Stolen Great Train Robbery racing car found during Lower Hutt police raid

The historic car is rumoured to have links The Great Train Robbery of 1963. Photo / NZ Police
The historic car is rumoured to have links The Great Train Robbery of 1963. Photo / NZ Police

A rare stolen vintage race car, believed to be one of only 11 in the world, has been discovered during a police raid in Lower Hutt.

The 1962 Brabham BT2 was stolen from a property in Paraparaumu Beach in July last year.

And after more than a year in the wilderness the historic car was uncovered during execution of a search warrant last Tuesday.

The car is rumoured to have links the Great Train Robbery of 1963.

Owner and thief victim John Rapley told NZ Police he thought the car would be gone forever.

"Everyone told me it wouldn't be seen again," he said.

"I never believed I would get a racing car like this - the car is very special to me. I built it up from a bit of wreckage - and the car has a big history. Everyone remembers it from the 60s."

The car was reportedly used as the getaway car in the Great Train Robbery by driver Roy 'The Weasel' James.

It is also believed Kiwi Formula One driver Denny Hulme drove it before it was passed on to another racing legend, Graham McRae.

In 1987 Rapley got his hands on the car, spending hours making it roadworthy.

But 30 years later his prized possession was stolen.


It is also believed Kiwi Formula One driver Denny Hulme drove the famous car before being passed onto racing legend Graham McRae. Photo / NZ Police
It is also believed Kiwi Formula One driver Denny Hulme drove the famous car before being passed onto racing legend Graham McRae. Photo / NZ Police


Although the car is no longer driveable, Rapley says he's very pleased to have it back.

"She's certainly had one hell of a ride."

The Great Train Robbery of 1963:

The Great Train Robbery was the robbery of £2.6 million from a Royal Mail train heading from Glasgow to London on the West Coast Main Line in Buckinghamshire, England in the early hours of August 1963.

After having tampered with the lineside signals to bring the train to a halt, a 15-strong gang of robbers attacked the train.

With careful planning the robbers escaped with over £2.6 million (equivalent to £50m today). The bulk of the stolen money was never recovered.

Former racing driver Roy James was the getaway driver during the famous robbery.

The successful Formula Two driver claimed he turned to crime because he was unable to get the sponsorship to enable him to drive Formula One.

He died in 1997 at 61.

- NZ Herald

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