The RAC Classic was started in 1986 with the intention of encouraging owners of classic cars to use their cars for pleasure. It was originally sponsored by the Norwich Union insurance company and over the succeeding years became universally know by all participants, the classic car press and public alike as 'The Norwich Union'.
The first run was planned for Whit Sunday 1986 and with the added attraction of a finish at Silverstone - home of the British F1 Grand Prix attracted over 400 entrants.
Over the years the event grew in popularity, the number of starts grew and the event grew in length with options of 2 and 3 days runs from some starts.
The run continued through the rest of the 1980s and 1990s until 2000.
The 2001 run was cancelled due to the Foot and Mouth epidemic which caused restrictions to be imposed on many of the rural checkpoints.
In its heyday, the event - then called The Norwich Union RAC Classic - welcomed over a thousand participating cars every year. The event reached a peak in 1996 with entries of over 1,600, including a host of unusual models, which included anything from a Morris Minor to a Ferrari 365 or a 1904 Benz and even a three-wheeler Morgan built in 1932.
The event was revived in 2007 and reunited with its original title sponsor, Norwich Union, with many faces from the original organising team still at the helm. Aviva's (formerly Norwich Union) sponsorship term came to an end after the 2009 event and so the 2010 event ran without sponsorship.