World War II Spitfire Sells for $1.9 Million in New Zealand

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by seesul, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    World War II Spitfire Sells for $1.9 Million in New Zealand

    By Gavin Evans

    Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- A World War II Spitfire fighter, one of fewer than 60 still flying worldwide, sold for NZ$2.8 million ($1.9 million) at an auction in Nelson, New Zealand today.

    The aircraft, a 1945 Mk. XVI variant of the fighter made famous during the Battle of Britain, was bought by North China Shipping Holdings Co. Chairman Yan-Ming Gao at the sale at Nelson's museum of Wearable Art Classic Cars. He plans to donate the fighter to the China Aviation Museum in Beijing.

    Demand from collectors keen to own a flying piece of aviation history is sustaining a global industry of amateur archeologists and engineers scouring museums and crash sites for parts to restore and include in rebuilt planes. Provenance Fighter Sales, a specialist aircraft broker based in Murietta, California, sold 13 aircraft in 2007, including three Spitfires.

    ``I don't want to see the Spitfire go,'' Don Subritzky, an Auckland engineer whose family has restored the aircraft the past 11 years, said before the sale. ``Basically, we need to get some money in to fund the completion of a few of the other aircraft we've got here.''

    Subritzky has nearly completed a 1936 Hawker Hind biplane. Other airframes waiting to be restored include a rare Vickers Vildebeest biplane, a twin-engined Airspeed Oxford and a Gloster Meteor jet.

    The Spitfire sold today started life with Britain's Royal Air Force in June, 1945. After postwar service with the nation's air force reserve it was donated to the U.S. Air Force Museum at Dayton, Ohio. It was sold to private collectors in 1996.

    `Spitfires in Particular'

    ``Spitfires are a very well-known fighter of the Second World War,'' said Gao, who has an interest in military history. ``It made a great contribution to the winning of the Second World War,'' he said through an interpreter.

    The plane was the main attraction among 15 vintage and racing cars offered by Bonhams Goodman, the Australian unit of London-based Bonhams. It is believed to be the first Spitfire sold at auction since the 1960s, Bonhams Goodman Chief Executive Officer Tim Goodman said.

    ``Warbirds in general and Spitfires in particular only ever seem to go up in value,'' said Steve Vizard, managing director of U.K.-based Airframe Assemblies Ltd., which is currently restoring six Spitfires. ``Despite the so-called global economic crisis and the credit crunch and all that, it would seem that people who can afford to have this as their hobby, or their passion, can still afford them.''

    Rebuilding a Spitfire, regardless of condition, takes about three years and costs about 1 million pounds ($1.8 million), Vizard said. Once flying, a later mark would typically sell for about $3.5 million, while an early model, with proven history in the Battle of Britain, might fetch twice as much, he said.

    Including commission, Gao will pay just under NZ$3.2 million for the aircraft. He also bought a 1914 Daimler Tourer, a 1930 Rolls Royce Sedanca De Ville, and a 1898 De Dion Bouton today.

    To contact the reporter on this story: Gavin Evans in Wellington at [email protected]
    Last Updated: September 14, 2008 01:08 EDT

    Bloomberg.com: Australia New Zealand
     
  2. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Boy I wish I had that kinda money to spend. Like him I would put a fleet of aircraft together even though they need to be restored thats quite a feat.
     
  3. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    :lol: everyone does!
     
  4. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    It´s gonna be the first Spit 'made in England' in China:lol:
     
  5. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Shame it will only be on static display though - read it is going to the Beijing museum. Still who wouldn't want a fleet of their own warbirds 8)
     
  6. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    :lol: :lol: :D :D :lol:
     
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