Two of the world’s greatest motoring institutions are uniting to honour the 125th anniversary of the famous Emancipation Run. It was on a wet Saturday 14 November 1896 that a group of intrepid early motorists set off from London to Brighton to celebrate the passing into law of the Locomotive on the Highway Act.
This seminal government legislation increased the speed limit from 4mph to 14mph, effectively ending centuries of horse-drawn transport and allowing motorised vehicles ‘the freedom of the road’ – hence the celebrations.
The Autocar magazine, founded a year earlier, also acclaimed the major significance of that liberalising moment – and the tour to Brighton – with a special ‘red-letter-day’ issue, printed entirely in red ink.
‘Today, November 14th 1896, is a red-letter day, not only in the history of automobilism, but in that of England, for it marks the throwing open of the highways and byeways of our beautiful country to those who elect to travel thereupon in carriages propelled by motors, instead of in a horse-drawn vehicle or upon bicycles,’ declared its prophetical front page.
The epoch-defining Emancipation Run, of course, is still honoured every November by the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run organised by the Royal Automobile Club and, harking back to those first celebrations in 1896, this year’s very special 125th anniversary event will be once again supported by Autocar.
“What could be more appropriate than the world’s longest running motoring event teaming up with the world’s oldest car magazine,” said Ben Cussons, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club. “The London to Brighton Run and Autocar have enviable and intertwined pedigrees dating right back to the dawn of motoring in the UK. Now, together, we will be celebrating the very special significance that the legendary Emancipation Run has to both our heritages.”
Over the past 125 years, Autocar has always been a keen supporter of the London to Brighton Run with regular coverage alongside its sector-leading focus on the latest automotive news and in-depth road tests. Most notably, SCH ‘Sammy’ Davis, the publication’s long-time Sport Editor as well as a 24 Hours of Le Mans winner with Bentley in 1927, was a regular participant right up to the 1960s aboard his iconic 1897 Bolleê tricar nicknamed ‘Beelzebub’.
Illustrating the magazine’s long-running passion for the event, selected highlights of Autocar’s past reportage of the Run are now available on the official www.veterancarrun.comwebsite.
“As the world’s oldest car magazine, and having celebrated our 125th anniversary last November, it is fitting that Autocar joins forces with the London-Brighton run to recognise this era-defining moment in British motoring history,” said Mark Tisshaw, the Editor of all the publication’s departments in print and online.
“As a weekly magazine and latterly also as a website, we’ve been there to report on all of the most seminal moments of automotive news and we feel proud to be right at the heart of the London-Brighton celebrations.”
This year’s RM Sotheby’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run will be staged on Sunday 7 November with hundreds of pre-1905 three and four-wheeled vehicles celebrating 125thanniversary of the 1896 Emancipation Run as they follow a similarly historic route from the capital city to the Sussex coast.
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