Spade standing in field

Buried Treasure: What Happened In The Race To Find A Brand New Car

With the cost of living becoming inescapable in 2022, people across the country are feeling the financial pinch – and car owners are also seeing the costs rise when it comes to running and maintaining their vehicles. According to our cost of driving research, around 20% of drivers are feeling stressed as a result of these routine running costs, even without considering the costs incurred when our cars need extra TLC or reach the end of their lives.

The cost of getting a new car to replace those that are sent to the scrap heap is a significant one at the best of times…so we wanted to give someone a helping hand by eliminating this cost altogether and giving them a new car for free.

Internal view of Fiat 500 driver's console

How did the treasure hunt work?

To participate, all our hunters had to do was decipher a set of three clues to reveal the location of where the keys to a brand-new car were buried via the what3words app – then make their way there and claim the keys!

The clues were released on our website at 9:00am on Tuesday 18th October, with thousands of people rushing to make their guesses and reveal the location. Although the keys could have been buried anywhere in the country, from London, to the West Midlands, Yorkshire or up somewhere in Scotland, in the end, the answers to the clues (baths.legend.cashew) revealed the location of the buried keys as being at Cutlers Farm near Henley-in-Arden.

Just 25 minutes later, the first hunters arrived with trowels and shovels in hand, and with the brand-new Fiat 500 in sight, set to work trying to find exactly where the keys were buried.

Despite nearly 2,000 attempts overall to guess the clues, 426 people guessing correctly and multiple hunters making it to the final site, after 20 minutes of searching our winner was finally crowned at 9:45am.

People on phones standing in a field

Who was the winner?

The lucky winner of the brand-new Fiat 500 was 40-year-old Simon Muirhead, from the nearby village of Bearsley – but his journey to finding the keys was far from what we’d expected!

Just after 9:00am, as Simon was on his way to work, he had a call from a number he didn’t recognise – as a self-employed roofer, he’s used to getting calls from unknown numbers when potential clients try to get in touch. He answered, only to find two men on the end of the line, convincing him to drive to a location and find a free car.

Sounds pretty unbelievable, right?

Simon thought so too, but after seeing the details on our website, he took a leap of faith and drove following the directions he was being given – only to find an empty field, apart from the Scrap Car Comparison team and a brand-new Fiat 500.

After some guidance from the men on the phone, and despite the multiple other hunters that had arrived, Simon eventually found the spot marked X and unearthed the keys to his brand-new car – leaving other participants from Sheffield, Leicester, Birmingham and Warwick empty handed.

man standing in field with spade

You may be wondering who the men on the phone were – a client that realised Simon was near to the site perhaps? Wrong. On the end of the phone were Alex Rawson and Danny Lane, two IT Support Consultants from RM Education, both based in Manchester, who’d seen news of the competition online a couple of weeks earlier.

After keenly waiting on our site for the clues to go live and guessing them correctly, Alex and Danny realised that they wouldn’t be able to win the car for themselves as it was just too far away, but thought that they were in a good position to try and make someone else’s day. While on Google Maps they spotted a few businesses listed nearby, one being RM Roofing – Simon’s company! So, seeing as they couldn’t win the car themselves, and due to the very similar business names, they decided that Simon was to be the person they would help to get the keys, as part of their ultimate random act of kindness.

They dialled Simon’s number and hoped that he’d answer – which thankfully for them, he did! They then managed to convince Simon that they weren’t scammers, or part of an elaborate prank, and directed him all the way to the field. They explained the what3words app and gave the three words to help him find the final point, then suddenly, the game was up. The keys were found.

Speaking to us, Alex commented on the moment they realised they’d helped Simon to win the keys: “The moment he found them; we were here celebrating together. It felt so good to spread some good fortune and play a part in making someone’s day. We’re over the moon to have been able to get through to someone and effectively be the reason they’ve got a brand-new car sitting on their drive!

man standing with keys next to new car in field

Simon definitely wasn’t expecting to be the owner of a brand-new car when he set off for work on the 18th October, and we definitely weren’t expecting to hear the story that emerged either.

The new Fiat 500 has now headed off to its new home – but Simon is also paying forward the kindness…
Speaking to us after the shock had worn off, Simon commented: “My partner Patrycja has a Volkswagen Polo that’s around a decade old, and has been concerned about a noise it makes, which could have led to a costly repair or two, but now I’m going to give her the keys to a brand-new car. When I woke up this morning, I never thought I would be getting a car for free, it’s been incredible to actually win something!

With the rising cost of living and a new job to contend with, it’ll bring Patrycja some peace of mind to know that there aren’t any large costs hiding around the corner, and that her four wheels can now be trusted to get her from A-B for many years to come.

new car in field with sun shining

Interested in the story?

If you’re interested in writing about the winner, and where the keys were buried and would like further details and media assets, please contact us at [email protected].

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