Car hidden from Nazis in shed in 1940 rolled out for museum exhibit

A classic car saved from being seized by the Nazis on the Channel Islands after it was hidden in a shed by a wealthy widow is to go on display for the first time.

The 1926 Trojan Tourer was hidden after Helene Gacon ordered her gardener to park it in a building in her vineyard on Guernsey.

Germans stationed on the island had banned all cars for private use and they were seized and moved to France.

But Helene, who was 49 at the time, couldn't bear to lose her the vehicle and it was hidden away on her land in Les Nicolles.

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The Nazis kept records and knew she had a car and arrived at her property to try and requisition it - but after searches left empty-handed.

The vehicle, which no longer runs, is now on display at the island’s German Occupation Museum.

Mechanics hope to have the engine running again ahead of the 75th anniversary of the Nazi’s leaving the island on May 9 next year.

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The Germans arrived in July 1940 and seized all motor vehicles belonging to island residents by September.

Richard Heaume, the curator of the German Occupation Museum, said: “Mrs. Gacon, recently widowed in 1938, had no intention of giving her car up to the Germans.

18-YEAR-OLD ACURA SPORTS CAR WAS SEALED BEHIND WALL FOR 10 YEARS

“Being a grower, she asked her head gardener to hide the car in a shed on their vinery at Les Nicolles, Forest.

“The Germans had car registry records so they came to Les Nicolles to look for Mrs. Gacon’s car but were unable to locate it and so she got away with it.”

Mrs. Gacon took the car out to St Peter Port, the island’s capital and main port, for the Liberation Day parade after the war had ended.

The island was liberated in May 1945.

The island was liberated in May 1945. (SWNS)

The car was built by Leyland in Kingston-Upon-Thames, Surrey, had a 10 horsepower engine and produced a large amount of torque for the time.

It was able to ascend hills many vehicles of the period could not attempt.

Mr. Heaume personally knew the defiant Mrs. Gacon - and says she kept herself and neighbors updated on allied progress throughout the war.

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He said: “I knew her in the 60s.

“She was a very defiant woman who kept, at least, three crystal radio sets throughout the war to keep herself and her neighbors up to date on allied progress.”

Mrs. Gacon sold the car in 1958 and it was bought by Owen Le Tissier.

Mr. Le Tissier kept the car for a year before selling it on to Michael Marshall, former owner of the Manor Hotel.

The car remains with the Marshall family and is now owned by Mr. Marshall’s daughters.

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It was last used in the Liberation Day Cavalcade in 1990 but has remained locked away for 30 years because it no longer runs.

Mr. Heaume added: “The hope is to be able to get the Trojan running again in time for next year’s 75th Liberation Day celebrations and, mechanically, that shouldn’t be too difficult, the engine only has seven moving parts.”