If you’re feeling flush, there’s a rare chance to buy a fully working Spitfire plane later this summer, although with a price estimate of £1.5-£2.5 million.
The plane in question, Spitfire P9374 was shot down over Calais in May 1940 during the air battle of Dunkirk.
Flying Officer Peter Cazenove, later a veteran of the ‘Great Escape’, was flying the aircraft when it was attacked and hit. Before executing his belly-landing on Calais beach, Cazenove had radioed that he was OK, adding, ‘Tell mother I’ll be home for tea!’
Following the crash, the plane sunk into the sands, where it lay untouched until September 1980 when it was exposed once again, and then recovered.
Post-recovery the Spitfire went first to the Musée d’l’Air at Le Bourget, Paris, and subsequently to further collections until the parts eventually ended up with the Aircraft Restoration Company / Historic Flying Ltd. at Duxford, who have since restored the plane to airworthy condition. Twelve engineers spent three years carrying out what is considered to be the most authentic restoration of an original Mk.1 Spitfire to date, incorporating many components from the original plane into the build.
The completed aircraft successfully returned to flight on September 1, 2011
There are only two remaining Mk.1 models restored to the original specification and still flying today, P9374 and N3200, both belonging to the American philanthropist and art collector Thomas Kaplan.
As part of a gift, Spitfire P9374 will be sold at Christie’s to benefit the RAF Benevolent Fund and Panthera, a leading wildlife conservation charity, while the other will be heading to the Imperial War Museum Duxford
The plane will be on public display on 4th-9th July just outside the Cabinet War Rooms, ahead of the sale on the 9th July at Christies.