London To Brighton 2021 Special - The Autocar

Welcome to our ‘Vehicle of the Month’ 2021 blog post series, which we launched in August last year, to share some of the most fascinating and remarkable car and motorbike stories, restoration projects and travel adventures of our customers.
Last month we shared a story by Andrew and his Chevrolet Bel Air. To honour the 125th Anniversary of the famous London to Brighton Veteran Car Run our November 'Vehicle of the Month' features Christine Tacon's 1903 "Autocar", which is also an American car. Look out for Christine on the run this year!


"The Autocar is an American car built in 1903.
As you can see it is left hand drive and we don't even have
a steering wheel."


"It is called a rear-entrance tonneau and you can see how
the passengers get in and out!"


 "The engine is 2 cylinders and on the whole, it is very reliable".


 "If we go downhill on full acceleration, we get to about 40mph but we do get shaken about at that speed. We ask drivers behind us to leave space as it is hard work doing a hill start and if we don't have 2 of us driving, we roll backwards. It is helpful to have a co-driver to do the accelerator whilst the driver does the brake! The car is easy enough to drive, once you've mastered changing gears, but the real stress is anticipating what other drivers or pedestrians around you will do when you have minimal acceleration to get out of trouble and poor brakes! We shout and indicate a lot!"


 "The foot pedals for the accelerator and clutch have been added. They would have been done with the large lever next to the driver. If you twist the wooden handle, you get acceleration and if you pull it back you operate the clutch. Unfortunately, the pedals positions mean that the ratchet "handbrake" is between the accelerator and the brake, so you have to keep hopping over the ratchet brake. Under normal driving you do far more advancing and retarding the ignition (the little black lever on the driving post) than using the accelerator. It is very easy to steer with the horizontal set up but you can get your fingers trapped if you're not careful!"


 "The car has done the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run 14 times, 13 of which with our family. We have only not finished once and that was because we put too much oil in and it went everywhere so it wasn't the car's fault!" 

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