The Great Train Robbers' Austin Loadstar lorry can be seen at the Footman James Classic Motor Show from November 16th - 18th 2012.
The Great Train Robbers' Austin Loadstar lorry can be seen at the Footman James Classic Motor Show from November 16th - 18th 2012. This vehicle has a remarkable history. It was purchased by the robbers from a War Department sale, then fitted with a secret compartment between its chassis rails. During the theft on August 8th 1963, this was loaded with three tons of mailbags containing £3 million pounds in notes. That is today's equivalent of £45 - £50 million. The Loadstar was then escorted by two Land Rovers to the now famous farm the robbers used as a hideout/counting room. These escort vehicles were also painted with British military livery to minimise the risk of being stopped by Police.After the robbers' arrest, the vehicle was confiscated by Scotland Yard then sold to a 'Margate showman' who displayed it for five years. It was later saved from a scrapyard in Yorkshire by the Cae Dai Trust Museum, in Denbigh, North Wales. This museum has been praised for its work helping disadvantaged adults, and – when the vehicle is not with Footman James - shows it in un-restored condition next to a display highlighting their charitable work. Pity then that, in December 2009, it was slightly damaged by smoke and fire during an arson attack that wrecked several classic vehicles. It is now hoped enough money can be raised to restore this classic lorry to its original condition. If only it could talk.