December 2019 Scribe Notes

Posted on December 12, 2019

“Oh no it’s all over. 365 days to wait until the next one” were Penny’s first words as we crossed the finish line in Brighton. She adores the Brighton Run and loves every single minute of it. She was even more disappointed when I pointed out 2020 is a leap year so there were 366 days to wait!

Although its billed as Motoring Week, our first event is always the Bonhams auction on Friday afternoon. It’s even more exciting when you have a few lots of automobilia entered. But this year with the continued clearance of a private collection there was a massive 204 lots of automobilia in the catalogue with numerous lots of shiny brass items. We were fearful that we wouldn’t do well with so many similar items on offer but in the end we came away smiling. For the second year running Lucas lamps seem to be out of favour at the moment with prices being much lower than in previous years. There was a good selection of 14 cars entered plus a few assorted parts of a Locomobile steamer. The star lot being the 1901 Panhard Levassor 7hp. This car has superb history right back to the day it was made in 1901. It took part in the first re-enactment of the Brighton Run in 1927 and has been a very regular participant ever since. The car certainly looked striking in its unusual shade of blue with red cloth seats. With such great provenance the car was clearly going to sell well and it didn’t disappoint as it soared past its estimate to sell for double what is normally expect for a 7hp Panhard.

The weather forecast for the Saturday wasn’t good as about 100 of the veterans assembled on Regents Street. Very heavy rain and strong winds must have made it very unpleasant for the participants. We didn’t head up there until the rain had stopped around one o’clock. After an enjoyable couple of hours amongst the cars and friends we made our way to the Royal Automobile Club for the evening reception.

Once again we were on the new Blue Route out of London. Very little traffic and even fewer spectators were seen on this section. I wonder what it was like on the traditional route. After re-joining the A23 at Croydon there were many more spectators and this continued throughout the rest of the Run. It seemed there were a lot more spectators than in recent years which is great. We stopped in Crawley High Street to collect the complimentary umbrella provided by Gatwick Airport. With little storage space on a 6hp two-seater I had to hold it. We stopped at a friend’s farm at Ansty and thought it a good idea to leave the umbrella there as it was a lovely dry day. Oh what a silly thing to do. As we re-joined the A23 at Pycombe the heavens opened. There was an extremely heavy downpour that made it dangerous to continue. We couldn’t see a thing and the modern cars whizzing along this 70mph stretch of road would have struggled to see us. So we stopped for several minutes until the worst had passed us by. How we could have done with the umbrella now! When arrived at a dry and sunny Madeira Drive. No rain there and people who arrived after us had also had a dry Run. It seems that just a few cars were very unlucky.

As always, there was an excellent turn out of South East members on the Run so it would be impossible to mention everyone. But a special mention must be made of John Dennis OBE.driving his 1902 Dennis. This car was built by John’s grandfather’s company at their new purpose built factory in the middle of Guildford.

John Dennis built a 30,000 square foot three storey plus basement building in Onslow Street in the centre of Guildford with a lift between floors later known as the Rodboro Buildings. This was the first purpose-built motor vehicle factory in Britain

David Ralph (Section Scribe)