One of my photos

Old Bangers

November 6th, 2006 · Posted by Skuds in Life/Technology · No Comments · Life, Technology

Today was the 110th London to Brighton veteran car run.

The cars set off from Hyde Park in the morning and head off for the coast. Traditionally they stop off in Crawley High Street as it is more or less the halfway point, and it provides an interesting spectacle for the town.

In past years I have gone to the top of Pease Pottage Hill to watch the cars go past. This is partly because it is not too crowded, partly because you get a good view of the cars since they are not normally going very fast up the hill, but mostly because I live just round the corner and can walk there easily.

This year I decided to go into town for a change and see where the cars stop for refreshments and running repairs, and it was a real eye-opener.

We drove down to town on the same roads that the veteran cars were on and there were groups of spectators all along the route. culminating in quite a large crowd in the High Street itself.

Seeing all those old cars is fascinating, although unless you are an enthusiast they all start to look the same after a while. For me its one of those events that I like to see, but a little of it goes a long way if you know what I mean.

Many of the drivers and passengers in these cars dress up for the day in period costume. I’m sure you can get the same benefits from wearing a hoodie and a ski mask, but wearing a deerstalker or leather flying helmet and goggles seems like a lot more fun.

If it was me I would go for the full Biggles headgear and have a white silk scarf with wire in it to make it stick out the back, even while only doing 2mph.

Watching the cars there was something about them I could not quite put my finger on, something out of place. Then I realised what it was – everyone in these veteran cars seemed to be enjoying themselves. When was the last time you saw drivers actively enjoying themselves and grinning their heads off?

The drivers of these veteran cars did not have all the little luxuries which we insist on in our cars like mp3-capable CD players, electric windows, heated mirrors or Satnav. Most did not even have windows, heating of any description, suspension or even a roof. And yet even if they were at full pelt on a straight road and still only going about as fast as most drivers do while looking for a parking space they were all having the time of their lives, and it was good to see.

Talking of parking spaces, we parked up in the County Mall multi-storey and went right to the top. Looking over the railing I saw a veteran car parked on the level below. It gets busy there on a Sunday (its free on Sunday) and you usually find yourself queueing on the steep ramps. That can be bad enough in a modern car, so full marks to whoever got a 70- or 80-year-old motor up there!

Apparently Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, a renowned petrol-head was driving one of the veteran cars, but I didn’t see him.

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