently going through, this year’s course cars were state-of-the-art hydrogen fuel cell Toyota Mirais kindly provided by Enterprise Rent-a-Car.

A hugely popular event, the run always attracts huge crowds along the entire route and worldwide participation.

This year’s entries included cars from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden and Switzerland as well as 10 from the United States.

The Argus: Photo: Simon DackPhoto: Simon Dack

In total, 87 different marques ranging from Albion and Alldays to Winton and Wolseley were represented on this year’s entry – some, like Cadillac, Renault, Vauxhall and Mercedes, still well-known today, but the vast majority lost to history.

Maximising the lovely weather the vast majority of the 286 starters completed the journey to Brighton well before the 4.30pm deadline to claim a finishers’ medal. Leaving only a small number of starters failing to reach the seafront.

The first car to reach Madeira Drive was the 1902 Mors driven by Clive Evison – the French four-cylinder machine completing the journey from capital to coast in just under three hours.

Ben Cussons was one of the many to make the trip and a welcome hot toddy courtesy of Aberfeldy single malt whisky – after an untroubled journey aboard a 1901 Mors owned by the Royal Automobile Club.

“It would be hard to imagine a more perfect day,” said Cussons who shared the Mors with renowned British scientist Baroness Archer of Weston-super-Mare DBE.

He added: “The RM Sotheby’s Veteran Car Run embodies the true spirit of motoring and it is always rewarding to see that the passion and enthusiasm for these pioneer motor cars is as strong as ever."

“The glorious weather has been really kind this year, which makes a big difference for these types of extraordinary vehicles, and I have seen lots of happy smiley faces amongst our participants, many saying this has been their best-ever run."

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