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Finding Minnesota: Antique Car Run

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This coming Saturday, Aug. 11, folks will have a chance to see quite the spectacle on the road. Dozens of antique cars, going as fast as they can go. It is a tradition entering its 26th year.

The proud owners of cars made in the early 1900s jump on a course that starts in New London, Minn. and winds its way to New Brighton.

This week in Finding Minnesota, we look at the connection the event has to one that takes place overseas.

The movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” reminds us of just how loud and delightful those first cars were.

In it, you see a noisy car bouncing along the English countryside.

You don’t have to go too far to find cars like that in Minnesota, today.

Jeff Amundsen, one of the organizers, talked about the upcoming event at his home in St. Anthony.

Amundsen inherited his 1911 Maxwell, a Model AB, from his dad.

“It was known as a doctor’s car back in the day, because it was just the right size for a doctor to hop in and go out and see his patients,” he said.

On the second Saturday of August every year, Amundsen gets some company on the road. Lots of it, in fact. He is one of dozens of drivers competing in the annual New London to New Brighton Antique Car Run.

About 60 vintage vehicles usually take part.

It is a 120-mile course along rural roads, between New London and New Brighton.

All of the cars in the run were made before 1915.

“We enjoy the beauty of them and it’s very fun to get out in the open air in them, put the top down and enjoy the sunshine and the beautiful Minnesota sights with them,” Amundsen said.

The antique car run is actually the American version of a prestigious run held in England each year.

The course there goes from London to New Brighton, England. It started in 1896 to celebrate the repeal of the what was called the “red flag law.”

“When they first started automobiles, there was a man who had to walk out in front of the cars with a red flag to tell everyone to look out for your horses and children, there’s a car coming. But that wasn’t real handy to have a man walking with a red flag in front of the cars, so they had that rule taken away,” Amundsen said.

The finish line is at Long Lake Regional Park in New Brighton.

Just after 3 p.m. on Saturday, you’ll start to see dozens of antique cars creeping to the end of a long journey.

Amundsen said the goal is not necessarily to be the first to cross the finish line, but it is simply to finish.

The whole point of the antique car run is to showcase the durability and the charm of these old beauties.

“It brings us back to a simpler time. It shows you that not a lot has changed with cars in the last 100 years. The preservation, the history,” he said.

Antique car owners from around the country take part in this run.

The average speed for most of the vehicles is 25 miles an hour.

They often have to stop along the way for some maintenance work, or to simply to cool off.

Most of them do end up crossing the finish line.

For the schedule of events this Saturday, and other details about the antique car run, click here. There are pre-tours of the cars, beginning on Wednesday.

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