How Fast Was The First Car To Ever Receive A Speeding Ticket Going?

Probably a bit slower than you think.

In 1896, this Arnold Benz Motor Carriage was the first car to ever receive a speeding ticket. Careering down Paddock Green in Kent at a whopping 8 mph, the four-wheeler’s owner, Walter Arnold was stopped and pulled over by a copper on a bicycle. He was later convicted of travelling at four times the speed limit – yes, the speed limit at the time was 2 mph - and received a fine of one shilling and costs for this trouble. That’s the equivalent of around 20 GBP today.

Drivers of ICE-powered vehicles were also required to be led by a man on foot waving a red flag at all times and our boy racer Walter was speeding all alone. Later that same year, the speed limit was raised to 14 mph and the need for a red flag bear abolished. To celebrate, the Emancipation Run was held, where cars raced from London to Brighton, and was won by Arnold who earned himself a gold medal. The run still exists today in the form of the Royal Automobile Club’s annual Veteran Car Run where participants cruise down from the capital to the coast in pre-1905 cars.

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The car pictured here is the exact car Arnold received his ticket in, and will be on display at the Concours of Elegance 2017 this September at Hampton Court Palace alongside other speed demons of their time including the Harrods-livered McLaren F1 GTR and Le Mans-winning Jaguar XJR-9.

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