SPITFIRE EF545. Active History
- The aircraft was built by Westland Aircraft in Yeovil, October 1941. On the 5 March, 1943 it was shipped on the SS Asphalian to Australia.
- On 13 November 1943 it suffered a wheels-up landing and although deemed repairable sadly the Spitfire met its end on 15 December 194. It ignited and was badly damaged and converted to spares.
- It remained abandoned at Kiriwina airfield until it was discovered by Charles Darby in 1972 with the assistance of David Tallichet.
- The remains of this Spitfire was one of three transported to Lae in 1974 from where they passed through several locations within New Zealand.
- Ultimately the remains of the EF545 were identified by Chris Warrillow who transported them to the UK and then into the ownership of Aero Vintage Ltd in December 2001.
- The registration G-CDGY was reserved on 19 January, 2005.
This aircraft represents a fantastically rare opportunity to acquire a genuine early mark Spitfire with the 'short' Merlin engine. Acknowledged to be amongst the most delightful of Spitfires to fly, it is light, aerobatic and relatively easy to manage and fly.
It is almost impossible today to find a complete and unrestored Spitfire, and so this project, which came close to being lost for all time, is now one of the last genuine projects available.
During the aircraft's last ownership, a static fuselage was built that was neither accurate nor capable of flight, so the remaining original parts were retained and the static fuselage, which contained nothing of any value, was disposed of and a new fuselage assembly projected for manufacture incorporating as many original parts as is possible. So far the tail unit has been completed, but a start has been made into the construction of the fuselage.
The degraded wings, but with numerous parts re-useable, will be incorporated into the rebuild, together with the many other original items that have been gathered together over the years. The list is appended at the end.
Period photo of EF 545
As found in 1972
The following series of pictures give some idea of the project, but a full list of parts already restored and acquired is available to serious enquirers.
Parts on arrival with Aero Vintage Ltd
Firewall data plates.
|Firewall data plates - 2nd Image |
Evidence of the identity on a wing panel.
We offer the aircraft for sale with a restoration contract.
This process will take between two and four years, depending on the needs of the customer and will be based at our Retrotec. Over the years, Retrotec - then Aero Vintage Ltd. - but now a sister company - was one of the pioneers in Spitfire restoration, but swiftly encompassed the more challenging Hawker biplanes and other pre-war aeroplanes, as an industry developed elsewhere for Spitfire work. However, over the years, enough parts besides this project have been accumulated with the aim of producing a top class and extremely authentic Spitfire.
Please note! This aircraft cannot be turned into a two-seater, due to centre of gravity limits and the use of the 'short' Merlin engine fitted to the early Spitfires.
The following is a brief outline on how the restoration would proceed
1) An initial deposit of £190,000 (plus VAT) will be required. This will buy into the project but will not acquire the rights to all the items that have been reserved for the project.
2) Whilst the rebuild will be subject to a contract written especially to match the customer's expectations and Retrotec's requirements, the following basic information will be incorporated:
i) An estimated price will be prepared but it is likely to be between £2.25m and £2.75m plus VAT depending on specification.
ii) The estimate will be subject to various conditions, and is subject to negotiation.
iii) A monthly invoice will be prepared and a record of the work done but will be within the parameters that has been agreed.
iv) A final payment of £150,000 will be paid on the issue of a Permit to Fly.
3) The wings will be completed by a capable subcontractor under our strict inspection and conformity criteria, but the fuselage and all other parts will be undertaken by Retrotec, including the engine rebuild.
The engine with the project is a superb Merlin 35 that had been meticulously rebuilt by P & A Woods, to a standard that excels beyond all others and regardless of cost.
It is now time expired at 500 hours, but still does not drip much oil and will be a very straightforward rebuild. The engine was last used in our Spitfire BM 597. Unfortunately due to illness, P & A Woods no longer undertake Merlin rebuilds, but Retrotec work to the same standards, and have a huge stock of original Merlin spare parts and of course a wide range of the special RR tooling that is essential.
Many more photos can be supplied to serious enquirers.
Aero Vintage Ltd.
New House, Northiam, Nr. Rye,
East Sussex, TN 31 6L
Spitfire Mk. Vc Project G-CDGY EF 545 List of parts
Specification: Tropical with Hydromatic propeller.
New rear fuselage frames as supply by PM
Set of 4 fuselage wing attachment carry-through spars.
Some other fuselage new-made parts (AA)
Fin unit, new construction.
Pair of new-made tail-planes
All the wing and fuselage parts from the original wreck.
Pair of spline-type u/c legs plus one u/s (?) pintal
Newly modified pair 10" wheels to take 10 ¼" wheel brakes
Set of serviceable brake units
Set of u/c uplocks
Most of a control column, new made plus control column ring handle (n.o.s. item)
Instrument panel, completed with all instruments, some period some not but with original chassis-up and down light unit and original trim indicator plus flap lever and valve (original).
Pair of new-made undercarriage retract rams
New top fuel tank
New bottom fuel tank
New oil tank for non tropical cowls or one tropical oil tank (but not both)
Time ex RR Merlin35 engine as rebuilt originally by P & A Woods - superb engine still does not leak a drop of oil.
Chassis selector, overhauled.
Throttle quadrant (new made with some original parts, not quite finished but will be.
Both trim wheel assemblies, part original part new.
Water and oil separator tanks
Fuel filter and mounting bracket (original Spitfire)
Crowbar and clips
New old stock screen assembly (condition of glass unknown, but good replacement available on an exchange basis if not)
Good canopy (new glass required - maybe)
Hydraulic pump with unions
Propeller part hub and good spinner (Hydromatic, original Spitfire)
Cowling diaphragm, new made
Set of cowling fasteners and basic receptacles
Tail strut and tail wheel with alloy mounts
Tail strut shock absorber and pneumatic spring unit
New tyres all round
Seat assembly, needs attention
Pair of new-made air tanks
New set of new-made wing spars
Harness release mechanism
New old stock brake distribution valve (V type)
New frame 11 square tube set.
Engine frame requiring overhaul and replacement parts
Screen fairing with de-icing spray bar
A set of new-made Swedish exhausts
CSU (depends on specification)
Oxygen bottle mounting assembly (original, though frame is Mk. XVI))
New made radiator fairing flap
Aerial cross brace mount
Rear Perspex cover and frame (needs overhaul)
Seat, bulkhead and coolant tank armour (possibly)
Jacking points front and rear alloy forgings (original)
U/c micro switches
Original radio set and tuning equipment
New main wheel tyres and new old stock tail wheel tyre
All electrical fuse boxes and junction boxes
Tail lamp and cover
Film counter and plate and camera
Coolant valve PR (old type, but new made)
Hydraulic filter mount (original)
Emergency blow down bottle (original)
Rear mirror and stalk (remade)
Rev counter cable
Fuel tank sender
Pitot head and mast
The Project The aircraft can be rebuilt with either the tropical cowls and tanks, or the more familiar Mk. V specification.
Virtually all the difficult parts have been sourced and acquired, and whilst the aircraft has a fairly basic start - not uncommon now as unrestored but complete Spitfires are no longer known to exist. Due to the condition of the surviving parts, we will endeavour to incorporate every re-useable original part that we can, but without compromising the strength of the aeroplane.