London, Apr. 19 (ANI): One of the world’s few remaining airworthy Supermarine Spitfires was rusting in a South African scrapyard thirty years ago.
But this week its remarkable restoration will be completed when it goes up for sale at auction. It is expected to fetch up to 2 million pounds.
The two-seater aircraft has been painstakingly reassembled, using parts from around the globe, including a propeller from Germany, the Telegraph reports.
The TR MK IX, with the serial number SM250 was built by the Vickers-Armstrong Company in 1944, and was then sold in 1948 to the South African Air Force.
In the 1970s, it was rediscovered in a Cape Town scrap yard before being sold on to a British aviation enthusiast, Charles Church.
In 2002, Paul Portelli commissioned the company Classic Aero to restore the aircraft to its former glory.
Much of the original aircraft remains, even down to the bullet proof windscreen panel and control column.
Some parts had to be sourced from scrapped aircraft or bought from dealers, before undergoing a rigorous process of safety checking and authentication, so the aircraft could be acknowledged as a Spitfire by the Civil Aviation Authority.
The engine was overhauled by a company in Gloucestershire and the propeller was built by a German firm.
Two years after Portelli died of cancer his job is now finished.
Today, just under 60 airworthy Spitfires are left around the globe, most of them outside Britain.
Of the 24 in this country, five – including the only Spitfire in the world still flying that saw action in 1940 – belong to the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. (ANI)