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London Motor Week

The week before the London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run is now firmly established as London Motor Week. During this week, the Royal Automobile Club organises a series of motoring-related events, the majority of which are held at the Club’s headquarters in Pall Mall.

Philip Hall is a regular attendee, and always meets a number of SAHB members. This year John Boothman, John Harrison, Karl Ludvigsen, Nick Pellet, Tom Purves, Nigel Smith, Derek Still and Jonathan Wood were among those in attendance at various events.

This year’s Motoring Lectures on the Tuesday provided talks on four widely diverse subjects: Bob Owen on the work of the FHBVC, Stuart Gibbard showing connections between tractors and sports cars, Mike Bishop on the development of the Land Rover and Allan McNish on Audi Formula E electric cars.

Allan McNish giving his talk on Audi Formula E electric cars


Lunchtime on Wednesday saw the presentation of the Dewar Trophy. This was awarded to Integrated Powertrain Ltd for their exceptionally powerful electric motors and inverters which had triumphed on the Pikes Peak Hill Climb at Colorado Springs.

The Dewar Trophy – presentation to Integrated Powertrain Ltd


This was followed on Wednesday evening by the Awards for the Royal Automobile Club Motoring Book of the Year and the Specialist Motoring Book of the Year.  The Royal Automobile Club Motoring Book of the Year was won by Adrian Newey for his How to Build a Car

Royal Automobile Club Motoring Book of the Year – How to Build a Car


…and The Royal Automobile Club Specialist Motoring Book of the Year was won by SAHB member Karl Ludvigsen for his biography of Reid Railton, Reid Railton – Man of Speed. (This book had also won the SAHB’s Michael Sedgwick Award earlier in October.)

Royal Automobile Club Specialist Motoring Book of the Year – Karl Ludvigsen being interviewed by Simon Taylor


One of the highlights of the week was Thursday’s Motoring Forum with four more talks: Evan Ide on European car manufacturers in America, Richard Peskett on the history of British roads, Mary-Jo Ashenfelter-Heckman on motoring fashion (complete with a catwalk parade by suitably attired Royal Automobile Club members) and SAHB member John Boothman on Romance on the Road.

Royal Automobile Club members attired to illustrate Mary-Jo Ashenfelter-Heckman’s talk on motoring fashion


The Forum was followed by a Motoring Quiz with teams of four experts from the Royal Automobile Club and Veteran Car Club competing against one another. The questions were posed by the redoubtable Daniel Ward. If a question could not be answered by any of the eight team members, it was put to the audience and anyone providing a correct answer won a bottle of wine.

The Bonhams London to Brighton sale took place on Friday, with some 200 lots of rare Edwardian Automobilia, and 14 pre-1905 cars.

Saturday was the day of the Regent Street Motor show; the road was pedestrianised and became home to some 150 vehicles of all ages and types.

The proud custodian of Harrods’s own 1919 Walker Electric delivery van (made in Chicago)


It’s not all about old machines: McLaren’s 720S


The finale of the week was of course the London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run on Sunday.

This 1895 Peugeot is powered by a two-cylinder engine producing just 3.75hp and is owned by The Louwman Museum in the Netherlands.

Our heartfelt thanks are due to Andrew Taylor of the Royal Automobile Club for his kind permission to use the club’s pictures for this report, and to Rebecca Leppard of Eventageous PR for her help in getting us to the right people to ask.

All images courtesy of the Royal Automobile Club

Report by Philip Hall

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