This could still wing its way to you, if you have the dosh: One Concorde engine seeks new home
That'll make a lot of expensive ashtrays
Good news, everyone! Earlier this week, it looked as though your opportunity to snap up a piece of aviation history in the form of a Concorde engine might have gone. However, if your pockets are deep enough, it appears there's still a chance you could buy your very own Olympus Turbojet.
We first noted the engine was up for sale on eBay in March 2020 when the vendor had the machine listed with a £748,000 buy-it-now price. Tempted though we were to pop it into a virtual shopping basket, we held back. After all, it would have been a heck of a thing to try and get signed off as an expense.
However, the auction, which seems to have been relisted at least once, appeared to end over the weekend, and gained a "sold" label, first for £565,000 ($715,000) before being updated to £678,000 ($859,000) at the time of writing.
But has it really finally been sold? The Register contacted the seller, who told us that no payment had been received and there had been no communication from the buyer.
The seller said: "I suspect I shall end up cancelling the sale." They also confirmed this wasn't the first time this situation had happened, which would explain why the engine has been put up for auction more than once on eBay.
The phenomenon of phantom buyers has long been an issue, and eBay's own forums are filled with complaints from sellers regarding the practice. The Register asked eBay for its take on the matter, and we will update you should the internet bazaar respond.
- It is 20 years since the last commercial flight of Concorde
- Concorde? Pffft. NASA wants a Mach 4 passenger jet
- Take-off crash 'n' burn didn't kill the Concorde, it was just too bloody expensive to maintain
While a disappointment for the seller if this does indeed turn out to be the case of another failed sale, this is also an opportunity for a would-be purchaser keen to pick up several tons of engine that used to be slung beneath a Concorde.
So long as that buyer does not follow the vaguely horrifying suggestion from the seller that the engine would be "perfect to dismantle and repurpose into collectable pieces of furniture or art." One person's pile of scrap metal is another's priceless piece of history, after all.
Sure, British Airways would perhaps not be happy if it were to be attached to an aircraft and flown once more, but the static display could include the occasional firing up for old times' sake. After all, organizations such as the Internal Fire Museum of Power in Wales regularly have a crack at starting up old engines, so lighting a "static display" item doesn't feel that far from the realms of possibility for a team of enterprising engineers.
Indeed, while derivatives of the Olympus engine made their way into ships and land-based power, the afterburner fitted to engine 593-610 would be a thing to behold when fired up. After all, four engines were used to propel the supersonic airliner, with the afterburners used during take-off and to reach supersonic speeds.
Famously, an engine on an old Cold War bomber – an Avro Vulcan – was started in 2019 by a group of knowledgeable enthusiasts. In 2020, Bill Smith of the Bluebird Project told us that he reckoned there were enough similarities between a Concorde power unit and that of a Vulcan such that firing it up was not impossible.
As for this engine, it was fitted in the number three position on the Concorde which is currently parked up at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, USA. According to the listing, the aircraft's delivery flight was on February 6, 1980. The same aircraft – G-BOAG – took its final flight from JFK airport to Seattle on November 5, 2003. ®