Our history

Founded in 1897, the RAC has been consistently at the forefront in developing motoring services - from introducing uniformed patrols in 1901 and roadside emergency telephone boxes in 1912 right through to the present day when we boast one of the world's most advanced computer systems to deal with calls for roadside assistance and are leading the field in the development of Telematics and remote vehicle diagnostics.

RAC Members enjoy access to an enormous range of motoring products and services throughout their driving lives, ranging from the familiar and much appreciated roadside assistance in the event of a breakdown to continually updated legal and technical advice and up-to-the-minute travel information.

RAC timeline:

  • 1897: Founded by Charles Harrington Moore and Richard Simms as the Automobile Club of Great Britain
  • 1901: Introduced uniformed patrols
  • 1907: Given royal approval by Edward VII – the Royal Automobile Club
  • 1912: Introduced roadside emergency telephone boxes
  • 1932: Sponsored the first RAC Rally
  • 1978: The group was incorporated as RAC Motoring Services
  • 1999: RAC was the first organisation to introduce flexible hours for its patrol force
  • 2000: Developed the rapid deployed trailer (RDT) increasing efficiency and enabling more patrol, rather than contractor, tows
  • 2010: Sponsored the first Future Car Challenge focusing on environmental issues in motoring
  • 2011: Launched motor (2009) and home (2011) insurance panels
  • 2012: Launch of new Business Club & dashboard to SME fleet sector
  • 2013: New RACScan diagnostics equipment upgraded to enable the replacement of complex batteries at roadside, regeneration of diesel particulate filters and remote diagnostics
  • 2013: New tyre fitting vans launched in major cities
  • 2013: Introduction of new revolutionary Universal wheel to reduce tows and provide improved customer service
  • 2014: Telematics products launched
  • 2014: Launch of new remote charger for electric vehicles
  • 2014: Launched RAC Business Club fleet management platform to meet the needs of SMEs
  • 2015: Launched RAC Fuel Watch campaign
  • 2016: Launched RAC Car Passport for Dealers (vehicle check)