Vintage cars finish historic 101km run

CRUISING IN STYLE: The 1900 Decauville driven by Dylan Higgins and Anna Palmer.
CRUISING IN STYLE: The 1900 Decauville driven by Dylan Higgins and Anna Palmer. Contributed

TWO vintage cars headed for Palmer Coolum Resort were put through their paces in the Royal Automobile Club's recent Annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

Out of 449 rare pre-1905 cars that entered the run, only 372 completed the 101km journey from London's Hyde Park to the Brighton seafront.

Both of Clive Palmer's cars finished the run, although the stunning four-seater 1901 De Dion Bouton, with one cylinder that generates just 3.5 horsepower, trundled over the line in last place after several breakdowns along the way.

The other vehicle, a pristine two-seater 1900 Decauville, driven by Palmer Coolum Resort's chief mechanic Dylan Higgins and Mr Palmer's wife Anna, fared better and powered home with the leading pack, thanks to its zippy eight horsepower engine and average speed of around 30kmh.

Now in its 116th year, the Veteran Car Run commemorates the Emancipation Run in 1896, celebrating the 'Locomotives on the Highway Act' which raised the speed limit from 4mph to 14mph and abolished the requirement for vehicles to be preceded by a man on foot.

The annual event attracts both royalty and car enthusiasts from all walks of life, including this year, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, television adventurer Charlie Boorman, Coronation Street actor Tony Hirst and Formula One legend Stirling Moss OBE.

Not a race but an endurance of man and machine, the annual event attracts around 500 automobiles with an eligibility criteria that requires the cars to be of three or four-wheel design and certified that their build took place prior to January 1, 1905. More than 160 vehicles makes take part and individual values range from around $35,000 to several million.

The Car Run was just the start of what will be a near 17,000 km journey for Mr Palmer's two prized cars, which will soon form part of a planned vintage car museum at the luxury Yaroomba resort.

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