There was, however, no traffic at all on the quiet, pitch black London street where we gathered at six o'clock the next morning, the first Sunday of November, 2000. The silence was shattered as the first car was cranked over, then the second. Every cylinder that fired made its own distinctive sound, and each cold engine seemed to be following its own  intermittent sense of rhythm. As more cars made it out of the garage and onto the street, the noise became tremendous, sounding like random fireworks more than carefully-tended antique machinery.
The sound was exhilarating… there's no other way to put it. Yet if the neighbors were awakened by the glorious cacophony -- and how could they not have been? -- they just rolled over and put pillows atop their heads, because not a single light came on in the modern apartment building opposite.

The cars gleamed and shook, the well-insulated passengers and navigators climbed aboard, and the assemblage set off in a pack for the Park. The threatened drenching rain… a front-page headline in the newspapers because of possible severity… had not yet arrived. Perhaps it would hold off.

A gloomy day, with rain an ever-present threat. Crossing Westminster Bridge with the London Eye in the background.

Before the event itself even begins, one quickly discovers that the London-to-Brighton Run is no mere passive exercise in nostalgia. In many ways, it seems an act of defiance.
The cars cough defiantly into boisterous life in the dead calm of early Sunday Morning London. They defiantly run the occasional traffic light to avoid the rigors of stop-and-go driving. They pass modern cars for the same reason.
The mere existence of the cars seems to defy time; their ability to complete the tough route from London to Brighton seems to defy logic. The Run takes place without regard for the weather. The Run receives no regard from the London authorities.
And the determination of owners to put their valuable veterans on the road to "do the Run" is, perhaps, the grandest defiance of them all. It defies the best interests of their automotive investment …and often defies common sense as well.
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