This year’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run (November 3) proved to be a very rewarding event. In the spirit of the proverb – ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again’ – the 1896 Raynaud Vis-à-Vis successfully completed the Run for the first time and did so with an impressive turn of speed.
Built by Claude Raynaud, an electrical engineer in southern France, this imposing and grand car is believed to be the only one of its kind. A vis-à-vis, it can comfortably take five people, has solid tyres, a steering wheel and a four-speed gearbox controlled via a second steering wheel. With two single cylinder engines, each having a two-litre capacity, there is a total capacity of four litres.
We are delighted to have been part of the project, which has overseen the restoration of the Raynaud into a reliable and usable condition. Our work on the car entailed some quite significant changes including a dual mass flywheel conversion, which has delivered notable improvements in the smoothness and performance of the engine. Most importantly, we took careful consideration in ensuring that all changes remained true and faithful to the original design of the car.
As always, the London to Brighton was a thoroughly enjoyable occasion. With almost 400 veteran cars gathered together in Hyde Park just before dawn, television personality and classic car enthusiast Alan Titchmarsh got the Run underway with the traditional ‘tearing of the red flag’ ritual.
An early starter at number four on the line, the 1896 Raynaud was one of the first away from Hyde Park amongst a cheering crowd of spectators. Overall, there were 120 different marques on show, with many of these, like the Raynaud, wonderfully unique relics of a bygone era in automotive engineering.
We were thrilled to once again prepare the 1904 9hp MMC and an electric car. The MMC, which was participating in its second Run following its debut last year, has distinct local roots, having been operated as the first taxi in the town of Dunmow, Essex, over a century ago. In the present day, it still remains in the county with its original Essex registration number.
Alongside this, a special mention must go to the fabulous Regent Street Motor Show, which took place on the Saturday (November 2) and is an important part of the weekend’s spectacle. This is a great way to get up close and personal with the cars and their owners.
We would like to thank the organisers of the event for a truly memorable occasion.
For more information on the Run, visit: https://www.veterancarrun.com/