Thanks to the work of a Duxford, England, aircraft restoration company, 12 engineers and three years’ time, the last operable Spitfire plane is back in working order and available for purchase. More than 70 years after its crash-landing during the Battle of Britain, the Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1—GR-J/P9374 will make its Christie’s London debut on July 9. With a presale estimate of $2.3 to $3.9 million, the last privately owned Spitfire is sure to bring in a crowd.
The plane was originally piloted by Peter Cazenove before landing on Calais beach. While Cazenove was taken as a POW, the Spitfire sunk deep into the sandy beach. Years later, in 1980, it reemerged for another shot at the limelight. It made its born-again maiden voyage in September 2011 after a seven-decade-long retirement. Since its restoration, the Spitfire has appeared in the Victory in Europe Day anniversary celebrations at the Imperial War Museums Duxford. Proceeds generated from the Spitfire’s sale will assist Panthera, a wild cat conservation charity and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.