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(SwGbt.: t. 241; 1. 118'0~; b. 22'6; dph. 9'3)
On 19 May 1846, only six days after President Polk signed the Declaration of War with Mexico, Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft authorized the purchase of Spitfire and Vixen, two light draft steamers being built for the Mexican Navy. The ships were delivered to the United States Navy on 14 July 1846, and Spitfire was commissioned on 21 August 1846, Commander Josiah Tattnall in command.
After carrying dispatches for United States forces in California to Chagres, Panama, Spitfire joined the American blockading force off Vera Cruz on 10 November; and, as she was a new and efficient vessel designed specifically for service on Mexico's gulf coast, she significantly strengthened Commodore Conner's squadron
On the 12th, the small side wheel gunboat got underway with the squadron for an expedition against Tampico. The American ships gathered off Tampico bar on the morning of the 14th. At 1045, Connor boarded Spitfire and used her as his flagship during the attack which they opened at about 1100 by firing a gun.
Spitfire joined other light draft vessels of the squadron and boats from the heavier American warships in moving across the bar and up Panuco River and past the fort which guarded the stream. In the early afternoon, a delegation from the city boarded Spitfire to discuss surrender. No agreement was reached; but, after a landing party had occupied the town, Connor decided that no formal capitulation was necessary.
Two days later, boats from Spitfire and Vixen ascended the Panuco and captured three small Mexican gunboats. On the 18th, Spitfire and schooner Petrel went further up the river and captured the town of Panuco the next morning. They also destroyed nine Mexican 18-pounders, threw a large supply of 18pound shot in the river, and burned military stores before heading downstream on the 21st.
On 25 November, after a "norther" sank Neptune at Tampico, Spitfire rescued that steamer's crew without loss of life. On 13 December, Connor departed Tampico in Princeton and left Commander Tattnall in charge there until enough Army troops arrived to hold the town. Thus, Spitfire did not return to Vera Cruz until 3 January 1847.
Preparations were soon underway for operations against that important port city. On 9 March, Spitfire led a flotilla of gunboats and other light draft naval vessels close to the shore to support the landing of Army troops who began to invest the city.
Just after dawn the following day, Spitfire anchored east of the Mexican fortress at San Juan de Ulloa and opened fire on the castle to divert the attention of the Mexicans from General Scott who shifted his headquarters ashore that morning. After an engagement lasting about one-half hour, Spitfire withdrew out of range of the Mexican cannon.
The days that followed were devoted to preparations for a siege of the city. At mid-afternoon on the 22d, when the cannonading began, Spitfire led Tattnall's flotilla in an attack on the shore end of the city walls and maintained the bombardment until dark. The steamer's fire was praised as being especially accurate and effective. During the action, the batteries in the fortress fired on the flotilla, but its ships were undamaged.
That night, Spitfire's executive Officer, Lt. David Dixon Porter, made a daring boat reconnaissance of the harbor at Vera Cruz to locate the best position for the flotilla when it resumed its shelling.
The next morning, Tattnall sailed his gunboats within grape-shot range of Fort Santiago and opened fire on both the town and the fort. The Mexican guns replied but were unable to depress their pieces sufficiently to hit the fearless American gunboats.
After the surrender of Vera Cruz, Spitfire participated in the expedition against Alvarado and the capture of Tuxpan as Commodore Perry's flagship.
On 14 June, she was part of the force which took Frontera at the mouth of the Tabasco River. The American ships then ascended the river, engaged Mexican batteries at three points on the Tabasco, and occupied the city of the same name on the 16th. The American warships remained until 22 July when they headed down river toward the Gulf of Mexico.
But, by this time most of the fighting of the Navy in the Gulf of Mexico had ceased. After routine duties protecting Army supply lines and communication, Spitfire returned home and was sold at Norfolk in 1848.
1967 Triumph Spitfire
In September of 1960 construction of a prototype began and was codenamed 'Bomb'. Triumph used the mechanical components from their small saloon, named the Herald, and transplanted them into the Spitfire. Basically, a sports body was applied to the chassis of the Herald. The Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti had been instrumental in the creation of the Herald and was tasked with aiding in the creation of the Spitfire. Within a short amount of time, the Spitfire prototype with a standard Herald 948cc engine had been completed. Its body had similar lines to the Triumph's of the past. The front end was a single-piece that tilted forward and provided access to the engine bay. The Spitfire was ready to go into production but unfortunately, Triumph could not produce the vehicle. Sales had been slow during 1960 and by the end of the year, Triumph was in financial crisis. Luckily, Leyland Motors was looking to expand in the car market and found their opportunity with Standard-Triumph. Leyland Motors had built a successful business manufacturing trucks and buses. By April of 1961, a deal was in place, funds were available, and Triumph could again resume automobile production.
By removing the Heralds side members, outer rails, and rear outriggers and replacing them with sills, the seats were able to be placed on the side of the chassis, allowing the frame to be lowered a few inches. The frame was shortened by nearly nine inches and the welded body was attached to the frame with twelve bolts. The rack-and-pinion steering and four-cylinder engine were straight out of the Herald as was the suspension, consisting of a single transverse-leaf swing-axle arrangement in the rear and a front coil-and-wishbone configuration.
Before going into production, the name Spitfire was agreed upon derived from a fighter aircraft used during World War II. During its lifespan, lasting from 1962 through 1980, there were five versions of the Spitfire, the MK1, MK2, MK3, MKIV, and the 1500. The first version, known as the Spitfire MK1 or Spitfire4, was produced from 1962 through 1964. The name Spitfire4, referencing its four-cylinder engine, is not to be confused with the Spitfire MKIV version, produced from 1971 through 1974. Unlike its predecessors, the MKIV was not labeled 'MK4'. This was to help alleviate confusion.
When introduced it was almost 10% more expensive than the Austin-Healey and continued to be more expensive through most of its production lifespan. In comparison to its competition, it was a better-equipped sports car. Top speed was achieved at just over 90 mph and zero-to-sixty was accomplished in about 17 seconds, which, in the 1960's, was good. Heaters, wire wheels, overdrive, and a hardtop were offered as optional equipment. In its introductory year, over 6000 examples were sold. In 1964 nearly 9000 examples were produced.
By 1964 the Austin Healey Sprite had been improved, now on-par with the Spitfire. Triumph responded by offering the Spitfire MK2 a year later. The engine was improved now producing 67 horsepower, an increase of 4. The rubber mats were replaced with carpets and trim was added to conceal exposed metals. Though no major improvements were made to the car, the Spitfire continued to experience strong sales.
In 1967 the Spitfire MK3 was introduced, replacing the MK2. The MK3 was the first major update since entering production. To comply with increasing United States government regulations and safety concerns, raised front bumpers were added to the vehicle. The interior was given a wood-veneer dashboard and new seats. The folding soft-top was improved, no longer requiring to be stowed in the trunk. The big news was under the hood where the 1147 cc engine was evicted to make room for the 1296 cc dual-carburetor powerplant. To handle the 75 horsepower engine, larger brake calipers were fitted to the front.
By early 1968 Leyland Motors continued to expand by purchasing British Motor Holdings. This meant that Leyland Motors, the owners of Standard-Triumph, now owned Jaguar, Daimler, and the BMC Company. The companies under BMC included MG, Morris, and Austin. This meant that the Sprite and Spitfire were now being produced by the same company.
Due to the Leyland Motor take-over in 1968, the MG Midgets were given Triumph engines beginning in 1974.
The 75 horsepower engine was now rated at 63 horsepower due to the German DIN system. There were minor improvements to the engine such as larger bearings. In comparison to the MK3, it was slower, a result of an overall increase in weight. Top speed was achieved at nearly 100 mph with zero-to-sixty taking about 12.5 seconds. The rear suspension was finally improved, correcting the over-steer problem caused by the original swing-axle design that plagued it from its inception. The car was finally able to be driven aggressively through corners without the fear of the back-end swinging out in front of the car.
In 1972 the engine was slightly detuned, mostly to comply with United States emission regulations.
At the close of 1974, a modified 1300cc engine, enlarged to 1493 cc, was introduced resulting in the Spitfire 1500. Horsepower was rated at 71 and the torque rating was improved. With the Marina gearbox, the Spitfire 1500 was able to break the 100 mph barrier.
The Spitfire 1500 was produced until 1980. During that time only minor updates were made, mostly done to modernize the car. Stainless steel and chrome exterior elements such as door handles and mirrors were replaced with black pieces. The all-Vinyl seats were replaced with cloth and vinyl.
The demise of the Spitfire became apparent at the close of the 1970's due to its outdated design and the difficulty in keeping the engines in compliance with US government regulations. The final Spitfire 1500 was painted in Inca Yellow and never sold. It is housed in the British Motor Heritage museum.
Through the early part of the 1970's the Triumph brand was plagued with multiple issues such as poor management and faulty products. The final vehicle to be adorned with the Triumph name was the Acclaim. BMW now owns the Triumph brand.
The Spitfire was produced for 18 years, a tribute to its stylish design and economical price tag. It was a sporty convertible car that was fuel-efficient and fun to drive. Its poor suspension design greatly diminished its handling characteristics and should have been addressed earlier. This was by far the most unappealing feature of the vehicle, making it unsafe and slower on the race tracks. The improvements to its suspension, more powerful engines, effective transmissions, and updated bodies were some of the reasons why it outsold the MG Midget.
20 Spectacular WWII Color Images Of The P-51 Mustang
The P-51 Mustang Fighter, a North American Aviation, is one of the most iconic fighter / fighter bombers that is single-seated and was used during World War 2. In total over 15,000 of these were manufactured.
The Mustang was designed originally to be used with the Allison V-1710 engine – making it a very good aircraft. When the B & C models were made of the P-51, they added a Rolls Royce Merlin engine and this completely transformed its performance at high altitude (15,000+ feet) which meant it matched or even bettered that of the Luftwaffe’s fighter jets.
The final version of the P-51 was the P-51D, and this was powered by yet another engine, the Packard V-1650-7, and was fully armed with .50 caliber M2 machine guns (6 in total on each jet).
From late in 1943 P-51’s were used to escort bombers in raids over occupied Europe and over Germany, all the way to Berlin. The P-51’s with the Merlin engines were also used as fighter-bombers which made sure that the Allied ruled supreme in the air in 1944.
The P-51 was also used in service with Allied air forces in Italian, Mediterranean and North African areas of service and also saw action in the Pacific War against the Japanese. Within World War 2, P-51 pilots claim to have shot down 4,950 enemy aircraft.
P-51 Mustang fighters at rest at an airfield in Burma, date unknown via WW2db
P-51B & P-51A Mustang fighters side-by-side at North American Aviation plant at Inglewood, California, United States, 1943 via WW2db
American ground crew preparing to arm P-51 Mustang fighter at an airfield with six M2 machine guns and 0.50 caliber ammunition, date unknown via WW2db
P-51A Mustang during a test flight near the North American Aviation plant in Inglewood, California, United States, Oct 1942 via WW2db
P-51 Mustang fighters being prepared for test flight, North American Aviation, Inglewood, California, United States, Oct 1942 via WW2db
A North American Aviation worker preparing a P-51 Mustang fighter for painting, Inglewood, California, United States, Oct 1942 note B-25 Mitchell bombers in background via WW2db
P-51A Mustang fighter of US 311th Fighter Group in flight over Burma, 1943-1945 via WW2db
P-51D Mustangs of the 4th Fighter Squadron in flight, Italy, 1944. via WW2db
USAAF Capt Don Gentile sits on the wing of his P-51B Mustang “Shangri-La” of the 336th Fighter Squadron at RAF Debden, Essex, England, UK 1944-45. Via WW2db
View from the control tower at Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, England, UK, of P-51D Mustangs of the 360th Fighter Squadron in sandbag revetments, 1944. Via WW2db
P-51B Mustang “Ding Hao!” and Maj James Howard (in cap) of the 356th Fighter Squadron at RAF Boxted, Essex, England, UK early 1944.
Major James Howard had one of the more interesting victory totals. Before the war, he flew Navy dive-bombers from carriers Lexington, Wasp, and Enterprise. He resigned his Naval commission to join the American Volunteer Group in China, the “Flying Tigers.” He destroyed 6 Japanese aircraft with the AVG. He accepted a commission as a major in the USAAF after the AVG disbanded in 1942. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on January 11, 1944. This photo was likely staged to commemorate that award and to show off his unique “scoreboard.” Via WW2db
‘The Iowa Beaut,’ a P-51B of the 354th Fighter Squadron flown over the English countryside by Lt Robert E Hulderman, mid-1944. A different pilot in this plane was lost near Rechtenbach, Germany, Sep 11, 1944 via WW2db
P-51 Mustang fighters of the US Army Air Force 375th Fighter Squadron flying in formation, Europe, 7 Jul-9 Aug 1944 via WW2db
P-51D Mustang aircraft ‘Tika IV’ of the US Army 361st Flight Group, Jul-Dec 1944 via WW2db
B-17G Fortresses of the 381st Bomb Group are escorted by a P-51B of the 354th Fighter Squadron, Summer-Fall 1944 via WW2db
B-24 Liberators of 458th Bomb Group are escorted by P-51 Mustangs of the 486th Fighter Squadron, 1944-45. Via WW2db
P-38H-5-LO Lightning, P-51A-10 Mustang, and P-47D Thunderbolt aircraft in flight together, United States, 1944-1945 via WW2db
P-51D of the 99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group shows off it distinctive red tail, probably at Ramitelli Airfield, Italy, 1944-45. Via WW2db
US pilot Lieutenant Colonel C. H. Older in the cockpit of a P-51D Mustang fighter, China, circa Feb-Mar 1945 Via WW2db
P-51B and P-51C Mustang fighters of the US Army Air Force 118th Tactical Recon Squadron at Laohwangping Airfield, Guizhou Province, China, Jun 1945 via WW2db
Top 10 RAF Fighter Aces of WWII
Cuthbert Orde oil painting of Adolf “Sailor” Gysbert Malan
Often called Sailor Malan and hailing from Wellington, Cape Colony, South Africa, the number 10 Royal Air Force flying ace of World War II had 27 confirmed single kills (enemy aircraft shot down). Serving with 74 Squadron, Malan he was promoted to flight lieutenant six months before the start of the war.
At the Battle of Dunkirk on June 28 th , 1940, Malan racked up 5 kills and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). His 74 Squadron became one of the top British fighter squadrons of the war. After his service, retiring with the rank of group captain, Malan became a fierce anti-fascist and anti-apartheid activist back home on South Africa.
9 – James Harry Lacey
Nicknamed Ginger, Lacey has 28 confirmed kills. Not just highly decorated with British awards, however, he also earned the Croix de Guerre from France for his action in the Battle of France.
Between Germany’s invasion of France and their Attacks on Britain, Lacey was forced to land planes damaged while he fought the enemy nine times. On operational duty the first and last days of WWII, Lacey also fought from a posting in India which began in March 1943. After the war, he became the first pilot to fly a Spitfire over Japan.
8 – Brendan Eamon Fergus Finucane
Known to his comrades as Paddy, the Irish-born Finucane racked up at least 28 confirmed kills. This number could be as high as 32 as official reports do differ. He joined the RAF in 1938 at the age of 17, the bare minimum required.
In May, 1941, at the age of 20, Finucane had already earned the DFC and now was the well-liked commander of 23 pilots and over 100 ground crew. He was also decorated with two bars on his DFC and received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) before his death on July 15 th , 1942 when his plane crashed into the English Channel and he disappeared.
7 – John Randall Daniel Braham (right)
“Bob” Braham brought down 29 enemy aircraft during WWII. Defending his homeland during The Blitz, he received the DFC at the age of 20. Less than two years later, he was a wing commander and would become the highest decorated pilot in RAF Air Command by the time he was captured by the Germans in June 1944 after being shot down.
On top of being the best British pilot in a twin-engine craft (the De Havilland Mosquito) Braham was also one of Britain’s most successful nighttime fighter pilots.
6 – Robert Roland Stanford TuckA Cuthbert Orde oil painting of Robert Stanford Tuck
With 29 confirmed kills, Tuck comes in at 6 on the ace list. Born to Jewish parents in Catford, Southeast London, Tuck was serving as an acting pilot officer when war broke out.
In his first combat patrol, flying over Dunkirk on May 23 rd , 1940, he shot down three German fighters. He shot down two more planes the next day and his success only continued. Within a month’s time, he had earned the DFC, which was presented to him by King George VI himself on June 23 rd .
After being shot down and captured by German troops on January 28 th , 1942, the men who captured him noticed that one of his 20mm machine-guns had gone right down to the barrel of a similar-sized weapon on the ground, causing a banana peel effect. This was because he had fired so many rounds. The Germans were so impressed, they congratulated him heartily before shipping him off to a POW camp.
5 – William Vale
“Cherry” Vale served as a pilot in the RAF mostly flying out of Egypt and Crete. With 30 enemy craft down, Vale reaches number 5 on the ace list. Ten of these kills were in a Gloster Gladiator, a biplane, no less.
Noted for his valor, Vale received the DFC. In 1942, he was moved to Britain, promoted to flight lieutenant, and awarded the Air Force Cross two years later for his work training other pilots.
4 – George Frederick Beurling
Nicknamed Buzz and Screwball, this Canadian born in Verdun, Quebec (now part of Montreal), was denied entry to the Royal Canadian Air Force, wasn’t allowed by his parents to join the Finnish Air Force and, finally, after his second trip to England, was accepted into the Royal Air Force at the age of 18 in 1940.
Stationed in Malta in June 1942, after an unimpressive tour flying out of England, Beurling soon earned his high spot on the ace list. In defending the island against Italy and Germany, he earned the nicknames The Falcon of Malta and the Knight of Malta along with the DFC, DSO and Distinguished Flying Medal with one bar. He total tally was 31 kills, which also makes him the top Canadian ace of WWII.
3 – Pierre Clostermann
Born the son of a French diplomat in Brazil, this Frenchman was refused the opportunity to serve in France when war broke out and he was still a teenager. He then moved to California to train as a commercial pilot before joining the Free French Air Force in Britain in 1942 at the age of 21, officially under RAF command. At 24 years old, he had racked up 33 kills and received a personal accommodation from General Charles de Gaulle.
Among Clostermann’s credits are also attacks on several hundred ground vehicles and missions against V-1 rocket launch sites. He received high honors for his impressive actions from Britain, France, and the U.S. After the war, he became a successful author, politician, engineer and sport fisherman.
2 – James Edgar Johnson
“Johnnie” Johnson spent several years trying and failing to join the RAF due to a collarbone injury from his rugby days as a teenager. He was finally accepted in August 1939 at the age of 24, but the problems caused by the old injury were evident in training and he missed the first part of the war while recovering from the surgery to resent his collarbone.
The RAF would make good use out of Johnson for the remainder of his service, however. Between June 1941 and September 1944, he claimed 34 kills, all fighters, making him the most successful British pilot against the Focke-Wulf FW 190 and the most successful Western Allied pilot against the Luftwaffe’s most fearsome fighter-plane.
1 – Marmaduke Thomas St John Pattle (left)
“Pat” Pattle was born in South Africa, rejected by the South African Air Force at the age of 18, he later journeyed to England to join the RAF in 1936 at the age of 20. Before crashing into the Mediterranean in April 1941, in just nine months of fighting in North Africa and Greece Pattle became the top RAF ace of WWII and was never bettered.
Reports and records of Pattle’s kill tally very. At the minimum, he had 40 and that number could easily be as high as 60. Though much lower than the top German aces of WWII, this is a noteworthy achievement for less than one year of service. Three times, Pattle claimed five or more enemy craft destroyed in one day. On the day he died, he was running a fever and flew against orders.
Locations [ edit | edit source ]
- 2 August 1940 – RAF Northolt
- 11 October 1940 – RAF Leconfield
- 3 January 1941 – RAF Northolt
- 17 July 1941 – RAF Speke
- 7 October 1941 – RAF Northolt
- 15 June 1942 – Kirton-in-Lindsey
- 16 August 1942 – Redhill
- 20 August 1942 – Kirton-in-Lindsey
- 1 February 1943 – RAF Northolt
- 5 February 1943 – RAF Heston
- 3 March 1943 – RAF Debden
- 12 March 1943 – RAF Heston
- 26 March 1943 – Martlesham Heath
- 8 April 1943 – RAF Heston
- 1 June 1943 – RAF Northolt
- 12 November 1943 – Ballyhalbert
- 30 April 1944 – Horne
- 19 June 1944 – Westhampnett
- 27 June 1944 – Merston
- 9 August 1944 – Westhampnett
- 25 August 1944 – RAF Coltishall
- 4 April 1945 – Andrews Field
- 16 May 1945 – RAF Coltishall
- 9 August 1945 – Andrews Field
- 28 November 1945 – Turnhouse
- 4 January 1946 – Wick
- 31 March 1946 – Charterhall
- 23 March 1946 – RAF Hethel⎪]⎫]⎬]
The Guild Starfire has transcended the genres as well as the decades. Its sound, design and versatility made it a hidden gem in the world of blues, rock, indie, jazz and more.
Born in the Big Apple
The first Guild guitars were produced 536 Pearl Street in New York City. The company’s initial workforce was made up of former Epiphone employees who lost their jobs following the 1951 strike. Due to Dronge’s love for jazz, the company focused on full-depth hollow body electrics before moving onto flattops and acoustic archtops acoustic throughout the s.
The Guild Starfire made its way onto the scene in 1960. After entering the folk market with their acoustic guitar line they decided to properly focus on the electric market. Accordingly, the Starfire I, II and III semi-hollow range was born and so was the Starfire legacy, which would stretch decades into the future.
The Starfire I had one DeArmond single-coil, 24 3/4″ scale, 20 fret rosewood fingerboard and a cherry finish. The II model was much the same but included two DeArmond pickups instead of one. The Starfire III saw the addition of a Bigsby tremolo as opposed to the simple hardtail pieces of the previous models.
These guitars all had a single-cutaway body style, with a single Florentine cutaway. From 1963 they would be fitted with humbuckers to accommodate musical tastes at the time. The semi-hollow range was followed by the semi-solid (335-style) line of guitars, which are associated with the Starfire style that we’re accustomed to today.
The Starfire IV is perhaps the best known and is held in high regard, especially amongst blues musicians. The IV made its debut in 1963 alongside the V and VI models.
Classic Rock and The Blues
The s is the decade in which Buddy Guy became synonymous with the Starfire IV. The blues legend has the Starfire IV to thank for his characteristic style and tone. Multiple posters and advertisements were created especially during the s that pitched Buddy as the poster boy for the Starfire range. As a result, many attribute this to the Starfire’s status as a blues guitar.
Similarly, another notable player from the era was Tom Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival. The southern rock band reach their peak in popularity around 1970 and all the while, rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty carried his trusty Starfire III. Tom was also known to use a custom VI in certain situations, that came with a hardtail piece rather than the factory Bigbsy vibrato.
As the company shot into the s Alfred Dronge sadly died in a plane crash in 1972 aged 60. However, the design of the Starfire series would not change until the turn of the century.
The Next Generation
In 1995, after many changes in ownership, Guild was bought out by Fender. After multiple location changes the company released the high-end D-55 and F-50 models in 2009. By 2013 Guild also released the Newark Street collection.
This collection was a series of re-released classic electric Guilds from the 1950s and 1960s, including the Starfire models. It was from the s onwards that the Starfire really started to become more diverse in terms of genre. Indie and alternative rock guitarists from bands like Broken Social Scene, Garbage and Gods Child all wielding a Starfire.
Even today, Clemens Rehbein of Milky Chance uses a vintage ’65 Starfire IV to formulate the band’s unique reggae-folk sound. Similarly, frontman for Gang of Youths David Le’aupepe wrote the bands hit debut album Go Farther in Lightness on his emerald green 2000 Starfire IV ST.
The Starfire has proved itself far beyond the boundaries of blues. From jazz beginnings to rock and reggae stardom the Starfire’s adaptability is unparalleled. Due to its ability to perform in a range of styles, the Starfire has and will continue to influence players for decades to come.
The Whole Truth: 1970 Triumph Spitfire
This nose is unique to the MK III Triumph Spitfire. The bumper is raised for new crash regulations and yet retains the chrome strips covering the weld lines along the tops of the fenders, something later cars lack. This Spitfire is listed on eBay has been stored for years in a garage in Wisconsin and is mostly complete. This posting is a great example of how a seller could use just a few pictures to fool a buyer. Some of the pictures in this posting make this Spitfire look really nice but the description is complete, honest and paints a very different picture. It’s refreshing to have a seller be so honest in their description. The seller has also provided 200 very detailed photos on their site.
The seats actually look OK and the interior looks usable as it is. There’s no sign of rodent damage from here.
If you cropped this picture a bit, the dash could look OK, even with all those push buttons.
The center section of the dash is missing and an alarm has been added.
There is no word on the state of the engine. Although rather messy, things under the bonnet look complete and original. Although this Spitfire is listed as a Mark III, there’s only one carburetor. That would make it the Mark IV engine, the 1296 cc American version with lower compression, a single Zenith carburetor and only 63 horsepower instead of 75 that a Mark III would have. You can see the original white paint on the firewall.
The thick undercoating is quite possibly hiding rust as the seller says. They also say they found pinholes in the floor.
The top looks like it’s in nice shape. This picture makes it look like a really nice car. Bidding is just over $700 at this time and the auction ends Sunday. What do you think you’d find if you inspected this Spitfire? Maybe there’s a lot of rust in the floor? One picture shows a messy bundle of wiring in the trunk. Perhaps someone gave up on it because of the conflict between the Dark Lord Lucas and the aftermarket alarm system. There are several puzzling things about this Spitfire, including the engine. Could this have been a “Mark III and a half”? If it sells cheaply enough, could this be a project worth taking on? It will be interesting to read what you guys think of this little Triumph.
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV
Read on to find out more about the history of our Spitfire, but make sure and also check out the Spitfire Restoration Webpage.
Only 957 production Mk XIVs were built. It was the first Spitfire in large-scale production with the V-12 Rolls Royce Griffon 65 engine, and entered service in 1944. The Mk XIV was the most successful of all the variants at destroying V-1 flying bombs, accounting for 300 kills. In October 1944 a Mk XIV had the distinction of being the first to destroy a jet-powered Messerschmitt Me 262.
Our Spitfire was built at the Aldermaston factory in Berkshire, England and then delivered to the Royal Air Force. The aircraft was shipped to Karachi, India in July, 1945 for anticipated operations in Southeast Asia. In 1947 it was transferred to the Indian Air Force.
In 1983 the aircraft was found badly damaged in Patna and was returned to England. It was restored and flew again at Cranfield in 1983. The aircraft was painted in the colors of the South East Asia Command.
In 1985 the aircraft was purchased by David Price and shipped to Los Angeles. That year the aircraft won an award at the Oshkosh Air Show. Now owned by the CAF, this Spitfire Mk XIV is at the CAF, Southern California Wing’s Hangar at Camarillo Airport. It is currently in flying status and is available for airshow bookings year-round.
Spitfire Crew: Colin Bedding, Dick Roberts, Steve Nagle, Robert Seeger, Barry Roberts.
Photo by Phil Makanna www.ghosts.com
Spitfire NH749 Background
This essay is being written on the 14th of July 14, 2008 to provide a more detailed look into the whereabouts of this amazing aircraft. On this day, sixty two years ago, a Supermarine Spitfire FR Mk.XIV was on its way to the sub-continent of India. Today that same aircraft, serial number NH749, is sitting in our hangar here in Camarillo. How it got here and what has happened to it since then is an interesting story.
Built at the Supermarine factory at and assembled at the satellite plant at Aldermaston where it was test flown in late 1944. It was delivered to number 33 Maintenance Unit (MU) on 23rd Feb. 1945. From there it went to 215 MU on 20th May 1945. Having missed the war in Europe, she was sent on 2nd July 1945 to India on the S.S. Samaturdy arriving on the 28th. On the 9th of August she was assigned to the RAF’s South East Asia Command. Since this was the day that the second atom bomb was dropped and Japan surrendered five days later. It seems that the RAF never found it necessary to operate NH749. Instead she went into storage until being sold to the Indian Air Force on 29th Dec 1947. Her service in India remains largely a mystery although a tantalizing reference appears here http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/History/1950s/Wilson01.html
She was found by the Hayden-Bailey brothers languishing in there in 1978 and was brought back to England. http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/History/Aircraft/Spitfire/SpitNH749o.jpg
The fighter was restored to flying condition by Craig Charleston, sold to Keith Wickenden and appropriately registered G-MXIV. The next owner was David Price’s Museum of Flying in Santa Monica from 1985 until 2005 when he sold it to us.
Shortly after arriving at our facility, the aircraft was being flown by Steve Barber when it suffered a loss of coolant. Steve is a very experienced and skilled pilot and he was able to nurse the aircraft back to Camarillo for an uneventful landing. It was determined that the engine needed to be removed and sent out for overhaul. Mike Nixon’s excellent Vintage V-12’s facility in Tehachapi, California was selected for this work. Removing the engine was quite a task and this was overseen by Leslie Bedding who was a mechanic in the RAF during WW2 and had, coincidentally, served in India. Les is a very gifted craftsman and a stickler for detail and high standards. He determined that our Spit needed quite a bit of work. To achieve all this, he assembled a team of volunteers consisting of his son Colin, Dick Roberts, Robert
The entire coolant system has been refurbished, the engine mounts have been sent out for X-Ray testing as have the undercarriage components. All of the wing attach bolts as well as the undercarriage attach bolts have been replaced with newly manufactured ones. The canopy was found not to operate correctly so that’s being redone. The hydraulic, pneumatic and electrical systems have all been thoroughly tested by Les and components repaired or replaced as necessary. The colors used in the original restoration were not stock and so it was decided to restore the cockpit, engine compartment and as many other components as possible to their proper colors. Colin Bedding is leading this effort and it is far from easy! The aircraft is now being reassembled in preparation for the return from Vintage V-12’s of our engine. The installation of the engine represents an enormous undertaking. The cooling system and its associated plumbing is complex and the airframe in which they fit is very tight. There are many busted knuckles and frayed tempers on the horizon.
At the moment, the aircraft is finished in South East Asia markings. This is about to change as we are considering a European color scheme and the markings of 41 Squadron which flew low backed F Mk.XIV with the 2nd Tactical Air Force from former Luftwaffe bases in liberated Europe in 1945, scoring many victories over a wide range of German Air Force types including a number of jets. 41 Sqn. is one of the oldest still serving with the RAF today after 92 years of continuous service.
Each of the combatant nations involved in the Second World War seems to have produced an aircraft that has become an icon. For the U.S., it is the P-51. For the Germans, the Bf 109 and the Japanese have the Zero. For the British, that aircraft is the Spitfire. Even people with absolutely no interest in aviation can usually recognize the graceful form of the Supermarine Spitfire. The Southern California Wing is fortunate enough to count one of these fighters in our collection.
As most of you know, the Spitfire was designed in the mid thirties by R.J. Mitchell and the prototype, serial number K5054 was first flown by Supermarine chief test pilot Mutt Summers at 4:35p.m. on March 5th, 1936. The flight lasted 8 minutes with no problems and as he stepped down from the aircraft afterward, Mr. Summers’ terse instructions were “I don’t want anything touched!!” It was an auspicious beginning.
The Spitfire was accepted by the Air Ministry and although it’s designer died shortly after it’s first flight after a long illness, responsibility for it’s subsequent development was placed in the very capable hands of an unassuming man with an unassuming name Joe Smith. Throughout its entire development period from 1935 to 1948 there were no significant failures of the basic design. Mutt Summers moved on to become the chief test pilot for Vickers and most of the production and developmental test flying was accomplished by Jeffrey Quill and Alex Henshaw, ably assisted by others too numerous to mention here. Smith, Quill and Henshaw oversaw improvements in the capabilities of the Spitfire which can only be described as remarkable.
Triumph Spitfire (1962 - 1980)
The 1962 Spitfire 4 had similar performance to the MG Midget and the benefit of independent rear suspension - and although styling is a subjective thing, most people agreed that Michelotti's effort was better than Gerry Coker's. It was basic, fun and reasonably nippy, and offered at a bargain price. As was traditional for Triumph, the Spitfire was continually upgraded - overdrive was offered as an option from October 1963, and was something else the Midget never had the benefit of.
The Mk2 was launched in March 1965 with a new radiator grille, and improved interior, stronger clutch, but there was an extra 4bhp thanks to a new cam and tubular exhaust manifold.
The Spitfire was revised into Mk3 form. It was instantly recognisible by the raised front bumper (or 'bone-in-teeth' as some people describe it), and actually looked better as a consequence. The soft-top hood was also much improved, both in terms of looks and ease of operation. But the biggest upgrade lay under the bonnet: a 1296cc engine with an eight-port cylinder head based on the FWD Triumph 1300's unit.
It didn't last long - three years - before mutating again into Mk4 form. Michelotti comprehensively redesigned the Spitfire Mk4, using many styling cues from the 2000 'Innsbruck' and Stag – only the sills and door-skins were carried over from the Mk3. A change to 'swing-spring' rear suspension made a vast difference to the roadholding, making the Spitfire much safer at the limit.
The engine is often said to have been detuned from Mk3 specification, but in fact only the system of measuring output changed – from SAE to DIN – so the drop from 75bhp to 63bhp was not a real one. The Mk4 was slower though, thanks to both extra weight and the taller gearing.
A 1500 edition is launched in the USA. The bigger engine counteracts the power-sapping anti-smog equipment. There’s also a wider rear track said to improve handling.
The final Spirfire incarnation arrived in 1974 - primarily to restore the lost performance from the Mk4 upgrades. Although it looked near-identical to the Mk4, the real change came under the bonnet. The increased capacity unit (which also found its way into the 1500 and Dolomite saloons) came from a longer-stroke crankshaft, which rather blunted the engine’s willingness to rev - but improved mid-range tractability no end. The long stroke engine did introduce a few new problems, not least that it made life tougher for the crankshaft bearings.
But overall, it was probably the most usable Spitfire of them all, and thanks to the additional power and longer gearing, it was also the fastest, with a genuine maximum speed of more than 100mph. It was in this form the Spitfire saw out its days.
Triumph Spitfire owners clubs, forums and websites
Thrills don’t come much cheaper than with one of these even less costly than an equivalent MG Midget or B, the Spitfire is perhaps the cheapest way of enjoying topless motoring. For not a lot of cash, you can buy a Spitfire that’ll keep going if you’re handy with a socket set you could even pick up a project for just £1000.
You’re going to struggle to find anything that offers the same amount of fun as the Spitfire, if you’re on a seriously tight budget, but such low values are a double-edged sword because there’s a lot of rubbish available as a result. That’s okay if you buy a project car knowing it needs a lot of work.
Most cars have been restored by now and originality is hard to find suspension systems, exhausts, engines and wheels are often upgraded so don’t expect to find a time-warp car. A lack of originality isn’t generally an issue (although it may be to you), but poor restorations are a problem because many home restorers cut their teeth on cars like the Spitfire.
The good news though is that it’s easy to spot a duffer from 100 paces, so buy with your eyes open and get set for some cheap fun. Early cars are certainly the most valuable, with Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3 models all commanding up to around £8000 in top condition.
Average cars sell for £3000-£5000, with projects starting from around £1000. Later Mk4 and 1500 models are still the bargain models, maxxing out at around £5500, with decent runners on the market for £2000-£3750. Viable projects can still be found for around £850.
Thinking of buying a future classic? Then take a look at these potential future classics.