8th August 1963: The Mail Train which was stopped on a bridge during ‘The Great Train Robbery’ so that it could be unloaded. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

On August 8, 1963, a group of 15 thieves made off in two Land Rovers with today’s equivalent of $7 million in cash after robbing a train in England. The heist, known as the Great Train Robbery, became one of the most notorious cases in British history.

The train that was robbed was a Traveling Post Office train that was headed to London from Glasgow. As History tells it, the thieves:

...used a false red signal to get the train to stop, then hit the driver with an iron bar, seriously injuring him, in order to gain control of the train.

The thieves loaded 120 mailbags filled with the equivalent of $7 million in used bank notes into their Land Rovers and sped off. The vehicles had been stolen in central London and marked with identical license plates in order to confuse the police.


After successfully loading up with the loot, the men drove to their hideout at a farm in Buckinghamshire, England, where they divvied everything up. At the time they were almost viewed as heroes for the sheer brazenness of the heist. Twelve of the 15 robbers were eventually captured.

History also tells us that one of the two Land Rover getaway cars is currently owned by an enthusiast, with this thread identifying the car as a Series One model.

A Series One Land Rover, much like the ones used in the heist. But not the same one. Or was it?

This whole thing plays out in my mind like a more badass and real version of The Italian Job. The BBC has a wonderful post about who the robbers were and what happened to them after the heist.


For example, Bruce Reynolds, who was the mastermind behind the whole thing, was nicknamed Napoleon and, after he pulled the job off, fled to Mexico with a fake passport and then to Canada with his wife and son. He was captured in 1968 when he returned to England was sentenced to jail for 25 years. After his release in 1978, he was “jailed again in the 1980s for three years for dealing amphetamines.”

While Reynolds doesn’t seem like he was morally upstanding at all, I do have to commend him on his choice of getaway car.

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.

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