Manheim has sold a 1988 Ford Transit Mark 3 for what it understands to be a record-breaking price of £10,300.
The Transit was converted to operate as a covert surveillance vehicle, and registration records show it has been related to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Specifications such as a Cougar radio system could suggest that the van was operated by the Security Services.
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 work was carried out by C Walton Ltd in Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire, and included fitting the van out with 30-year old surveillance equipment. The restoration has been documented on Facebook.
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.”
The vehicle went up for auction on 22, May and bidding started at £5,000. The winning bid of more than double the starting amount went to van enthusiast Mark Scott of Premier Van Sales, which is understood to be the highest amount of money paid for a Mark 3 Transit.
Scott said: “I really liked the approach to the restoration and I followed it on Facebook from the start. The posts from James about the deadly Alzheimer’s disease and his father touched me deeply, and I set my heart on buying the Spy Van to support the fundraising effort, which I’m very happy I did, as I’m over the moon to be its new owner.”