1,000-Mile Trial Will Celebrate 100 Years Of British Motoring

More than 70 cars from around the world will take part in a nationwide tour starting on 28 April which is set to re-create British motoring history.

Cars from the past 10 decades will take part in the 1,000-Mile Trial, a two-week tour retracing the 1,000-Mile Trial of 1900, to celebrate the centenary of Vauxhall Motors.

The route will take in 24 locations, starting on 28 April from a supermarket car park in Vauxhall, South London – where the first Vauxhall car was built 100 years ago. It finishes at Vauxhall’s brand new state-of-the-art Motorbodies car showroom in Luton, near its UK headquarters.

Cars taking part include a 1911 Prince Henry (the oldest car to drive the entire route), 1932 Vauxhall Cadet, 1952 Velox E and 1963 Cresta PB, while enthusiasts clubs who have entered include Viva Owners, Victor Owners, and the Vauxhall Owners' Club of Australia.

The public will have the chance to see the cars at a series of stop-overs at the various locations en route (see full 1000-Mile Trial calendar below).

Kevin Wale, Vauxhall’s chairman and managing director, said: "The original trial of 1900 was designed to prove that the car was the transport of the future. A century later, Vauxhall is still at the forefront of British motoring."

Classic Vauxhall cars are being shipped from around the world for the event, with seven coming from the Vauxhall Owners' Club of Australia, three from Switzerland, six from Holland and a couple from Sweden and Denmark, while there will also be up to 10 cars from Vauxhall’s Heritage Centre in Luton.

The original trial of 1900 was the inspiration of Claude Johnson, secretary of the Automobile Club of Great Britain, and was designed to prove to a sceptical British public that the car was a reliable and practical mode of transport. Many motoring historians argue that it was the most important public demonstration of the motor vehicle to date. The 2003 route – which covers 1,200-miles – has been modified slightly from the original, to take account of modern traffic and road conditions.

Trial Route and Calendar

Monday 28 April
  • Start: 9.00, Sainsbury’s, 62 Wandsworth Rd, Vauxhall, London, SW8
  • Lunch: 12.00-14.00, Market Place, Newbury, Berks.
  • Finish: 16.30-18.30, Narrow Quay, Bristol

Tuesday 29 April

  • Start: 10.00, Holiday Inn, Filton, Bristol
  • Lunch: 12.00-14.00, Barge Basin, Gloucester Docks
  • Finish: 16.30-18.30, Centenary Square, Birmingham
Wednesday 30 April
  • Start: 10.00, Holiday Inn, Smallbrook, Birmingham
  • Lunch: 12.00-14.00, Quarry Park, Shrewsbury
  • Finish: 16.30-18.30, Bridge Street, Chester

Thursday 1 May

  • All day: Vauxhall Plant, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire (not open to the public)
Friday 2 May
  • Start: 9.00, Vauxhall Plant, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire (not open to the public)
  • Lunch: 12.00-14.00, Flag Market, Cheapside, Preston
  • Finish: 16.00-18.00, Dalton Square, Lancaster
Saturday 3 May
  • Start: 10.00, Holiday Inn, Lancaster
  • Lunch: 12.00-14.00, Lakeside Car Park, Keswick, Cumbria
  • Finish: 15.30-17.30, Market Square, Carlisle
Sunday 4 May

  • Start: 8.00, Holiday Inn, Carlisle
  • Lunch: 12.00-14.00, Dunaskin Heritage Centre, nr Dalmellington, East Ayrshire
  • Finish: 16.00-17.30, Museum of Transport, Kelvin Hall, Glasgow
Monday 5 May

  • Start: 9.30, Holiday Inn, Glasgow
  • Lunch/Finish: 12.00-14.00, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh
Tuesday 6 May

  • Start: 10.00, Holiday Inn, Queensferry Road, Edinburgh
  • Lunch: 12.00-14.00, Marygate, Berwick upon Tweed
  • Finish: 16.30-18.00, International Centre for Life, Times Square, Newcastle upon Tyne
Wednesday 7 May

  • Start: 9.30, Washington, Tyne & Wear
  • Lunch: 12.00-14.00, Market Square, Stokesley, North Yorkshire
  • Finish: 15.45-18.00, Clifford’s Tower, York Castle Museum, York
Thursday 8 May

  • Start: 10.00, Holiday Inn, York
  • Lunch: 12.00-14.00, Bridge Street, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire
  • Finish: 16.30-18.00, Old Market Sq, South Parade Rd, Nottingham
Friday 9 May

  • Start: 8.45, The Castle, Nottingham
  • Lunch: 11.00-14.00, Rockingham Motor Speedway, nr Corby, Northants.
  • Finish: 16.30-18.00, Xscape Snodome, Milton Keynes
Saturday 10 May

  • Start: 9.30, Holiday Inn, Milton Keynes
  • Finish: 10.30, Vauxhall Motorbodies, Kimpton Road, Luton
Published 20 April 2003 Melanie Carter

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