Just 12 Horsepower

They’re saying that this past weekend’s London-to-Brighton run for veteran automobiles was the best ever.

Inspired by my favorite movie, Genevieve, I first did the run seven years ago, thanks to lots of good luck and the people you see pictured at right: Bill and Mary Ellam, in whose 1903 rear entrance Darracq tonneau I rode the 60 miles from London to Brighton in relative luxury.

The Ellam’s Darracq has two cylinders and 12 horsepower. That’s 12 horsepower to get you from London to Brighton… 12 horsepower to carry you up the difficult hills… 12 horsepower to create your acceleration from a dead stop in London traffic, where they do not close the roads for the veteran cars… just two cylinders to provide you with all the muscle you’re ever going to have.

My snow blower is actually more powerful than many of the cars in the Run. It should also be noted that people operating a snow blower during a blizzard are doubtless somewhat warmer and more comfortable than drivers and passengers motoring in the typical London-to-Brighton Run. I distinctly remember that my face was too frozen for speech at the half-way point in Crawley.

At right: My snow blower, as it might appear on the London-To-Brighton Run. Built in 2000, this Sears Craftsman sadly misses London-to-Brighton eligibility by a full 96 years. (Photoshopped on a closed track; trick photo; do not attempt.)

My friend David Burgess-Wise wrote about my L-to-B exploits in The Automobile - to read the article, click here. If you’d like to listen to David talk about the history of the Darracq car, click here.

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