At the end of the original version of The Italian Job (yes, this will contain a spoiler so don’t read on if you haven’t seen it) the gang is left perched atop a cliff in their bus, with them at one end and their gold at the other. (Literally, a cliffhanger.) Knowing that it would be impossible for them to get to the gold without tipping the bus off the cliff, they make the wise decision and abandon hopes of endless riches.
However, the Royal Society of Chemists wasn’t convinced that the gang needed to leave without the best of both worlds, and created a competition to see who could come up with the best solution.
In the end, John Godwin came up with an idea that’s as genius as it is plausible, and won himself a trip to Turin with the following solution:
Break the windows at the back to reduce weight; break the windows at the front inwards to save weight; hold one gang member upside-down out of the window to deflate the front tires and stabilize the vehicle; drain the rear fuel tank through an access panel at the bottom of the bus; gang members leave one by one from the front, collecting stones to replace their weight; keep adding stones until someone can safely go to the rear to retrieve the gold.
In addition to John’s entry, more than 2,000 people submitted their own ideas, so be sure to visit the RSC website for more, or download Godwin’s PDF if you’d like to see all the science behind his daring gold rescue.