Looking for a Merlin-powered 1943 Supermarine Spitfire IX with just 10 hours on it since a complete zero time restoration? Well, looks like one just popped up.
Built for the RAF, MH603 rolled off the Vickers-Armstrong production line in Castle Bromwich during the spring of 1943 and delivered to 39 MU (Maintenance Unit) on 15 October that same year. She then passed onto 405 RSU (Repair and Salvage Unit) at Croydon on 25 October 1943. The Spitfire commenced Operational Service with 331 (Norwegian) Squadron on 3 January 1944 and served operationally coded FNB (as she is marked today) and flown by Capt. Bjorn Bjornstad, then transferred to 274 Squadron and coded JJK on 2 June 1944 where she was flown by Warr Off O.S.G Baker. The Spitfire is noted as going to Fighter Leader’s School, FLS Millfield on 21 August 1944 and then to the Central Fighter Establishment (CFE) Tangmere on 1 June 1945. Following its operational service, the aircraft passed through a number of training and maintenance units.
Post war – In 1949, MH603 was sold to the South African Air Force and following retirement in 1955 passed on to South African Metal & Machinery Co, Salt River, Cape Town as scrap until the remains were recovered by the South African Air Force Museum and stored at Snake Valley.
During 1989, the Spitfire was recorded in the UK with Steve Atkins of Rye, Sussex and then with John Sykes of Oxford, UK. In 1993, the Spitfire was sold to Joe Scogna of Vintage Air, Yardley, PA, USA. During this period, the Spitfire was under restoration with Ray Middleton of Fort Collins, CO, USA until sold to Provenance Fighter Sales in 2008 and then on-sold to Pay’s Air Service of Scone, NSW, Australia in 2009.
Vintage Fighter Restorations (a division of Pay’s Air Service) Aviation completely disassembled the aircraft and has completed a 100 point restoration to the highest standard over an eleven year period.
All original British hardware has been utilized, along with many NOS (new old stock) components and the fitting of new wing spars. MH603 was placed on the Australian civil registry as VH-IXF on 28 July 2011 with her first post-restoration flight pending during 2021.
The Spitfire is available for immediate purchase with delivery upon completion of test flight program during the first quarter of 2022.
The asking? £3,500,000.
Prices have gone up just a bit from 1965.
Of note in the Spitfire’s description, its first pilot was an interesting character.
Bjørn Fredrik Bjørnstad was an 18-year-old high schooler at the start of WWII when the Germans invaded neutral Norway, but went off to fight with his father, a recalled reservist, and saw his pop fall in battle against the invader. Captured and escaped, young Bjorn made it to the West and by Feb. 1941 was in pilot training in Canada. Serving first in early model Spits with No. 129 Squadron RAF, he made his way to 331 Squadron– a unit staffed by Free Norwegian forces– and finished the conflict flying buzz-bomb busting Hawker Tempests with No. 80 Squadron RAF. During the war, he was credited with 5.5 kills, an ace, and earned both the British DFC and the Norwegian St. Olavs Medal (w oak).
Post-war, he flew for DNL and SAS. Retiring in the Lillehammer area, he passed in 2013 at age 91. Insert the quote about hard times and tough men.