Nick Mead is a wartime specialist who focuses on tank and weaponry restoration. The British collector has always had a knack for rebuilding unusual equipment.
So, when he was on the lookout for a certain type of tank to add to his inventory, he knew he was going to have a hard time getting his hands on something with potential. When he finally found the perfect tank, he got much more than he bargained for and his life was changed.
Why pay a pretty penny for something when you can find a bargain? Nick Mead is one man who wisely followed this knowledge. Nick is an English tank collector who is always looking for the best deal he can find.
Ever since he was young, he had a fascination with tanks and war equipment that have been used throughout the world. Nick knew he wanted a career that dealt specifically with older tanks. Clearly, tank dealing was the best route.
Taking Care of Business
Since he built his business, things were going well. He had quickly become known as one of the leading tank specialists out there.
Nick found that the best way to search for these tanks was online. There were various sites he depended on when finding the next model. He either paid for them in cash or traded other assets he had in his inventory for the tank. Every transaction he made was just as thrilling as the very first one
War tanks were much more than a business to Nick; they were a passion and historical education.
Nick had wanted to introduce others to his love of tanks. There were hundreds of them that have been decommissioned and were selling online for thousands of dollars. The tanks could be cleaned up and restored for public use. Nick thought this was the perfect opportunity to get his hands on a piece of history and teach everyone why they should be revered.
A Unique Business Needs a Great Vision
As he grew his inventory, Nick was constantly thinking of ways to gain more customers.
He knew his company could really take off if he marketed the tanks the right way. He wanted the large pieces of equipment to be used by everyone. There were not many business like his, and Nick knew he could really leave a mark in the industry if he used his resources wisely. He had a handful of workers who helped him with his vision.
Beginning the search
Nick Mead had been collecting the tanks for many years. One day, as he was searching on the internet for another combat car, he found a Russian T-54 that someone else was offering for sale.
It was a type of a tank that interested him, and a good business idea came into his mind. It was imperative that he take hold of that vehicle, as he owned a tank driving company called the Tanks-Alot. This tank was a unique piece.
From Russia with Love
Nick told the Daily Mail that he saw the vehicle advertised, and immediately he thought of giving people a special experience.
His customers would have some sort of From Russia With Love experience. The whole idea was for people to go and drive the Russian tanks. The finding of this tank was a blessing as he already had two similar tanks in his possession. He discussed this with his staff, and everyone agreed that it was going to be successful.
What is special with the Soviet T-54
The Russian T-54 is a special model that was popular in the years following the Second World War. Manufactured and introduced by the Soviet union, it was used in several armed conflicts and had proven that it was the right vehicle.
The tanks had been deployed to various areas to take part in the fighting that was happening in other countries. It was known for its resilience in the tough terrains. Nick knew that he had to get that car.
The Ultimate Weapon
The statistics for the Russian T-54 that were built during that time are pretty impressive. It is estimated that more than 100,000 vehicles were manufactured until the series was stopped in 1979.
Instead, the Russians brought in a newer and tougher model. The tanks were used all over the world where conflict was happening. Some of the areas where they were deployed include the Middle East and Vietnam. They were regarded as the monster tanks, feared by the enemy.
A Wild Experience
When Nick spoke with his team, they were excited about the possibilities this tank could bring them. Once they found the perfect piece of equipment, they could get it restored and up and running in no time, which would be great for their business.
Many people haven’t had such an opportunity, let alone one so impressive. Once the public hears they are giving out tank experiences, there were going to be lines out the door to drive this historic tank!
Finding the Perfect Tank
Nick knew he couldn’t just settle on any Russian T-54 tank. He needed one that gave him what he was looking for. He refused to settle for any tank that was in poor shape.
Nick had no problem fixing minor details, but he wasn’t looking for a major facelift. He scoured online bidding sites like eBay for what he was looking for. This tank could be life changing for not just himself but his business also. He wouldn’t give up!
He searched and searched, the tapping on his mouse becoming a sort of mantra. There were plenty of tanks available on eBay, but none of them were quite what Nick was looking for. Some of the T-54 tanks were in poor shape, and he couldn’t envision them ever running again.
He scrolled through all the tanks that didn’t look good from the outside. He wanted a Russian tank that looked just as formidable as it was back in its heyday.
Too Good to Be True?
A tank suddenly caught Nick’s eye. He clicked on the image for a closer look. As he read the description, Nick’s body perked up. This could be the tank! He called in some of his team to read the description as well.
Nick was thorough in his dealings and wanted to make sure he wasn’t overlooking anything. Everyone felt the same way. This tank sounded too good to be true. He had to contact the owner as soon as possible.
The man who offered
Joe Hewes, aged 23 years old, is another collector of tanks and happened to have this Russian T-54 vehicle in his possession. Since he had no specific plans with it, he decided to sell it through eBay.
He wanted to sell it, but ended up trading it with Nick. Joe traded the vehicle with two armored tanks. Both of the tanks that he got from Nick were worth $42,000. It was a done deal, and both men were happy.
A Dark Secret
Nick was happy that his plans would be put into action, at last. After he had got this Russian T-54, he now had three similar tanks in his collection. He believed that it was just a matter of time before his clients started getting a special experience that he had prepared for them.
Little did each of these men know at the time when they were trading these vehicles that there was a dark secret that this Russian tank held.
Who is Joe Hewes exactly? For starters, Joe Hewes is a self-taught repairman who specializes in fixing up tanks and other wartime artillery. He knew that when he came into finding the Russian tank, he either had to spruce it up himself or sell it online.
Joe always had a bit of a funny bone, so he decided to put up the tank online as a joke. He didn’t think anyone was going to buy the unusual piece of equipment.
Joe didn’t know the rules of making an online post such as this. He knew there were regulations when it came to selling war equipment and weaponry, and he was prepared for his listing to be taken down.
However, when he saw that his ad was getting plenty of views, he changed his mind. He was sure he was going to get a sale. Joe was the only one in the area with a tank like this; demand was high.
Preparing the Tank
Nick was excited about his new Russian tank, for good reason. Everything was working out according to plan. Not only did he find the T-54, but he also got a good deal out of it.
Nick had been wanting to unload some of his inventory for a while now, so when Joe said he was going to take his British army truck and Abbot howitzer self-propelled gun he was all for it. To both men it was an even trade.
A Kid in a Candy Store
Nick and his team carefully transported the tank home. He planned on calling in his mechanic to help him take a look at the equipment from top to bottom.
But first, he just wanted to soak it all in. Yes, he had seen the tank online, but that was nothing compared to being in person. The tank was a magnificent sight, and he started taking pictures of it for his records. He was like a kid in a candy store!
The hidden secrets
Nick is an experienced collector of combat vehicles, and he had done it for several years. He was aware that some of the tanks came with more than what he had bargained for. One thing that was clear to him was to appreciate that these vehicles were lethal war machines.
There was no enemy that looked forward to meeting these deadly machines, obviously. But, during the conflict, the military men also used these tanks for other activities outside of fighting.
During conflicts, a lot of things are in disarray. There is uncertainty in the political environment, and the ruling governments are unstable. There is always a danger that the government would collapse, and that’s when these tanks come into use.
There is complete anarchy, and everyone takes advantage of that situation to do whatever they want. Throughout history, the tanks have been used to ferry people and precious items safely. Most of the tanks have their own story to tell.
The background of the Soviet Tank
The tank Nick bought was used by the Soviets, but it was manufactured in China. Surprisingly, it wasn’t even used by the Russians themselves in the conflicts since the Iraqi army managed it in their country.
In Iraq, the Russian T-54 was under the command of one person, and it was none other than the late Saddam Hussain who was a tyrannical ruler in that country. It was clear to Nick that he purchased a vehicle with a strange history.
A Lesson in History
During the Iran-Iraq conflict, tanks were mostly used instead of the foot soldiers. It was a terrible war and it took an entire eight years to end. Very sadly, hundreds of thousands of people including the civilians were killed.
After the war, which had no victor, the tanks were deployed to another conflict zone that had just begun. The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait saw the looting of the rich country’s resources, most of which were being transported by the tanks.
A Distinctive Tank
The Russian-used tank has a lot more history than Nick could ever imagine. Even though the manufacturing and use of the Chinese-made equipment is now gone, it was used for decades between the 1950s and 1990s.
A few Third World countries around the world still use the aging piece of weaponry as part of their military arsenal. It is a testament to the manufacturing process and the tank. It was designed to take harsh abuse and last a long time.
A Beautiful Behemoth
When Nick first saw the tank, he was impressed by the condition he found it in. Joe hadn’t done much work on it, so it was still in its rawest form since it was last used over 20 year ago.
Nick was hoping that the turnaround time to get the tank up and running was only going to take him a few short weeks. This was going to be amazing for Nick’s business and his colleagues, he was so sure.
Nick and His Team
As soon as Nick and his team received the tank at Tanks-Alot, they started working on the vehicle. They began by observing the condition of the tank. The workers replaced the parts that they thought were not in good condition, and also the eroded parts that had been affected negatively.
They even got the tank to appear clean and in fully operational condition. It was a lot of work as they wanted the vehicle to be in a remarkable state.
Flirting with Disaster
The team at Tanks-Alot had to use several processes to work on the Russian T-54 tank. They even checked every nook and cranny of the vehicle ensuring that they had to be as careful as possible.
These vehicles are huge and overlooking even a small part can be disastrous. It could mean the tank malfunctioning or worse, the people riding it can be put in a dangerous position. No wonder they didn’t want to take any chances with this tank.
Cleaning and Repairing
Sometimes if you want to clean something up, you’ve gotta get a little dirty. That was definitely the case for Nick and the team. As Nick and his mechanic got deeper into the restoration process, they soon realized the many layers of repair the tank needed to get it looking good again.
Both men were perfectionists when it came to something like this, so they knew they had to scour every nut and bolt to make sure all looked well.
The men had done this type of work many times before, so there wasn’t a huge learning curve when it came to fixing the tank. The garage was fully equipped to handle the large piece of equipment, and they were hours deep in repairs before they knew it.
For them, it was easy to get lost in work like this. Even though it was hard work, it brought them joy whenever they picked up a tool or piece of metal.
The men had been working on the tank for several days now. It was a non-stop process, and as they got deeper into the restoration, they found more items that needed repair.
To the naked eye, it may seem like the men were going overboard with their restoration, but they were seeking perfection. This tank was more than a piece of machinery. It was an opportunity to make dreams come true. Nothing would stop them from seeing their dreams through.
Beauty is Pain
They had started working from the top down. Gunning equipment was the toughest part so far. There were a lot of little pieces and anchors that had to be taken apart, inspected, and put back together again.
It was tedious but necessary for the men to do it this way. Their hands had even started aching from the constant overuse of them. Despite all this, they knew the end result would be spectacular. It was going to pay off big.
As the restoration went on, the men were happy with the results. It was slow going, but they were doing an impeccable job making it look as good as ever. Nick was constantly doing research online to make sure the tank stayed true to its original design.
He was learning a lot about how the Chinese manufactured each piece. There was a lot to go through. Despite the unending workload, he found himself more determined than ever to finish this.
Nick’s Greatest Challenge
Nick’s mechanic had never seen something quite like this incredible tank. He had been working tanks for several years, but this one was in an entirely different class altogether. There was a lot of detail here that he wasn’t used to.
He and Nick wanted to make absolute sure they were on the same page when working on the different sections. One wrong move could set them back weeks. They double checked that each repair was done according to instruction.
Nick’s tenacity began to wane, as he had been working himself into the ground.. Nick and his mechanic had spent a lot of time working on the tank.
They estimated they were about halfway done when they came to the fuel canisters and surrounding parts. Before they were to begin, they wanted to take a bit of a break to recoup. They had been working nonstop and needed to walk away from the tank just to get their thoughts together.
Neither man was too familiar with the fuel system of the tank, so they wanted to do their research before going crazy disassembling the parts. Nick had a huge library of books that dealt with various tanks and hoped they could find soe direction there.
The men went over book after book until they found what they were looking for. The tank canisters were a bit complicated, and they were glad they had the wisdom to stop when they did.
Stop and Think
This was getting more complicated than Nick had ever imagined. He had to think about the best way to handle the fuel canisters. When he spoke with his mechanic, they knew they were both in unfamiliar territory.
They wanted to make sure they preserved as much of the original design as they could, so they had to go in this very delicately. Time was of the essence, and they didn’t want to spend too long coming up with a plan.
They wrote down the best steps to take and began making their way to the area in the tank. There was a lot of fasteners and bolts to get through, and each one was tough to separate.
They had been locked down for decades, and rust was a factor in the restoration. They soon made their way through the maze of metal and found what they were after. They were ready to dig in and some surprises were awaiting them.
Once the men made their way to the fuel canisters, they were met with a great surprise. One of the containers looked like it had been tampered with.
There was clearly some man made damage that could be seen on the exterior wall of the canister. Was this intentionally broken? If so, who was the culprit? They had so many questions and they were determined to find the answers. After coming this far, they couldn’t give up on this mystery.
Not Your Average Joe
The men were weary about this find. It did run through their minds that Joe may have set them up for failure. Did the young man damage the fuel canisters for a reason?
They couldn’t think of a reason why he could do such a thing, so they just figured it was an error made by a soldier when this tank was put to use so many years ago. The canister had to have been disabled for a good reason.
As the men stood back to figure out how to tackle the fuel canister situation, Nick started taking a look around the tank. If the fuel system was tampered with, was there anything else they should be made aware of?
He slowly climbed the equipment and stuck his head down where the gunning equipment was. As he stuck his hand in some of the dark pockets, he realized there was something hidden in one of the recesses. What was it?
Nick wasn’t going to dig deeper without help. Nick called for his mechanic to take a look with him. He couldn’t see what his hand was touching, but the items were moving as he gently pulled on them.
He needed a flashlight to see what was going on. The mechanic quickly went to the tool bench and found a light to give to Nick. What were they going to find here? One thing was for sure, it would be unexpected.
The mechanic gave the light to Nick, and he shone the flashlight toward his hand. If he was seeing correctly, it looked like he was touching old ammunition! He carefully started tugging again and eventually broke the mass of weapons free.
They had somehow missed this cache of equipment when they did their initial inspection of the tank. This tank had a lot more history than they ever could have bargained for, and the surprises didn’t end there at all.
The ammunition that was pulled out could still be active, so the men were careful when handling it. It looked like some of the guns were loaded, and they knew they had a new kind of monster on their hands.
They immediately called the authorities to come over and take a look at their find. Nick didn’t want these getting into the wrong hands if he threw them away. The police came shortly after to take the weapons from them.
Making the Discovery
Nick and his team were experienced enough to know that the tank had to be handled with utmost care in case there was something dangerous. Their find of the ammunition was a huge surprise to them, and it could have ended badly if the situation was different.
One wrong move, and the guns could have gone off and severely injured one of the men. It quickly brought both men back to reality, but their excitement over the matter didn’t wane.
A Great Shock
When they spoke with the police who came soon after the call was made, they were just as shocked as Nick and the mechanic were. As much as they had witnessed, they had never seen guns dating back to the war like this.
It was incredible that the Russian government didn’t know these had been missing for so long. Nick knew in his line of work, anything was possible. This recent discovery just took that statement to the next level!
Eyes Wide Open
Once the police left with the weapons, the men knew they had to be vigilant going forward. Anything was possible after this. They couldn’t believe that no one had noticed a huge amount of guns and ammunition went missing after all these years.
Could there be more hidden inside the tank? It was important they cleared the war tank from any more weapons. They didn’t want a potential customer finding something like this while they were out for a ride.
Nick checked the interior one more time, but he didn’t find anything else. He chuckled and told his mechanic that this tank was going to be a lot of work. They didn’t anticipate any of this happening, as it never had occurred before during other restorations.
They decided to continue where they left off and made their way back to the fuel canisters. But just when things seemed to be back to normal, Nick discovered something odd and very exciting.
Something odd on the vehicle
The team spent a lot of hours as they inspected and restored the tank. But, there was something that seemed unusual. One of the vehicle’s fuel canisters was not in working condition.
On closer inspection, they discovered that it appeared it had been deliberately disabled. Then the team realized that there was something inside that was surely not supposed to be there. Everyone was puzzled by the turn of events as they had not expected that and needed further investigation.
When the team felt the canister, it had a strange weight. They were certain that there was an object inside that could have been stored there purposefully. It was hidden, and the one who had put it there didn’t want anyone to find it.
Nick and his team carefully removed the canister that was mounted on the tank. It was important for them to make a serious inspection of the part to avoid damaging the tank when it became operational.
A Brief Hesitation
Nick and his mechanic had already found them in a dangerous situation with those weapons. He didn’t need more danger. When Nick and the mechanic brought the canister out, they called for the rest of the team to help them with this huge task.
Anything could be in there, and they wanted to make sure they had enough manpower to handle the contents of the container. They gently placed the large canister on the ground and just stared at it.
Easy Does It
No one wanted to be the one to open the case to see what was inside. Nick was just hoping that whatever it was didn’t harm them.
It was clear the canister hadn’t been open since the tank was in operation, and there was a layer of grime and dirt that had caked onto the opening. Nick placed his hand over the case and tried to feel if there was any movement inside. He couldn’t detect anything from the outside.
They made another suspicious finding
The team at Tanks-Alot had taken the safest route to report the bullets that they had found to the authorities. Their finding energized them to make a further inspection of the tank.
It was clear that if it had been used to hide the bullets, then in all likelihood there were more items that were hidden. Then they started searching for hidden secrets, and sure enough, they were not disappointed as they discovered another secret which took them by surprise.
More Treasures to Be Found
The tank had several fuel tanks much to their amazement. Just like when they had found the ammunition, the workers discovered that there was another fuel tank that wasn’t working.
However, this fuel tank was different as it was much heavier than the other one they had removed earlier. It appeared that there was something different, and not bullets or fuel. The team was perplexed and didn’t know if they would be safe or luckier than in the first discovery.
An amazing discovery
This time around the team had no doubts that they would discover firearms. It made sense. It was an armored vehicle and bullets required firearms for their use. But, after they disconnected it, they realized that it seemed it was something else.
They decided to take a video throughout the entire process of the discovery. They wanted to be on the safe side in case the finding was something illegal they would have needed to defend themselves to the authorities.
The Golden Ticket
The fuel canister was very heavy, and it had to take two people using crowbars to put it high enough for them to reach inside of the canister. The team had to break its underbelly to remove the mysterious objects.
After struggling to remove the item inside, one of the men removed a brick that was a bit bright. But, after brushing it against his clothes, the item was shiny, and the team realized immediately that it was gold bullion.
Beautiful, shiny, rich treasure winked at the men from the canister. It was unimaginable. Nick couldn’t believe what he was seeing! Was this real or was this just a prank?
As he held the bar of gold in his hand, he was convinced this was the real deal. The bullion was heavy and needed two hands to hold. As he passed the gold over to his cohorts, they couldn’t believe it either. Where had all of this fortune come from?
A True Treasure Trove
The gold glistened in the light and each man was mesmerized by the vision. The damaged fuel canister was all starting to make sense now. Someone had deliberately hidden this gold here and probably intended to come back for the treasure.
Either the person forgot about the hidden treasure, or something happened where it made it impossible to return for it. The background story to this must have been truly amazing. Nick wished he knew who had hidden this here.
They were struck with gold fever
The team was excited with their findings and even the two men who were initially struggling to hold the heavy canister were filled with adrenaline. Mechanic Todd Chamberlain tried to reach inside again to find out if there were more gold bars.
It was like a dream every time he put his hand inside. It brought out another gold bar. The gold bars kept coming out until they got themselves five of them. This was beyond what anyone had expected.
Rolling in Gold
The team was excited by the find. They had not thought even in their dreams to find the real gold bars. It was a huge fortune that was bought from eBay for a simple trade-off of the tanks.
The question of whether they could keep it or not started rising. Nick as the owner of the company clarified that matter with a firm decision. He advised that they would follow all the proper procedures and report everything to the authorities.
A Hard Decision
When the team heard what Nick decided to do with the gold, it was hard not to feel a little bit disappointed. One minute they were rolling in gold and now they knew they’d be giving up a fortune.
If they had their way, they could split up the treasure and cash in on this huge discovery. They knew Nick was right, though. They had to do the right thing and call the authorities again, even though it was hard.
Giving Up the Gold
While Nick was talking to his team about steps to take, he couldn’t stop handling the gold bars. They were smooth and shiny even after all of these years tucked away.
He knew when he called the police one more time, they weren’t going to believe he had a new story to top the old one! This tank was bringing in more surprises than anyone could handle. He found his phone and started dialing. This was going to make headlines.
Reporting to the police
Nick reported their findings to the police, and he didn’t hide what they had found hidden inside the Russian T-54 tank. The police officers were sent to make their own investigations.
They went to the farm, and gathered the gold bars, leaving Nick with only a receipt.The treasure was securely stored in a UK police station. The police assured Nick and his team that they were going to do everything possible to find the rightful owners of the gold.
Ordinary People with Extraordinary Hobbies
People have different hobbies, and Nick is not exceptional. But, his hobby of collecting tanks is unusual, and it wasn’t the first time that he had purchased a tank on eBay.
He already had several tanks in his possession even before he went on to purchase this Russian T-54. He is not a man on a warpath as most people would have thought. But, his business deals with these armored vehicles and this particular tank was perfect for his plans.
An extraordinary business
Nick runs a business that deals with tanks and other armored vehicles that were used in various conflicts. People who have watched war movies have seen tanks featured. Tanks-Alot which is Nick’s company offers exactly that.
His vehicles are rented to be used in movies and TV shows. Most likely, people have never known where the armored vehicles in the movies come from. Companies like that of Nick are in doing that kind of business and brings lots of cash.
A Tank to Call Your Own
Tanks-Alot has many armored vehicles which are kept at his farm called Helmdon, England. Some people visit the place just to have a good time driving around, and even crushing cars with the tank they end up driving. It’s all about fun with these powerful machines.
Apart from that, his business offers a tank driving license course. After successfully completing the course, you can purchase a tank from Tanks-Alot. In the United States, there are other similar kinds of businesses.
Will Nick Get Anything
Nick was told that the British police are attempting to track down the owners of the gold that was taken from him. In case they are successful in locating the people, all the gold bars will be taken back to them.
But, if they are not found, even Nick doesn’t know what will happen to the gold. Nick has safely kept the receipt in the bank’s vault, and he hopes that at most he might be given a finder’s fee.
Shock and Awe
Most of the commentators on social media were impressed with his discovery and for reporting it to the authorities. But, most of the people were shocked that he had to report it to the police.
Jeremy Wetzel remarked that it would have been appropriate to keep the whole incident quiet and sell the gold. Others believed that secretly melting it into innocent jewelry was the only way to get something out of it. Hopefully, they were not speaking from experience!
Whose Gold was it?
Whether Nick did the right thing or not to turn the gold and ammunition to the authorities depends on who you ask. Most people disapproved of his decision to hand over the treasure to the police, but one person begged to differ.
He believes that it’s very unlikely that someone will turn up to claim the gold at all. It was a fact that the gold was stolen during the conflict, and it would be difficult to trace the owners.
Honesty Pays Off
Commentator Nick Rapaport suggested that such situations are always difficult. The owner of that gold that was found in Nick’s tank was hidden in a secret place. It was not intended to be found as it was dubiously stashed inside the tank.
This means one thing only. They are not going to find the rightful owner of that gold. Most likely, Nick will get back all the gold that he found in the end. His honesty will likely pay off!