This month, Julian Bennett, grandson of the famous Fred Bennett, a past president of the VCC, will endeavour to re-enact the feats of his ancestor in the very same 1903 6.5hp single-cylinder Cadillac with which Fred took part successfully in the 1903 1000-Mile Trial.
Fred had tried the curved-dash Olds but changed to the very similar, but he thought superior, Cadillac, a make for which he was the agent here ever afterwards.
Car No530 (YU 1974) competed in the 1000-Mile Trial, refuting the contemporary slur that American small cars were “useful today and fit for the scrapheap tomorrow”. It had been used as a delivery van, but in 1913 Fred had the original body put back and, in this form, retraced his 1903 steps with it 10 years afterwards.
As I well remember, this was successfully repeated once again in 1953, benefiting the motor industry’s BEN charity.
His grandson Julian’s attempt to repeat this, beginning on September 18, is being backed by the Cadillac OC of GB and overseen by the VCC of GB, and boasts some excellent sponsorship.
The aim will be a series of eight out-and-back runs from Crystal Palace, to Margate, Eastbourne, Worthing, Folkestone, Southsea, Bexhill, Winchester and Brighton, as in 1903, with Saturday September 20 providing a day off at the Crystal Palace Cadillac Rally. The seaside towns’ mayors will greet Julian.
BEN has produced a brochure with maps, obtainable for £2 (from the website www.bennettrun.org) for those who wish to see the Cadillac go by, or to greet Julian at the turn-round points.
Fiennes Restoration Ltd has done the tasks necessary to prepare the veteran, and we wish Julian good luck.