WORDS: ELLIOTT HUGHES | PHOTOGRAPHY: RAC/RM SOTHEBY’S
London Motor Week gets underway on October 31, finishing with the grand finale of the 126th edition of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run on November 6. While the Run is always the jewel in the crown of London Motor Week, there are plenty of other events to look forward to (although sadly not the Regents Street Motor Show, which returns next year). Make the most of them with our comprehensive guide.
October 31 to November 5, 9:30am-4:30pm
Previously held on Pall Mall, the ninth Art of Motoring Exhibition has moved to one of Sotheby’s main galleries on New Bond Street. The exhibition showcases some of the finest art inspired by cars and motor racing, and is being attended by renowned artists such as Michael Turner, Dexter Brown, Tim Layzell, John Ketchell, Jonny Ambrose, Adam Gompertz, Heidi Mraz and the Ferrari Formula 1 driver and Le Mans winner Stefan Johansson.
The exhibition includes everything from 3D-printed sculptures to traditional oil and water paintings, and the artists in attendance will be present to talk to members and guests for the duration of the event.
Entry is complimentary, and no booking is required for RAC members.
November 3, 9:30am-4:30pm
Held at the RAC’s Pall Mall clubhouse, the members-only event will see a fascinating array of leading industry speakers host lectures on the hottest topics in motoring. The morning is dedicated to current themes of sustainability and the future of the motor industry, while the afternoon’s lectures are devoted to the veteran era. With expert speakers addressing various subjects, it’s a day that promises to be both educational and absorbing.
Veteran Car Run Drivers’ Briefing
November 3, 3:30pm–4pm
Participants in the 126th edition of the Veteran Car Run will convene at the RAC in Pall Mall for information about the Run, and will have the opportunity to ask the Clerk of the Course any questions they may have in a Q&A session.
November 4, 1pm
The Bonhams Golden Age of Motoring Sale takes place on New Bond Street and will appeal to those in the market for veteran and pre-war classics. Highlights of the auction include an 1898 Peugeot Type 15 8hp (£275,000-325,000), a 1917 Lancia Theta 35hp Tourer (£120,000-£160,000) and a 1907 Stanley Model EX Steam Runabout (£85,000-100,000). In years past, winning bidders have been known to take their latest purchase on the Veteran Car Run just a few days later. The rare vintage cars are complemented by a wide array of automotive artwork, automobilia and parts.
November 4, 4pm-8pm and November 5, 3pm-5pm
Registered bidders, catalogue holders and consignors for Saturday’s auction will have the opportunity to preview the available lots in the 16th instalment of RM Sotheby’s London Auction at Marlborough House.
The auction catalogue is as varied as ever, ranging from automobilia and pre-war automobiles to the latest supercars. You can check the catalogue online here.
November 5, 9:30am-3:30pm
This free-to-attend display of veteran cars is the traditional curtain raiser for the Veteran Car Run. This year, it gets a new location, moving next to St James’s Palace on Marlborough Road, which is being closed to traffic for the day.
The concours includes around 100 of the 350 veteran machines taking part in the Run, and is headlined by the reunion of three Napier racing cars in celebration of the 120th anniversary of Selwyn Francis Edge’s victory in the Gordon Bennett Cup of 1902 – Britain’s first major success in international motor sport.
Television personality Alan Titchmarsh has been drafted in to present the concours awards, presenting silverware for Best of Show, category winners and a special prize for the drivers and passengers wearing the best period outfits.
November 5, 3pm-5pm
RM Sotheby’s 16th London Auction gets underway in an all-new venue at the historic Marlborough House for one of the last major sales of the year. The exciting 54-lot catalogue is as eclectic as ever, and is sure to appeal to swathes of car and automobilia collectors.
The pre-auction estimates are headlined by a 2022 Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ (£4m-4.5m), a 1985 Ferrari 288GTO (£3.25m-4m) and a 1997 Ferrari F50 (£3.25m-4m). There’s also a trio of Group B rally cars on offer: a 1985 Audi Sport Quattro S1 (£1.75m-2.25m), a 1985 Lancia Delta S4 (£1.75m-2.25m) and a 1982 Lancia 037 (£950,000-1.2m).
November 6, 7:02am-4:30pm
First held in 1896, the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run is the longest-running motoring event on the planet, and was first held when the British government passed the 1896 Locomotives on the Highway Act that heralded the dawn of the motor age.
After the traditional tearing of the flag at 6:45am, around 300 pre-1905 veteran cars set off for the 60-mile pilgrimage from Serpentine Road in Hyde Park. They must reach Madeira Drive in Brighton by 4:30pm to successfully finish the Run.
As the grand finale of London Motor Week, the Run provides a plethora of challenges for the crews taking part, who must navigate through modern traffic, participate in a Regularity Rally and ensure they reach their destination by the cut-off time. Those who successfully make it to Madeira Drive are rewarded with a warming wintry hot toddy of Aberfeldy single malt whisky.
It’s an unforgettable event for crews and spectators alike, and the beauty of the length of the rally and the pedestrian pace of the cars is that there’s plenty of time to reach the many recommended viewing points. Click here for a map of the route.
7.02am-8.20am: Constitution Hill, London
7.05am-8.20am: The Mall, London
7.05am-8.20am: Whitehall, London
7.10am-9.20am: Lambeth Palace, London
7.20am-9.20am: Clapham Common
7.35am-11.05am: Coulsdon High Street
7.55am-11.35am Redhill – crossroads where Brighton Road, A23 meets Mill Lane and Hooley Lane
8.25am-2.10pm: Handcross – The Red Lion, High Street, B2110
8.30am-2.15pm: Staplefield, B2114 – The Jolly Tanners, RH17 6EF and The Victory Inn, RH17 6EU
8.50am-2.35pm: Cuckfield High Street, B2036
10.02am-4.25pm: Brighton – St Peters Church, York Place, BN1 4GU