GOLDFINDER Keith Jessop made the ‘salvage of the century’ when he discovered $100m of Russian gold bullion at the bottom of the sea and celebrated by splashing out on this BMW M3, writes Graham Walker.
Now Sheffield luxury car dealer Simon Holland has struck gold after finding the motor and making a 1,400-mile trip to snap it up.
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The 23-year-old car is now a classic and has gone up in value.
Deep sea salvage expert Jessop splashed out on the car when he discovered 40-bars of gold bullion at the bottom of the sea in 1981.
It was aboard the wreck of HMS Edinburgh, which was torpedoed by a German U-boat in the Arctic Ocean, off the coast of Russian, during World War II. I was returning with payment for military equipment.
Jessop, originally from Keighley, in Yorkshire, went to live in France and bought the red left-hand drive convertible sports car - one of only 136 made in Europe.
He marked his achievement with the personalised registration plate 1892NU, which was the serial number of the first ingot bar he recovered.
The car has only clocked up just over 40,000 miles and was parked up in an outbuilding for the past two-years after his death, aged 77.
Simon, aged 43, a purchaser for Sheffield dealer John Holland Sales, which sells quality luxury and prestige motors, discovered it on the internet and made a 24-hour round trip by air and road to buy it from his widow
He flew out with boss Mark Holland, 45, and they drove it back from Limoges, France.
BMW experts couldn’t believe their eyes when they examined the 23-year-old car and found it in top condition, at a dealership in Sandal, Wakefield. The car had returned home - it was originally supplied to Jessop for £30,000 by a dealer in Bradford, in August 1989.
Now the car treasure, which is valued at £35,000, is for sale at John Holland Sales, Meadow Hall Riverside, Meadowhall Road, Sheffield. Visit www.johnhollandsales.co.uk.
Simon said: “Keith Jessop was know as Goldfinder, but we feel like we’ve found gold ourselves, coming across this car with very unique history of its own.
“I’m always on the look out for interesting cars but this is one of the most outstanding we’ve had, in terms of the story behind it.
“The car itself is in unbelievable condition. And it was rarely driven, with only just over 40,000 miles on the clock.
“We were also delighted to be able to keep the registration number 1892NU, which is the serial number of the first ingot bar which Keith recovered.
“The car is a true credit to its famous keeper.”