572 vintage cars line up for race

More than 500 vintage cars have taken part in a rally from Hyde Park to the East Sussex resort in the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

A total of 572 vehicles had been entered for the Royal Automobile Club's 77th rally, though not all made it beyond the start line to travel the 60-miles to the coast.

According to the rules, only cars registered before 1905 were eligible to take part.

One of the first cars to cross the start line was a circa 1894 Benz Victoria. A 1904 Darracq, which starred in the 1953 comedy film Genevieve, also took part in the race.

The event saw former Formula One driver Jochen Mass behind the wheel of a classic car, racing with other participants.

A rally spokesman said: "These cars are all over 100 years old so they're not the most reliable and many break down along the way, and there are always a few non-starters."

He added that though a number of the larger vehicles could touch speeds of up to 60mph, a majority were going at around 20mph.

The annual rally is held to celebrate the first "Emancipation Run" in 1896, which saw the passing of the Locomotives on Highways Act. The act raised the speed limit for "light locomotives" from 4mph to 14mph and scrapped the rule whereby a man on foot with the red flag had to precede the arrival of a car.

This year 164 makes were taking part and the ages of the drivers ranged between 18 and 91.

According to a spokesman, 433 vehicles made it past the finish line in Brighton. The last car was expected to reach that point at 4.30pm.

He said: "It's been a brilliant day. The turn-out has been absolutely fantastic, I think we've had record crowds.

"There has been a real festival atmosphere, with people who were not even taking part turning out in their old cars to support them and some people dressing up in period costume."

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