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Dear Top Gear: Please buy this famous flooded Toledo off eBay

By IanMat  |  Posted: March 21, 2014

Wouldn't it be great if Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May of Top Gear bought Hubert Zajaczkowski's famous flooded Seat Toledo for charity?

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EVERYONE thinks selling the famous Seat Toledo from flooded Muchelney to Top Gear is a good idea. So we've asked Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May and The Stig to do just that.

After last night's disappointment that the top £101,100 bid for Hubert Zajaczkowski's famous flooded Toledo was a hoax - done by an alleged teenager who claimed his 12-year-old brother made him do it - we've taken the initiative and thought: who likes cars and has money?

So Central Somerset Gazette editor Bede MacGowan has written to the BBC team behind the hit TV series this morning, encouraging them to step in and buy an iconic symbol of the Somerset floods for charity.

Hubert is hopeful that some of the other people behind the 123 bids to his auction are more honest and respectful of the fact all proceeds goes to the Much Thorn Wings charity. But at the time of writing he still hasn't heard from the second highest bidder of £100,000. He is now contemplating contacting bidders from further down the bidding chain.

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When told we had contacted Top Gear, Hubert said: "That would be amazing if they it. It really would be good. We can just hope.

"I was only expecting to raise £200 to £300. So if Top Gear said 'here's £500' or 'here's £1,000' it's great because it all goes to charity. I just want to raise some money for people who have lost more than a car."

Dear Top Gear: the letter

Dear Jeremy, Richard, James, Stig and Top Gear team.

Car fanatics that you are, I thought I'd highlight something special happening down here in Somerset that would help a lot of people, but is in danger of being wrecked by idiots.

A local lad ended up driving his Seat Toledo - probably worth less than £600 - into flood water on Christmas Eve. Three months later, its value has gone up 16,750 per cent.

This car has become the Excalibur in the Lake of Somerset. National film crews came down to capture the devastating scenes in January and February as the rising water turned villages into islands and roads into rivers.

Of all the footage shot, one image became a constant: this flooded Seat Toledo gently bobbing below the surface of the water. Some dubbed it the Muchelney Measure in honour of the village it failed to escape.

Last week two of our staff were on location to do some filming when they rediscovered the Toledo above water for the first time. One thing led to another and a group of flood relief volunteers joked on Facebook the now famous car should be auctioned off for charity.

And that's what Hubert Zajaczkowski, a 21-year-old apprentice from helicopter firm Agusta Westland, chose to do.

He said all proceeds would go to a flood relief charity, and put the car on eBay. Last night the auction ended ... at £101,100.

You are probably reading that sentence again, disbelieving how much it raised. A Seat Toledo! This auction made it arguably the most expensive second-hand car of its kind in the world.

For that kind of price tag, everyone interested in the car suspected team Top Gear were behind it. Perhaps it was to be an upcycle project? Was May adding in some water protection and air supply before The Stig drove it into a lake?

Sadly the truth was a little more obvious. The high bidder was a prankster, an alleged 17-year-old who claimed his little brother egged him on to bid for a joke. And that last part is in doubt. Regardless, there was no £101,100.

The auction is now in a bit of limbo. Disappointed Hubert has approached the next highest bidders, who are also at the £100,000 mark. But hopes are a little beaten.

This is why we are writing to you as a plan B: would you be interested in a used Seat Toledo, not working, horrendous condition, collection only?

When Hubert set out on his charity venture, he only dreamed of a couple of hundred quid to give to a charity that would help people who have lost their homes. But if no one pays up, it would be heartening to think that eBay's loss would be a gain both for you and for charity.

I look forward to hearing from you. Love the show!


Bede MacGowan,

Editor, Central Somerset Gazette

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