The Austin Loadstar lorry used as the ultimate getaway vehicle to take away cash stolen during the iconic Great Train Robbery and later nearly destroyed by fire makes its debut at this year’s Footman James Classic Motor Show, held at Birmingham’s NEC from 16th to 18th November.
Shown in the recent ITV television drama series ‘Mrs Biggs’, the now-famous mail train robbery, which took place on August 8 1963 saw the Austin fitted with a secret compartment between the chassis rails, and it was used to carry away three tons of mailbags containing around £3million in notes – a sum equivalent to £45-50million today.
Bought by the robbers from a War Department sale, the still-khaki ex-Army lorry was escorted by two Land-Rovers also painted in Army colours from the robbery site to the hideout where the cash was counted out: The robbers believed an Army convoy wasn’t likely to be stopped by the police.
The bulk of the stolen money was not recovered. Three robbers were never found while two convicted robbers escaped but the truck was confiscated by Scotland Yard and then sold.
Bought by a Margate showman and displayed for five years it was later acquired from a Yorkshire scrapyard by the Cae Dai Trust Museum in Denbigh, North Wales, but in December 2009 was nearly destroyed in an arson attack that claimed several cars and almost all other contents in the collection of 1950s lifestyle. While all the other cars were destroyed, the Austin lorry suffered just smoke and burn damage, which gave it a greater chance of survival.
The Museum, which was won plaudits for its work with disadvantaged adults, is based in the Cae Dai Trust and the Great Train Robbery lorry will be shown, in unrestored condition, next to a display highlighting the Trust’s work. The plan is to raise funds to bring the vehicle back to its former glory.
From Motorin news