A 1903 Vauxhall 5HP, the oldest car Vauxhall owns, will run in this year’s London to Brighton outing alongside a 1904 Vauxhall 6HP.
Now that Vauxhall is actually owned by PSA, it’s even keener to shout that it’s a British car maker through and through, the oldest surviving marque from the golden age of car making in the UK, and still going strong.
To illustrate its longevity and Britishness, Vauxhall are heading off to the London to Brighton Veteran car rally this year with two cars, both from the earliest days when Vauxhall was based in London.
The headline act is Vauxhall’s own 1903 5HP four-seater, the 45th car Vauxhall ever built, bought by Vauxhall Hertigae 20 years ago and restored to all its original glory, including the rather odd arrangement for passengers sitting over the engine and in front of the driver.
Sadly for Vauxhall, their 5HP is only the second oldest in existence, as it seems Vauxhall missed out when an earlier 5HP – by just a few weeks – was sold to Yorkshire businessman Keith Stewart in 2012 by the Bernhardt family who had owned it since they bought it from then Vauxhall MD, Percy Kidner, in 1904.
The 5HP will be joined on the run by a 1904 6HP with the same one-litre engine powering its rear wheels, but with just two seats. This car has made 56 previous appearances on the London to Brighton run.
The 2018 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run takes place on 4 November, the 122nd anniversary of the first London to Brighton event in 1896 which celebrated the passing of the Locomotives on Highways Act allowing cars to go as fast as 14mph.
Which, in London, is now almost warp speed.