|Joy Rainey and her 1904 Curved Dash Olds|
courtesy London to Brighton Veteran Car Run
The annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run could be described as the world’s oldest motoring event for the world’s oldest cars. Originally held in 1927 as a re-enactment of an 1896 race celebrating the end of the 4 mph speed limit enforced on motor cars, it’s been hosted by the Royal Automobile Club since 1930. What makes it cool, at least to me, is that it’s restricted to cars built in 1905 or earlier. There’s more of them around than you might think—recent years have seen over 500 entries for the 60 mile run.
While not every car finishes the run, Joy Rainey, who’s done the run before, has a longer trip in mind. She’s planning on driving her 1904 Oldsmobile Curved Dash Runabout across the United States next year. She used to participate in speed hill climbs, and has also done some long runs, including the London to Sydney Marathon and the Carrera Sudamericana. Neither of those were in anything as old school as the 1904 Olds, however. According to Rainey, “An invitation to a pub lunch and a viewing of the veteran resulted in me arriving home complete with the back axle and mangled gears and a decision to sell my 400bhp single-seater racing car and take on a 7hp 1904 Oldsmobile.”
So why the 2,826 mile trip across the States? Rainey wants to raise money for Cancer Research UK, in honour of her former partner and co-driver Trevor Hulks who died in 2010. Rainey explains, “A few months after Trevor’s untimely death I was contacted by Gary Hoonsbeen of the CDO Club in the USA who gently suggested that at some time in the future I might consider undertaking the trip myself as a tribute to Trevor. My reply was something like, ‘I never say never’, but in my heart then, I did not think that I could take on such a challenging trip without my soul mate.
“Now, after considerable soul-searching and encouragement from old and new friends, I have decided that this challenge feels like unfinished business. Therefore on 14th April next year I will start my coast-to-coast USA trip from Los Angeles and drive to Daytona Beach arriving on the 15th May in my 109-year-old Curved Dash Oldsmobile. And I would like to raise £20,000 for Cancer Research.”
I hope she does.