Most of the (140!) members of the CAA group on this trip to the Royal Windsor Horse Show will be arriving tomorrow (Tuesday), but a few people are already here in England.

A.J. and I arrived a few days early so we could enjoy a couple of days’ vacation in London. Yesterday was a gorgeous, sunny, almost hot day, and we walked and walked and walked. Nearly ten miles, all over Kensington Gardens and Notting Hill.

A slight detour took us over to the Victoria & Albert Museum, and near there, we came across a display of very early automobiles / horseless carriages. It turns out that the day before was the 120th anniversary of the (official) repeal of Britain’s “red flag act,” although it was apparently still enforced for at least six more months.

So here are a few horseless carriages – and close-ups – that you may enjoy …

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This tricycle-looking contraption is a replica of the first patented internal-combustion-engine-powered automobile, invented by Carl Benz and built in Germany in 1885/86. The original vehicle had a .75-horsepower, single-cylinder petrol engine.

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And this runabout-with-an-engine is a replica of Henry Ford’s first vehicle, which he built in his shed in 1896. The original vehicle had a whopping 4 horsepower, from a two-cylinder ethanol engine.

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This beauty is an original steam-powered automobile, built by the Stanley Motor Carriage Company (USA) in 1903. It had a 6.5-horsepower, twin-cylinder steam engine. This particular vehicle has since had a supplementary water tank added, which has boosted the car’s range to about 60 miles.

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Finally, here are a few close-up images of pieces and parts of some of the other vehicles that were on display, plus two of them heading out for their parade around the block (led by a man waving a red flag, as required, of course).

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