Meet Enzo and ‘Martha’ – the 1901 4.5HP De Dion.
In Enzo’s own words:
“With a name like Enzo I was always doomed to be a petrolhead; and being blessed with understanding parents and ample space meant that I’ve been tinkering with cars with my dad since primary school.
My first ‘proper’ classic car, a Citroën DS, arrived when I was 16 and I have always driven a classic car since! I first met Martha, the 1901 De-Dion Bouton pictured, when I was 14 – when my best friend and I spent a weekend being introduced vintage and veteran cars. I was hooked; riding in a veteran car is ‘motoring’ at its finest, with nothing between you and the great outdoors. They demand much more care than even a vintage car and as such you get to know the machine you’re piloting very well. They are extremely well-built and were built with the mechanic in mind, which means (unlike a modern car) that they are straightforward to maintain. There is a huge diversity of styles and configurations, caused by the rapid developments in technology (such as the invention of the spark plug) in a relatively short period of time. As such there is a veteran car for everybody! I am a young member of the Veteran Car Club and hope to have my own one day. I am eternally grateful to the Evison family for introducing me to the world of veteran cars and getting me involved; including their very generous loan of Martha for this year’s London to Brighton Run!
Martha is wonderful. She is already a special car, having been previously owned by the Veteran Car Club and having done her first run to Brighton in 1935. Her owner at the time, Colonel Wellingham, was the one who named her Martha. Her 4.5HP, single cylinder engine is sprightly and her ‘De-Dion’ rear axle and tiller steering means she is very well-behaved on the road. Her special ‘voiturette’ bodywork by Mulliner is well-proportioned and utterly charming, and offers a considerable advantage over the usual ‘vis-à-vis’ arrangement in which the passengers faced the driver! In her short stay with me my extended family has fallen in love with her, and she has pride of place in the garage. I also have a sentimental attachment to her - Martha was the first veteran car I got the chance to ride in, and as such I am very fond of her. That she was the first veteran car I’ve been able to drive as well has been the cherry on top, and I am very grateful to RH specialist insurance for facilitating this. We are very much looking forward to participating in the London to Brighton Run this year, which marks the 125th Anniversary of the first run back in 1896”.
Emma Airey, Head of RH, says: ‘it was our absolute pleasure to be able to assist with Enzo’s request to drive Martha on a warranted accompanied basis - until he’s 25. Warranted accompanied means an older, more experienced, adult (in this instance his Mum), will accompany him in the passenger seat whilst he’s driving and gaining experience/confidence n readiness to go solo. If you would like to discuss ways in which we can assist the ‘next generation’ get behind the wheel of a veteran, vintage or classic vehicle, please call us’.