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Ford Transit 'spy van' sale sets Manheim record


Manheim has sold a 1988 Ford Transit Mark 3 ‘spy van’ for what is believed to be a world record price.

It sold for £10,300 at the dedicated van auction centre in Shepshed, Leicestershire.

The Transit was converted by a specialist company to operate as a covert surveillance vehicle.

The registration records indicate the van was registered at a number of locations that are related to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

However, several specialists suggest the vehicle may have been operated by the Security Services, the specification includes an encrypted Cougar radio system.

At Manheim’s Shepshed van auction centre on Monday 22 May, Matthew Davock, head of LCV at Manheim, opened the bidding at £5,000.

The gavel went down at £10,300, following the winning bid from Mark Scott, of Premier Van Sales.

The sale of the ‘spy Van’ was recorded by a member of the public who attended the auction at Manheim Shepshed.

Less than 72 hours after posting the videos on Facebook, they had been viewed more than 500,000 times and attracted in excess of 5,000 shares and comments.

The vendor of the ‘spy van’ was James Davis, director of commercial vehicles at Manheim.

He purchased the 48,000-mile van in 2014, with the aim of restoring it as closely as possible to its original specification.

The original work was carried out by C Walton, in Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire, and included fitting the van out with 30-year old surveillance equipment.

The ‘spy van’ has a Facebook page, under the same name, that tracked progress of the project throughout.

Davis said: “The spy van project has been an amazing journey.

“I decided to auction the van off in aid of the Alzheimer's Society, with the entire sale price being donated to the charity.

“Along with other donations, the total we’ve raised stands at nearly £13,000. A huge thanks to everyone involved over the last couple of years, and of course to Mark as the winning bidder.”

Those who would like to support the fundraising effort can do so by searching for ‘Spy Van’ on

> The 'spy van' on Facebook

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