Buried treasure - 1904 Fiat
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A 1904 Fiat, which avoided the scrap yard by being
buried on an American estate, is one of more than 500 pre-1905 Veteran cars taking part in the Royal
Automobile Club’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run on Sunday 6th November 2011.
The world’s longest running and one of the greatest motoring events, the London to Brighton
Veteran Car Run has helped unearth many fascinating stories behind the wonderful vehicles that
heralded the origin of motoring innovation.
This 1904 Fiat 24/32 is a prime example. Journeying from its manufacturing location in Italy to
Cape Cod and across the United States of America before settling in Northern Europe. This remarkable
model was originally owned by Mrs George Agassiz, who had such a sentimental attachment to the car
following its purchase while she and her husband were on honeymoon in Italy. When no collectors were
available to buy the 28 year-old car in 1932 she saved it from an ignominious end and had it buried
in the grounds of her Cape Cod estate.
The legend of the ‘buried car’ grew and in 1942 Ted Robertson, co-founder of the US Vintage Sports
Car Club, was given permission to dig-up the Fiat. Remarkably, despite lying on its back with the
wheels removed and buried with the car, it had survived its decade underground quite well.
A deal was done to buy the car for $50 and although unrestored it was exchanged between
enthusiasts before being stored by a Milwaukee (USA) owner for 40 years. Restoration finally started
in the early 1990s and in 2007 it passed to its current owner in the Netherlands, Jan Bruijn, who
will present the car at the famous Royal Automobile Club’s event which this year celebrates its 115th
In a sight to behold, a staggering 500 Veteran cars from across the globe will join the 1904 Fiat
in setting off from London’s Hyde Park to journey the 60-mile route to Madeira Drive, Brighton,
giving the vehicles that formed the foundations of today’s motoring industry the chance to shine once
Now Britain’s biggest free-to-spectate motoring event, the 2011 Run will deliver three days of
motoring excellence, starting with Friday’s Veteran Car Run Auction of eligible vehicles and
automobilia in New Bond Street, London.
The Fiat will be one of the 100 Veteran vehicles taking centre stage in the Concours d’Elegance on
the Saturday in Regent Street offering the public the first opportunity to admire some of the
fascinating pioneering machines that will participate in the historic Run on Sunday.
The 115th anniversary Run will start when the first car leaves Hyde Park at official sunrise, 7.02
AM on Sunday. In order to be classified as a finisher, the cars must arrive in Brighton’s Preston
Park before 4.15 PM and then gather along Madeira Drive for the traditional ceremonial finish.