‘SPY VAN’ SETS NEW TRANSIT RECORD
Security services Ford Transit raises £10k for charity
Manheim auction house has sold a 1988 Ford Transit MkIII for what it believes to be a world record price. It achieved £10,300 at its dedicated commercial vehicle auction centre in Shepshed, Leicestershire, on 22 May, with the proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Society.
The reason for the van achieving such a high price is that it was used as a covert surveillance vehicle.
Government records indicate that the van was registered at a number of locations that are related to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Observations from several specialists suggest that the vehicle may have been operated by the security services as a surveillance vehicle, as the vehicle specification more closely matches their requirements, including an encrypted Racal Cougar radio system.
James Davis, director of commercial vehicles at Manheim, bought the 48,000-mile van in 2014, with the aim of restoring it as closely as possible to its original specification.
The work was carried out by C Walton in Bruntingthorpe, and included fitting out the van with 30-year-old surveillance equipment.
Davis says: ‘The Spy Van project has been an amazing journey. I decided to auction the van in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society with the entire sale price donated to the charity.’
Mark Scott of Premier Van Sales bought the Transit. He says: ‘I set my heart on buying it to support the fundraising effort, and I’m over the moon to be its new owner.’
The Transit caused a stir on social media, with 500,000 views in less than 72 hours.