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True Tales from the Gym - The Ultimate Con Man

By Ray Nobile

Scottish Bodybuilding and Strength Legend Ray Nobile has met a lot of interesting people throughout his weight lifting career. Ray has shared some stories and kindly allowed Strength Oldschool to publish them. The stories are 100% genuine and real names will be used where applicable.

Scottish Bodybuilding Legend Ray Nobile - True Tales of the Gym


The bodybuilding world is full of eccentric characters. I have met quite a few. But none as colourful as Jon. This is not his real name for reasons that will become obvious.

Jon was a very good looking and charismatic person, he had minor success in the Scottish bodybuilding scene. But he was the ultimate con man. He was also a bit of a ladies man, always with a different girl every time I met him. The girls were all model material.

I met Jon in 1968 when he trained at Bellahouston Sports Centre. We became friends and sometimes worked out together. Training with us was Pete, again not his real name. I lost touch with them both when I left to train at Pat Mcshane's Gym.

Pete was the manager of his fathers car dealership, one of the biggest in Scotland. Jon and Pete became good friends. One day a few years later, 1970 I think. Jon turned up at the dealership and asked Pete if he could test drive the latest, top of the range sports car, no problem says Pete.

He gives Jon the keys, off Jon goes with the car. Later that day a worried Pete phones Jon asking why he hadn't returned the car. Jon says what car? I don't know anything about your car. Pete told him about the events earlier on. Jon asked Pete if he had any paperwork or proof that he had taken the car, police were called but could do nothing as there was no documentation that Jon had taken the car, so Jon got away scot free with a £20,000 pound Mercedes sports car. To be continued...

Story cont…

Jon and two of his friends decided to rob a bank in a small village in Scotland.

But instead of a get away car, Jon suggested that they go to the pub round the corner from the bank and wait there till the heat died down. So after pulling off the heist they sat in the pub for a couple of hours.

They sat at a corner table with the loot in a bag under the table. Jon said that he was going to the toilet, but told his partners in crime that he would take the bag with him, saying not that he didn't trust them, but he didn't want to let the bag out of his sight. So off he went, but after a couple of minutes his cronies became suspicious. They went to the toilet and Jon was gone. He had climbed out of the toilet window with the cash.

As they were leaving the pub in search of Jon they were pounced upon by the police. When Jon had climbed out the window he brazenly went to the bank and told the police that the robbers were in the pub round the corner. Then Jon high tailed it to England.

The police told the other two that if they gave the name of the 3rd robber that they would recommend leniency to the sentencing judge. So they told them who Jon was. Jon was eventually arrested in England months later. He was brought back for trial. As I said before Jon had a way with the ladies. So when he was out on bail he went to a 16 year old girl, who he knew had a crush on him and got her to give him an alibi. The girl told the court that she and Jon were in bed together at the time of the robbery, so Jon again got off, however his accomplices got 10 years each.

Story cont…

Last met Jon at the 1988 strongman competition held by Webster and Edmunds where I was guest posing [ see my life story ].

Jon was helping me oil up. He was there with his wife and 3 year old daughter. He was living in London at that time. He was paranoid about his daughter being kidnapped, told me he had been receiving threats from some gangsters in London. Don't know if the other two sought revenge, they would be wise not to as Jon had a reputation as a fearless street fighter.

His specialty was biting the nose off his opponents. Trust me if you met him you would think he was a great guy. He could be very charming and charismatic with a personality to match, all perfect traits for a con man.

Last I heard, in the nineties he arranged a 6 figure cash deal with the biggest steroid dealer in Britain who was also a multiple Mr Universe and lived in the north of England.

Jon and a couple of heavies beat the guy up and stole the steroids off him. All I can say in Jon's defense is, he never tried to con me and always was pleased to see me whenever we met.

Thanks for reading everyone and I hope you enjoyed Ray's story. Ray Nobile has led an interesting life. To read about his life in the Iron Game, click here.

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If you long for the good ol' days of "Old School Bodybuilding" check out my Vintage Muscle Magazine videos on Youtube!

Keep training hard folks!

All the best,

Strength Oldschool

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