London: A rust-covered armour-plated "battle bus", built in 1980s for former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher`s tour of Northern Ireland, has been sold for nearly 17,000 pounds.
The 28-tonne bus with a blast-proof floor and thought to be chemical, biological and nuclear-proof was offered to Thatcher for a visit to the politically sensitive British-controlled province marred by sectarian violence.
At an auction last night, the bus was sold for 16,940 pounds (USD 26,000) to a vehicle collector, beating its 10,000-12,000 pounds guide price, according to Jonathan Humbert of JP Humbert Auctioneers in Northamptonshire, central England.
"This is not a good-looking vehicle by any stretch of the imagination, but is of social and historical interest. An irreplaceable one off! An iron bus for the Iron Lady!" Humbert said.
"There was immense interest in the bus," he said. "It sold to a spontaneous round of applause in the saleroom."
The bus, later used to transport troops, was commissioned by the British government and furnished with its own auxiliary generator and air supply to make it "chemical, biological and nuclear proof", according to the auctioneer.
The bus, which clocked only 28,000 km, had room for 35 passengers.