Veteran cars pick up steam as they rally through Croydon

LONDON TO BRIGHTON PICTURE (NOT SO) SPECIAL: They started coming through just before 8am, six miles or so from the start in Hyde Park into their 50-mile trek to the south coast. And after the spectator buses and stewards’ cars had passed through, there were still some stragglers from the 2014 Veteran Car Rally drifting through Croydon more than two hours later.

There were fire engines…

Veteran car run fire engineAnd there were steam engines…

veteran car run steam engineSeriously… the vehicle on the right was powered not by the infernal combustion engine, but by a puffing steam engine; it was pictured here by David White while stopped on Southbridge Road to add water. It even had a trailer attached with extra fuel for the journey.

We caught a glimpse of Olympic oarsman Sir Steve Redgrave and his wife Lady Anne in their car, while sailor Sir Ben Ainslie was also taking part.

But was the rider of this penny farthing Sir Bradley Wiggins?

Veteran car run penny farthingThere were some splendid-looking vehicles, recognisable today as what we understand to be cars. Such as this, looking as if it was straight off the set of Downton Abbey

2014 veteran car runVehicles in the official were all made in 1905 or earlier, and some of them fitted the early description of a horseless carriage, looking little different from a 19th century carriage but for their lack of a horse, with wagon wheels and no protection for the passengers from the fickle autumn weather…

IMG_1424[1]And there were plenty which looked as if they could have served very well on the set of CODA’s excellent production of Wind in the Willows, which finished last night: ideal cars for Mr Toad. Poop! Poop!

2014 veteran car runThat any of these museum pieces are still on the road is a tribute to their enthusiast owners, some of whom even indulged in (not so) high-speed overtaking manoeuvres. Where was the man with the red flag?

2014 veteran car rally

But this was still the Croydon stage of the rally, as some of the drivers must have noticed if they looked along the pavements.

In the picture below, look to the left, and the spectators on their own doorstep, standing amid the bin bags left overnight. Classy.

Those “Don’t Mess With Croydon: Take Pride!” T-shirts don’t seem to have “hit home” in parts of South Croydon, as our sloganeering councillors would have us believe…

Don't Mess with Croydon - 2014 veteran car rally

Coming to Croydon

  • Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 407,847 page views (Jan-Jun 2014) If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Activities, Transport, Waddon and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Veteran cars pick up steam as they rally through Croydon

  1. sed30 says:

    Reblogged this on sed30's Blog and commented:
    London to Brighton a forgotten event?

  2. Nick Davies says:

    “Such as this, looking as if it was straight off the set of Downton Abbey…”

    In fact the fire engine in the first picture is Jezebel, which belongs to the students of Imperial College and appeared in the recent Downton Abbey fire episode.

Leave a Reply