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Friday, January 30, 2009

A BOFFIN has used a scientific formula to solve one of the movie world's biggest cliffhangers – what happens at the end of The Italian Job.

Fans of the classic film were left wondering how mobster Charlie Croker could have got his gang – and the gold bullion they had stolen – out of a mountainside pickle.

In the closing scene the bus the gang made their getaway in was left balancing precariously over the edge of a cliff on its way back to Britain.

The gold nicked from Italy is at one end – and the gang at the other.

"Hang on a minute lads – I've got a great idea," says Croker, played by Michael Caine.

And then the film ends.

But now an IT specialist has found a way of getting the ten-strong gang safely out of the bus without losing their booty.

John Godwin, of Godalming, Surrey, won a Royal Society of Chemistry competition to come up with a solution by breaking down the task into three steps.

The first step involves punching out the third set of windows in the middle of the Bedford bus with the heel of Croker's shoe.

This would relieve some weight from the back of the bus hanging over the cliff edge.

But more importantly it will let the crew lean out and punch in the front windows.

The next stage is to open the access panel to the fuel tank, sited inside the bus halfway along its axis, and to drain the tank of its 36 gallons of petrol, or start the engine till the fuel runs out.

Once this fuel is drained, Mr Godwin said there should be enough weight in the front of the bus to allow one crew member to leave.

So the third step is to lower one of the crew from the broken windows so that they can let down the front tyres.

This will reduce the vehicle's rocking motion and make the front end more stable.

Then he will bring back ballast, in the form of rocks, needed to counter the effect of someone crawling along the floor to retrieve the gold bars, which could be piled up at the front end before being carefully removed.

And, with the gold out the crew would be safe too.

( they would of course have to hide the gold, and walk to the nearest town and get another vehicle to go back and get the gold... but you get the picture )

Godwin said gathering the data he needed for his equations, like the fuel efficiency of a 1964 Bedford VAL14 (the bus), the weight of a window or the price of gold in 1968 — needed to establish the weight of the haul — was fairly easy. “The Internet’s a great place,” he said.

The society's chief executive Richard Pike said he received around 2,000 entries to the competition and many were ingenious, devious, quirky or just outrageous.

Mr Godwin won a holiday in Turin, the city where the 1969 film was made.

Sir Dayvd ( you were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off )

of Oxen-ford-shire


  1. Keats: They say he's going to do a job in Italy.
    Mr. Bridger: Well, I hope he likes spaghetti. They serve it four times a day in the Italian prisons.

    This would be a great flick to watch while snowed in this weekend.

    Sir Bowie "where we drive on the wrong side of the road, too" of Greenbriar

  2. The other part of the equation is how long would it take for another vehicle or the police to wonder on by while they are hauling off the gold and stacking the rocks?

    Possible but unlikely to be carried off without witnesses.

    Sir Hook Who is Worth His Weight in Gold of Warrick