Bonhams & Goodman announced that it has consigned a fully restored 1940 Hawker Hurricane MkIIA, a former WWII fighter, for its Military and Aviation Collectibles auction on September 27, 2009 in Melbourne, Australia.
One of only eleven airworthy examples worldwide, the Hurricane is a survivor of four major battle campaigns during the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain. She was damaged and repaired several times before being struck by a shell in the winter of 1943 over the Murmansk area of the Russian Tundra. She was recovered from this area in 1991 and Wanaka-based aviation enthusiast, Sir Tim Wallis, purchased the plane a year later.
It was Wallis’ desire that the Hurricane be restored to original airworthy condition and Air New Zealand offered to undertake the project. This presented Air New Zealand Engineering Services (ANZES) with a marvelous opportunity to display their capabilities and to restore a historically significant and rare aeroplane in New Zealand. Alpine Fighter Collection Chief Engineer Ray Mulqueen oversaw this highly complex and long restoration.
The unsung hero of the Battle of Britain, the Hurricane was one of the most versatile fighters of World War II. Its first test flight was on November 6, 1935 and from the outset of World War II, the Hurricane proved its mettle. It was to become the nemesis of the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain being particularly effective against the Messerschmitt Bf110 heavy fighter. The Hurricane had exceptional maneuverability with tight turning radii and excellent gun aiming stability being the first eight gun monoplane fighter to be produced by Britain and the first fighter to exceed 300 mph.
Hurricanes served in France before and during the German Blitzkrieg, were prominent at Dunkirk and in the closing stages of the Battle of France. One particular squadron was based at Narvik during the last stages of the Norwegian Campaign. Aircraft from this squadron were lost when the carrier HMS Glorious was sunk.
One of the reasons that so few Hurricanes are flying today is the obvious lack of original tooling. Due to the complexity of the manufacturing processes originally employed by Hawkers, the UK seemed the logical place for this activity so the basic airframe was restored by Hawker Restorations in the UK. Main wing outer panels were restored at Airframe Assemblies on the Isle of Wight. The aircraft was then returned to Christchurch in late 1995, where restoration to an airworthy condition continued until first flight on January 12, 2000.
The aircraft has been restored to configuration as a MkIIA with eight 0.303 caliber machine guns, and is displayed in the colours of Number 73 Squadron, France, 1940. Registration letters assigned to the aircraft are ZK-TPK which is significant because ’TP’ was the Squadron code, and ’K’ was the identification letter for the aircraft when serving with that Squadron.
“So rarely do fighter aircraft of this caliber and quality appear on the market. This is an interesting and exciting campaign to undertake and I am sure that a discerning buyer will take on the custodianship of this historically significant plane” says Catherine Davison, Specialist, Collectors’ Motor Cars at Bonhams and Goodman.
This is the first time a fully operational Hurricane has ever been offered for auction and it is expected to fetch between AU$2,000,000 – $4,000,000.
For more information, visit bonhams.com.
[Source: Bonhams & Goodman]