This is a P-51D Mustang from 1944, the second last year of WWII. It served with both the United States Air Force (USAF) and the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) before passing into civilian hands in 1959.
In 1984 this Mustang would fulfill what was arguably its greatest ever role – it became the first warbird bought by Sir Tim Wallis. It would be the aircraft that led to the creation of both the Alpine Fighter Collection and the legendary Warbirds over Wanaka airshow.
Fast Facts – The P-51D Mustang
- There can be little doubt that the North American P-51 Mustang is one of the most memorable, and most important, American aircraft of the Second World War. It was originally developed by North American Aviation for the British Purchasing Commission, before the United States entered the war.
- The British Purchasing Commission had wanted them to build the Curtiss P-40 fighter under license, however NAA chose to develop their own more advanced fighter instead.
- The P-51 was originally fitted with the Allison V-1710 engine however this limited its performance, versions of the Mustang with the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine performed far better.
- The more-capable P-51D Mustang was produced from mid-1944, fitted with the Packard V-1650-7 – a Merlin V12 built under license by the Americans.