Spitfire sends online auctions sky-high at eBay

eBay is today featuring the must-have Christmas present, a restored and flying Spitfire for offers around £1.25m.

eBay is today featuring the must-have Christmas present, a restored and flying Spitfire for offers around £1.25m.

The company which has put Spitfires back into production, Historic Flying of Saffron Walden, has already had an approach from 'six people expecting significant bonuses' wanting to buy one as a syndicate. Patrick Peal, Historic Flying spokesman, said: "It will be the first Spitfire auctioned on the net. We're doing it as a trial and to raise interest amongst people who are not already war-bird enthusiasts." For enthusiasts, the machine on offer is a Mark XVIII with a Griffon engine. The engine was rebuilt by Universal Air Motors of Chicago which has been reconditioning Merlin and Griffon engines since 1946, when it stopped producing them for the US Air Force. The company produces slightly over one reconditioned Spitfire a year, organising the manufacture of up to 25,000 new components. Of the 11 it has produced, it has sold eight, mostly to the world's super rich, including dot-com millionaires and rock stars - all of whom have preferred to remain anonymous. "We also offer to do conversion flying training for anyone with over 100 flying hours - preferably with tail wheel experience. We put them in a Chipmunk - then our Harvard Trainer, then into a two-seater Spitfire and then into their own plane," said Peal. Historic Flying will also arrange for maintenance, management, attendance at events and 'help to make it pay for itself'. The company currently has two other Spitfires for sale and five more in production - about four years' worth.