NEW LONDON — The 33rd New London to New Brighton Antique Car Run starting gun will be at 7 a.m. Saturday at Peace Lutheran Church with drivers leaving until 8 a.m.
Today the drivers will participate in a 45-mile tour for a behind-the-scenes look at the new, state of the art, Schwieter’s Chevrolet dealership in Willmar, followed by a tour of the Glacial Ridge Winery in Spicer. The drivers will meet their volunteer tow drivers at a dinner at Peace Lutheran Church in New London.
Friday will begin with a 35-mile tour around Nest and Green lakes starting from the New London Legion around 12:30 p.m. with the annual root beer float stop at Salisbury Beach in Spicer. The cars and drivers will gather at 4:30 p.m. at Glen Oaks Nursing Home in New London before embarking on a parade down Main Street New London at 5:30 p.m. followed by community chicken and rib buffet at the American Legion.
It is based on the annual London to Brighton Commemorative Run in England.
The original car run in the United Kingdom began in 1896 as a celebration of the “red flag” law’s repeal. The red flag law banned the first motorized vehicles from using the road unless a man carrying a red flag walked in front of the car warning carriage drivers to hold the reins of their animals, implemented at the start of the motorized vehicle era when automobiles and horse drawn carriages clashed on the U.K. streets.
The Minnesota event is open to all vehicles made through 1908 and one or two-cylinder vehicles manufactured through 1915, including bikes, motorcycles, and steam and electric cars. Participation is based on a first-come-first-serve basis, limited to 100 vehicle entries.
The tour is designed to demonstrate the endurance of these veteran cars. Drivers take their time traveling an average of 20 mph and stop along the way to help other “tweak” their engines and make repairs. The goal is for everyone to cross the finish line. Drivers have a required stop in Buffalo, the 75 mile point, and cannot leave there until 1 p.m. They cannot cross the finish line until 3 p.m. to qualify for the finisher’s medallion.
The grand tour starting gun will be at 7 a.m. Saturday at Peace Lutheran Church with drivers leaving until 8 a.m. Spectators are welcome at rest stops along the 120 mile route.
The first stop is at 8 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Grove City. There will be stops at 9 a.m. at Central Park in Litchfield, Kingston between 10 and 10:30 a.m., Buffalo High School will have lunch available for the drivers until 1 p.m. and there is a stop at 2 p.m. at the Crystal Community Center.
The finish line is open from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Long Lake Regional Park as part of New Brighton Stockyard Days.