'95% original' film star Spitfire could be yours for a mere £4.5m (or 0.05 Pogbas)
Freshly overhauled, several careful owners
Fancy buying an almost-original and flyable Second World War Supermarine Spitfire? If you've got £4.5m gathering dust in the bank, today might be your lucky day.
Spitfire LF Mk.IXB MH415 is up for sale, with various news outlets reporting its sale price as around £4.5m.
Built in 1943, the veteran of two wars and several decades of airshow flying was fully refurbished over the last few years and has just six flying hours on its newly reset clock. Its pristine Rolls-Royce Merlin 66 engine has just 11 hours, meaning the Spitfire can fly for months or years before needing another total overhaul.
"Save for shipping and maintenance, the aircraft remained in a fully assembled condition from the date of manufacturer right through to its restoration in 2015 (completed 2021). The aircraft is now fully airworthy and simply a superb example," enthused TASC Vintage, the sales agent advertising the old fighter.
Constructed at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory, the West Midlands production facility set up after Vickers-Supermarine's Southampton works were bombed once too often, MH415 flew in 55 operational sorties during the WWII – even shooting down a Focke-Wulf Fw 190. Flying Officer Desmond Ruchwaldy of 129 (Mysore) Squadron RAF destroyed the German aircraft while escorting B-25 Mitchell bombers during a strike on railway marshalling yards in Amiens in September 1943.
Despite being delivered in plenty of time for D-Day, MH415 didn't see action during Operation Overlord, the invasion of German-occupied France in June 1944. By that time the fighter had been reallocated from the front line to the Air Fighting Development Unit at RAF Wittering, helping officers hone their aerial warfare tactics.
Post-war the Spitfire was sold to the Netherlands, which shipped it off to Semarang airfield in Indonesia. There, 322 Squadron of the Royal Netherlands Air Force flew it during ground attack missions as part of an unsuccessful attempt to stop the post-colonial revolution in what was then known as the Dutch East Indies.
When peace broke out, MH415 was shipped back to Europe and sold to Belgium, whose air force used it as an advanced fighter training aircraft before selling it again, this time into private hands.
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Decades of civilian ownership followed, including an appearance in the classic 1968 film Battle of Britain and several years being flown from a Texas ranch. A 2015 trip to Australia for restoration to full flying condition, concluding with a March 2020 transfer back home to Britain, resulted in today's advertised sale.
A low-altitude variant of the original Spitfire F.Mk.IX design, the LF.IX's Merlin 66 engine had a cropped supercharger impeller giving higher speeds lower down than its stablemate – and these were so useful they eventually made up three quarters of all Mk.IXs built.
MH415 was armed with four .303" Browning machine guns and two 20mm Hispano Mk.V cannon. Of course, today the guns don't fire and the need for the Spitfire IX's 368mph top speed has all but disappeared – unless you're the lucky pilot at the controls.
The likely purchase price (TASC Vintage lists it as "POA" on its website) is approximately 0.05 Paul Pogbas in Reg-standardised units. ®