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Hang on a minute, lads – I’ve got a great idea

I’m sure you’ve all seen the classic film The Italian Job (and no I don’t mean the god-awful remake) so you’ll know the literally cliff-hanging ending.  Ever since, people have been left to speculate what Charlie Croker’s great idea to rescue the gold might have been.  As you know, the thieves are left at the end of the film balancing at one end of a coach with the newly stolen gold at the other end and the whole thing teatering on the edge of a cliff.

Michael Caine revealed the original plan from the script was to switch on the engine and burn off the petrol from the tank until the reduced weight allowed the coach to right itself, but the Royal Society of Chemistry was interested in seeing if there were any better ideas out there.  They issued a challenge to see if anyone could come up with any other solutions to how the gang might have escaped safely with the gold.

This week, they published their shortlist of the five top solutions.

They are, in short:

  • Smashing the glass from the windows, draining the fuel tank and letting the tyres down
  • Loading up the back with rocks
  • Dissolving the gold with acid made from the explosives in the coach and their urine
  • Melting the asphalt on the road so the bus would stick to it
  • Moving further to the front of the coach to allow someone to go forward and pull the gold back

The official winner is announced on Friday.  Incidentally, use of helicopters as a solution was explicitly banned.


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