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Have you ever wondered how to get a seat in an old classic car competing in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run? If you have the odd quarter of a million pounds stuffed down the back of the settee, it could be easier than you think.
On the eve of the London to Brighton event each year Bonhams holds an auction of veteran cars, many of which come complete with pre-admittance to the big drive out to the East Sussex seaside town which takes place on the first Sunday in November each year.
MMC Charette has a ticket to ride
Among those vets going under the hammer in this year’s Bonhams sale is a fabulous 1900 MMC 6hp “Charette” Rear-entrance Tonneau, registration AP 163. Valued at £220,000-£260,000, it comes with the requisite London to Brighton ticket.
The MMC is powered by a 1,527cc Daimler vertical twin-cylinder engine with dual ignition (hot tube and trembler coil).
It was purchased in 1900 for £380 by Colonel Blake of Woodhams Farm in Winchester, and remained in his family’s ownership for the next 53 years. In 1913 its body was removed and the engine coupled to a band-saw, while during the Great War the MMC is recorded as having provided power “for making parts for bombs, shells and wheelbarrows”.
With the growth in interest in early cars that followed the revival of the London to Brighton Run in 1927, brothers, Billy and Richard Blake, who had become friends with veteran vehicle enthusiast, Richard Shuttleworth, re-commissioned the old MMC, which they found “in exactly the same position as it had been placed 20 years previously”.
First registered for London to Brighton in 1930
Richard Blake entered it for the 1930 London to Brighton Run as an 1897 Daimler but failed to make the start.
In 1931, now correctly identified as an MMC (but still dated as 1897), the car finished at an average speed of just over 14mph, repeating the feat the following year. It missed the 1933 London to Brighton but was back in 1934, again finishing in good time.
The MMC has been synonymous with the London to Brighton ever since and in 1953 it marked Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation by running from John O’Groats to Land’s End. The 876 mile trip took 10 days
That November, the MMC made its first post-war London to Brighton Run, and in 1954 it was officially dated as 1900 by the Veteran Car Club; the next year it was featured in Veterans of the Road, the silver jubilee history of the club.
Bought by the current owner in 2005, the MMC’s inlet valves were removed and compression tested in 2007. New exhaust valves were also fitted along with new brake cables.
Restoration work continued in 2010 and 2011 when all wheels and chains were removed and checked, the chassis was inspected and lubricated.
MMC is “most important early motor car”
Bonhams’ sale notes explain: “This is a most important early motor car with an impressive provenance, and is one of very few veterans to have been at the centre of the old-car movement for three-quarters of a century.”
MMC’s original catalogue stated, the Daimler-engined car “has been thoroughly tried and proved by the test of time to be the best, most efficient and most economical on the market”.
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You can check out the MMC London to Brighton runner and other veteran cars going under the hammer here.