Classic cars from the past hit Bermuda’s roads
Spectators will be treated to a unique motorcade of collectable historic cars for the Bermuda Day Parade.
The eye-catching autos have already attracted attention after they went out and about in Hamilton, driven by a group of owners staying at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club.
More vintage vehicles more than a century old will be driving around the island’s roads in the coming days, treating residents to a view of the rare cars being put through their paces.
The team of collectors and their vehicles are here thanks to British car connoisseur Daniel Ward, who promises a memorable sight.
“It’s an eclectic hobby,” Mr Ward told The Royal Gazette. “These things are quite primitive, but they are surprisingly capable.”
The cars leading the parade tomorrow include a Victorian veteran Léon Bollée three-wheeler, which Mr Ward called “one of the weirdest things you can imagine”.
It dates back to 1896 and is the oldest of the 14 cars on the island. The vehicles were shipped over from Britain for a Bermuda tour that will include calls on the island’s schools.
Mr Ward, from Ripon in North Yorkshire, will set out for the traditional parade in a Decauville automobile.
“We thought Bermuda was perfect for a veteran car rally,” he said. “I came to Bermuda two years ago when I was forced to isolate during the Covid-19 nonsense.
“I was trying to get into the United States. I had shipped a 1914 Laurier to New York to drive to San Francisco for the Pebble Beach Concours.
“I had to spend two weeks here and thought what a beautiful place it was.”
Mr Ward, who organises vintage car rallies for friends, got in touch with his local friend David Gibbons during his unexpected stay on the island. He got the event rolling with logistical help from Bermuda Motors.
“Shipping these things here has not been easy and we needed government permission to drive them. They have been very helpful — the Department of Transport as well as police.
“The only thing that might be a problem is the weather.”
The cars, which have to be driven with care to keep from overheating, are expected to lead the parade in Hamilton. Mr Ward said a programme of events would showcase them over the following days.
“We have planned various trips around the West End and East End, so the cars will be seen out and about quite a lot.”
Collectable vintage cars and their rallies were popular in England, he said.
“My father started collecting them as a young man. We still have a car he bought in 1946 as a young medical student and so we grew up with them.”
The cars now on the island mainly predate 1905, when it was still legal to drive them on Bermudian roads.
“Cars were banned in Bermuda altogether in 1908 after a petition, which was encouraged by Mark Twain,” Mr Ward said.
“They were banned until 1946, although there were some vehicles in the meantime as a result of the Second World War.”
All the newly arrived vehicles are eligible for the Veteran Car Run from London to Brighton, billed as the world’s longest running motoring event. Mr Ward said most had taken part “many times”.
He added: “We thought Bermuda would like to see them.”
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