From Norbury through Thornton Heath, under the Flyover and down through South Croydon into Purley and on to Coulsdon, the Veteran Car Run returns to Croydon’s roads this Sunday after a two-year absence, with celebs and vintage vehicles dazzling in equal measure.
Supermodel Yasmin Le Bon is one of the celebrities who will be taking a prime seat in one of the old cars as they make their way from Hyde Park Corner down to the seafront at Brighton in the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox.
Le Bon, one of the most famous faces in the fashion industry over the past 30 years, will drive a real supermodel, a 1901 Wolseley, on the world’s longest running motoring event.
She will be joined by more than 400 other pre-1905 pioneering vehicles.
In preparation for the start, which tradition dictates comes at a chilly daybreak on Sunday morning, Le Bon visited the British Motor Museum at Gaydon to take a short familiarisation test drive in the Wolseley.
“It’s been a true honour to have a chance to drive the Wolseley as part of the Veteran Car Run,” Le Bon said.
“It’s made me realise we have so many creature comforts that we take for granted when driving around in such modern, technological cars today, that it’s easy to forget what a huge challenge motoring was back at the start of the last century. I’m now relishing my drive from London to Brighton on the famous Veteran Car Run and even more so, as I’m helping to raise awareness for the Movember Foundation, a great organisation addressing male health issues and to help stop men dying too young.”
Le Bon has taken this week’s opportunity to learn more about how Britain once had a motor industry. Wolseley was originally in the business of producing sheep shearing machines, but grabbed the opportunity to move into burgeoning car production right at the start of the 20th century.
It set up a plant in Birmingham and quickly established itself as one of the biggest and most important British manufacturers – a position it held until being acquired by Morris and eventually absorbed into what finally became British Leyland. The 1901 model Le Bon will be piloting on the road to Brighton is propelled by a 10-horsepower, twin-cylinder Austin engine giving it a top speed of around 20mph. When new, it came with a £360 price tag.
Today, the Wolseley is exhibited at the newly refurbished British Motor Museum – the world’s largest display of historic British cars. At the last count the Trust’s collection totals more than 300 vehicles spanning classic and vintage as well as veteran eras a handful of which are regulars on the Veteran Car Run.
The Movember Foundation is the official charity partner of the 2018 Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run and, with Le Bon’s enthusiastic support, will be raising awareness for men’s health issues such as the causes of prostate cancer and testicular cancer as well as mental health and suicide prevention.
For more information on the Movember Foundation visit www.movember.com.
The Veteran Car Run is the culmination of the RAC’s London Motor Week, which also includes the free-to-view Regent Street Motor Show being held in central London tomorrow.
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