Bonhams are to auction a replica Supermarine Spitfire for The Royal British Legion during The Goodwood Revival on September 17th 2010.
The full sized aluminium replica of a MKVb Supermarine Spitfire was built in 2008 by members of the Ripon Branch of the Royal British Legion in order to publicise their work. It took 10 months and 11,000 man hours to construct and represents aircraft number W3850 which was flown by Pilot Officer Atkinson, now Sir Joe Atkinson, over France on 13th October 1941 in an attempt to protect Blenheim bombers attacking port installations. Atkinson, in formation with other aircraft from 609 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Airforce (West Riding of Yorkshire), engaged and damaged a number of German Messerschmitt 109s during this flight. He was later awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
The replica, weighing 1.75 tons was built using original Supermarine blueprints with the airframe being constructed of an aluminium skin. The cockpit has two instrument panels and both use original Spitfire parts. A number of modifications have been made: the wings can be removed for transit, the propeller is made of three separate pieces individually bolted to the nose and it comes with its own custom designed and built trailer.
Since its construction, the Spitfire has been used at a variety of Legion branch and regional events, as well as at RAF Leeming events including the base’s 70th anniversary celebrations.
It is estimated to fetch £50,000-60,000.
Bonhams has previously sold two original Spitfires. A 1945 Supermarine Spitfire sold for NZ$3.164million in New Zealand in 2008 – a record price for any historic motor vehicle or aircraft sold by auction in Australia or New Zealand. A Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire TR Mark IX sold for £1,739,500 in London, April 2009.
Tim Schofield of Bonhams comments, “We are delighted to be assisting the Royal British Legion with the sale of this aircraft. It also illustrates the diverse nature of the Bonhams Motoring Department and our Goodwood Revival auctions where we have previously sold aircraft, military vehicles, boats and a huge variety of motorised vehicles.”
Stuart Gendall, Director of Corporate Communications, The Royal British Legion, said, “The replica Spitfire is a wonderful machine. The proceeds from its sale will go towards a very good cause - our wide range of care and support services for Armed Forces personnel, their families and veterans.”