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Man Finds Buried Car in Yard During COVID-19 Lockdown & Other Tales of Unearthed Vintage Classics

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If you’re looking to take up a new hobby during the COVID-19 lockdown, you might want to consider metal detecting. You never know—you could find a vintage vehicle buried beneath the dirt.   

Recently, John Brayshaw of Heckmondwike, U.K. uncovered a classic Ford Popular hidden under his backyard. According to Fox News, Brayshaw found the coupe while building a deck during the stay-at-home advisory.

The car, which experts say is either a 1955 or 1956 Ford Popular 103e, was found lying on its side beneath the dirt. 

Most of the vintage vehicle was still intact. “The only thing that was missing was the wheels,” said Brayshaw.

Ford Popular 103E
Photo by Chris Sampson (Flickr) / CC BY 2.0

While you may think Brayshaw’s discovery is a once-in-a-lifetime story, it turns out there have been several similar discoveries over the years. 

Here are a few more intriguing stories about buried (and found) cars:

Family Finds 1949 Daimler Consort Buried in Their Garden  

At around 15-feet long, the Daimler Consort is a jaw-dropping machine. And it’s even more astonishing when you find it buried beneath your garden.   

Just ask the Ward family. In 2018, while renovating their new property on the Channel Island of Guernsey, the Wards unearthed a 1949 Daimler Consort.

Unlike the mostly-intact Ford found by Brayshaw, there wasn’t much left of the vintage Consort—only parts of the chassis and engine remained. Yet experts were able to identify the car due to a few remaining emblems and placards, according to Fox News.

The license plate—GUK 800—was also still intact.

Ford Daimler Consort
Photo by Daimler pics / CC BY-SA 3.0

To this day, the Wards have no idea how the Daimler ended up in their backyard. The guess is that someone took the car on as a project, then decided to bury the vehicle after getting in over their head. 

Rare 1974 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS Unearthed in Los Angeles

In 1978, a group of children playing in the mud made a startling discovery: a 1974 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS buried in the dirt. 

The car had been stolen four years earlier, in 1974, from a man named Rosendo Cruz. According to the original article from the L.A. Times, the Dino was “a green, 1974 Ferrari—a car worth at least $18,000 new.” 

Ferrari Dino 246 GTS
Photo by Allen Watkin (Flickr) / CC BY-SA 2.0

That’s around $94,466 today.  

The reporter who originally covered the story noted that, despite being buried underground, the car was in surprisingly good condition. Obviously, someone had planned to reclaim the Dino. 

The car was covered in plastic sheets and, to keep bugs out, towels had been stuffed in various places.

Once the police department officially declared the incident a theft, Farmers Insurance paid off the legal owner of the Dino. The car was eventually put up for auction, where it sold to a young mechanic for somewhere between $5,000 and $9,000. 

Now, you might think that that was the end of the story. But in 2012, the current owner of the Dino, Brad Howard, contacted Jalopnik, after seeing the website run a story about his car. 

Howard purchased the Ferrari back in 1978, right after it had been sold at auction. Afterward, he hired professionals to restore the car completely.

When the Jalopnik story debuted in 2012, Howard was still driving his legendary 1974 Ferrari Dino. And it was still turning heads at every corner.  

Not all Buried Automotive Treasures are High-Dollar Exotics

Okay—so you might not discover a Ferrari using your metal detector. But if you’re lucky like the person in this YouTube video, you could still find an automotive-related treasure beneath the dirt.




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Author

Mia Bevacqua

Chief Mechanic at CarParts.com

Mia Bevacqua is an automotive expert with over 15 years of industry experience. She holds ASE Master, L1, L2, and L3 Advanced Level Specialist certification, as well as a bachelor's degree in Advanced Automotive Systems.

Throughout her career, Mia has applied her skills toward automotive failure analysis inspections, consulting, diagnostic software development, and of course, freelance writing. Today, she writes for companies around the world, with many well-known clients showcasing her work.

Mia has a passion for math, science, and technology that motivates her to stay on top of the latest industry trends, such as electric vehicles and autonomous systems. At the same time, she has a weakness for fixer-upper oddballs, such as her 1987 Chevy Cavalier Z-24 and 1998 Chevy Astro Van AWD.

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