Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Iron Lady's battle bus under hammer

A 'battle bus' thought to have been built in the 1980s for Margaret Thatcher's Northern Ireland tour has sold at auction

An armour-plated bus believed to have been used by "Iron Lady" Margaret Thatcher has sold for nearly £17,000, an auctioneer said.

The 28-tonne "battle bus" is thought to have been built in the 1980s for the former prime minister's Northern Ireland tour.

The vehicle went under the hammer and beat the estimate of £10,000, selling for a final £16,940 to a vehicle collector, said Jonathan Humbert, of Northamptonshire-based JP Humbert Auctioneers.

"There was immense interest in the bus," he said.

"It sold to a spontaneous round of applause in the sale room."

The bus, which has just 28,000km (17,398 miles) on the clock, has a blast-proof floor and armour-plated glass throughout, as well as a bomb-proof armour-plated body, Mr Humbert said.

It was thought to be chemical, biological and nuclear-proof - once having its own auxiliary generator and air supply. It also boasts a Foden chassis, a body by Glover and Webb and is powered by a 12-litre Rolls-Royce engine.

Mr Humbert said the bus, which has room for around 35 passengers, had come from a private vendor who bought it from a research and development company which in turn bought it from the government.

"This isn't a good-looking vehicle by any stretch of the imagination - but it is of social and historical interest," said Mr Humbert previously.

"It is an irreplaceable one-off, an iron bus for the Iron Lady."

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