This Arnold Benz quadrupled the speed limit in 1896.
Let’s travel back in time for a moment. Imagine it’s January 1896 and you are among the very few to have an ICE-powered vehicle. The law at the time required all cars to stick to a limit of two miles per hour (three kilometers per hour) and to, well – read that carefully, be led by a man on foot waving a red flag at all times.
Now, meet boy racer Walter Arnolnd, who we could easily describe as a true revolutionist. Not only he is very connected with the history of Daimler and was one of the first to receive a license to sell Benz vehicle, but he was also the man who literally broke the definition of speed for cars in the late XIX century.
Driving his 1896 Arnold Benz through Paddock Green in Kent, he was doing eight miles per hour (13 kilometers per hour) without anyone supporting his drive. As a result, Walter was convicted of speeding and forced to pay a shilling fine plus costs, after a policeman chased him on his bicycle.
Shortly after, the needs for a two mph (three kph) speed limit and red flag bearer were abolished – the limit was raised to 14 mph (23 kph) and that fact was celebrated with a race, now known as the Emancipation Run, in which Arnold competed and even earned a gold medal for his particularly adroit driving. The run took the cars from London to Brighton and still exists even today, uniting pre-1905 cars in a parade between the two cities.
The exact car, with which Arnold received a speeding ticket, is pictured above and will be displayed at the Concours of Elegance 2017 in Hampton Court Palace this September. In contrast, the vehicle will be joined by some of the fastest cars ever built – the Le Mans-winning Jaguar XJR-9 and the Harrods-livered McLaren F1 GTR.
Source: Concours of Elegance
The Concours of Elegance 2017 will be bringing a very special piece of history to Hampton Court Palace this September; the first ever car to receive a speeding ticket. The 1896 Arnold Benz Motor Carriage was travelling at four times the speed limit, at a heady 8mph, before being pulled over by a policeman on a bicycle.
The law at the time required all cars stick to a limit of 2mph and that they be led by a man on foot waving a red flag at all times. But Walter Arnold, driving through Paddock Green in Kent, was doing neither. As a result Walter was convicted of speeding and forced to pay a shilling fine plus costs.
It was in late 1896, with the advent of the Locomotives Act, that the need for a red flag bearer and 2mph speed limit were abolished and the limit raised to 14mph. In celebration, cars raced from London to Brighton in a so-called Emancipation Run, during which Walter Arnold actually competed.
The run still exists to this day, in the form of the Royal Automobile Club’s annual Veteran Car Run, in which pre-1905 cars recreate the journey from London to Brighton. A parade of these cars will also be arriving at the Concours of Elegance in September, allowing visitors to experience the sights and sounds of the earliest motoring pioneers.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace will be welcoming some of the fastest cars ever built. On display will be the Le Mans-winning Jaguar XJR-9 and the Harrods-livered McLaren F1 GTR – both of which are capable of more than 240mph.
For the first time at the Concours of Elegance, many of the cars on display will be taking part in moving parades over the weekend, including a trip to the event’s new central stage. Featuring commentary and interviews with some of the world’s foremost motoring experts, the stage will provide a focal point for all visitors to the Concours of Elegance.
Adult tickets for this year’s Concours of Elegance start from just £25, with concessions from £17.50. Children under five and carers can enter free of charge. Members of the public also have the opportunity to attend on Friday 1st September, a day normally reserved for the Owners of the main Concours cars.