A hundred years on, the Fisson 8HP is imported to Britain for a second time

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ONE of the first cars to be imported into Britain, and the oldest surviving example of its kind, returned home at the weekend after spending decades in an American museum.

The 1898 Fisson 8HP wagonette, which entered several races when it was first made, will join a collection of Victorian cars in Sussex and may even be entered for rallies in the future.

The new owner, Robin Loder, who has six other Victorian cars, said he had known about the Fisson for 20 years but it had never come up for sale before.

"It really is a beautiful car and I am delighted to finally own it," he said. "I have always been interested in it because it is the only surviving one of its kind and it has always been on my shopping list. But it has never been on the market before."

The primrose yellow car was designed and made by Louis Fisson in Paris. He is thought to have built only 12 models, though he may possibly have made as few as three.

The model was first recorded at the Paris-Marseille-Paris race of 1896. Unfortunately, despite being one of the first away, it promptly ran over a spectator.

"The first car away, a Fisson driven by M Ferte, unfortunately caused an accident at the very beginning of the race," a spectator recorded. "The crowd surrounding the competitors was thicker than ever before, and the police had some difficulty in keeping the passage for the cars; but in spite of these precautions M Ferte ran over a man in the Avenue de Paris, though no injury was caused beyond bruises and shock."