1:04pm Monday 30th March 2009
By Kevin Bradford
A VINTAGE Second World War fighter plane rescued from a scrapyard is set to go on offer for £2 million at an auction in Hendon.
The fully-functioning MK IX Spitfire will go under the hammer at the RAF Museum, in Grahame Park Way, on April 20.
It is the first two-seater plane of its class to be offered at public auction for more than 20 years, and it is expected to fetch more than the record £1.1 million paid for a non-airworthy 1945 Supermarine Spitfire last September.
The 1944 Vickers-Supermarine plane was originally a single seater, but converted to accommodate an extra passenger after the war for £5,200.
The RAF aircraft was sold in 1948 to the South African Air Force, although it is not known how and when it was used.
It was discovered in a Cape Town scrapyard in 1970 and rescued by a late building developer and aviation enthusiast, who began the restoration process.
It was then sold between private collectors before beginning a five-year restoration in about 2002.
A spokesman for auctioneers Bonhams said: “This Spitfire is being offered as a freshly-completed ‘zero-hours’ ground-up restoration to perfect two-seat TR Mark IX specification — in effect a historic warbird absolutely ready to fly and in truly sparkling flightline condition.”
The Spitfire is not part of the RAF museum’s collection and is being sold on behalf of a private owner, with an estimated value of between £1.5 and £2 million.
James Knight, managing director of Bonhams Collector’s motoring department, which is managing the sale of ‘G-ILDA’, said: “'We are greatly honoured to be entrusted with the sale of such a distinguished and historic aircraft.
“The sale of an aircraft so linked to the history and very survival of our nation has enormous significance for us.”
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