War is serious business, and it’s not to be idealized in the least. That said, enthusiasts and historians alike will often find interacting with the battlefield—and even the artillery—can be helpful in understanding the nature of war, especially if they’ve never experienced it themselves. That’s one of the reasons why London’s Tanks-A-Lot offers public rides on real combat vehicles that were used during wars.

When the owner of Tanks-A-Lot, Nick Mead, came across a vehicle from the Gulf War on eBay, he was ecstatic. Not only did Nick like to provide his customers with a new, authentic experience, but he had a passion for fixing tanks.

But after inspecting his new purchase, Nick discovered something stashed inside that even he wasn’t prepared for…

Nick Mead of Northamptonshire, England is the 55-year-old owner of Tanks-A-Lot, a company that offers rides around London in real war tanks. He allows his customers to drive the tanks themselves, too, sometimes rolling over small cars or going underwater if the tank is amphibious. Customers can even rent the tanks for parties.

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Nick would check eBay about every three days for tanks that were available that he could add to his collection. He had a passion for restoring the vehicles, so he was excited about his latest purchase: the Chinese version of the Russian T54 model from the Gulf War.

ebay2tanks a lot / tanks-alot.co.uk

Nick knew the model would be perfect for Tanks-A-Lot, and at $40,000, it was the right price. The previous owner had purchased it without a working engine or tracks, though they did refurbish it. Overall, the tank seemed to be in working order… until Nick found something inside the engine that completely blew him away.

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As part of his inspection, Nick performed a check for any munitions under the hood that would have to be presented to a bomb disposal crew. When he popped open the diesel engine, however, he stopped in his tracks: there in front of him were five gold bars, weighing about 12 pounds each.

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Nick estimated that the bars were worth around $2.5 million, and he immediately called the police. As it turned out, the gold had been stashed in the tank by Iraqi soldiers in Kuwait, who most likely looted it after purchasing the tank. Now, it’s in the possession of the London police, and Nick is finally free to use his new tank for Tanks-A-Lot!

image5Nick Mead / Facebook

Nick really lucked out in finding this cool tank from the Gulf War to use for his business. The gold he found was way too valuable for him to keep within the law, so it’s a good thing he brought it over to the police. It must have been quite the surprise to find it, though!

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