The Arnold Benz Motor Carriage model, dating from 1896, is famous for being the first car fined for speeding.
At that time, the speed limit, according to the Locomotives Act in the United Kingdom, was 2 mph (3.21 km / h). Since 1878, the speed limit was 4 mph (or 6 km / h) in the countryside and half that in town areas and an escort was required to walk 20 yards (18 m) before the vehicle. The previous act of 1865 required a red flag to be carried by the escort at a distance of 60 yards (50 m).
The driver, Walter Arnold, in an overwhelming excess that now seems hilarious, had the boldness of driving at the amazing speed of 8 mph, which is 12.87 km / h, or about 4 times that allowed by law at the moment!
This took place in Paddock Green, Kent. Walter Arnold was forced to pay a fine of 1 shilling plus taxes.
He was the first man punished in the UK (and apparently in the world) for going over the speed limit. If he had a little appetite for adrenaline, he would have escaped that fine if he waited a bit, because by the end of 1896 the speed limit was upped to 14 mph (22.53 km / h). This historical moment is remarkable for two other reasons.
Firstly, the law imposed at that time not only the 2 mph limit, but also the fact that each motorist was forced to drive by car only if he was accompanied by a second person. The role of this person was to run ahead of the car and to fly a red flag to warn the pedestrians about a vehicle being crossed. This requirement was eliminated with the increase in the speed limit to 14 mph.
Last, but not least, what makes the story of Walter Arnold special is that in order to be fined he was chased and caught up by a bicycle policeman. The law man caught Walter after a 5 kilometer race.
The removal of the Locomotives Act in 1896 was marked by a race called the Emancipation Run, between London and Brighton. Walter Arnold participated in this rally. This race is currently taking place and is organized by Royal Automobile Club under the name of Veteran Car Run.
Traditionally, cars made before 1905 participate in this race. It is also the largest assembly of veteran cars in the world: 443 cars in 2005 and 484 in 2009, as opposed to 37 in 1927, 51 in 1930 and 131 cars in 1938. These cars will arrive this year too at the Contest of Elegance in September at Hampton Court Palace.
Among the veteran models will be the Arnold Benz Motor Carriage from 1896. This car created by Walter Arnold himself, based on a Benz, will be admired in the Elegance Contest in the presence of other “speed demons” such as the Jaguar XJR- 9 (Le Mans winner) or McLaren F1 GTR, both capable of speeds over 240 mph (286.2 km / h).