Fittingly, given the operation was taking place 50 years after the filming of the classic crime caper movie ‘The Italian Job’ starring Sir Michael Caine, Benny Hill, Robert Powell and Sir Noel Coward – which hit the screen the following year in 1969 - each of the three Porsches was painted either red, white or blue: the same colours of the Union Flag used to adorn the MINIs used in the big screen outing.
But this was ‘The London Job.’Gold refiners Baird &Co, which operates the UK’s largest gold refinery from a 30,0000 square foot high security premises at a discreet address in London’s Docklands, recently celebrated its own 50th anniversary after being founded in 1967.
The infamous Brinks-Mat robbery at Heathrow in November 1983 saw a record £26million of gold bullion (worth an estimated £500million today) stolen from a warehouse.
Just in case I and my co-driver took a right when I should have made a left.
The Brinks-Mat security man in the back seat was an added disincentive.
Although many of the gang behind it were convicted, the majority of the stolen gold was never recovered.
Ironically, the top secret route – past the Tower of London, Waterloo Station, and the High Court - had to be tweaked to avoid Blackfriars Bridge because Hollywood actor Tom Cruise was shooting the next ‘Mission Impossible’ film there.
Bullion merchants Baird&Co had stipulated that each of the standard production cars for the job had to be capable of carrying four adults – the driver, a radio operator and specialist security – and have the load capacity to house two specially-designed gold bullion crates that, when containing gold bars, weigh more than 160kg.