Rare second world war aircraft engines to go under the hammer with replica Spitfire at Ely auction

Bill and Tammy Richards with the Spitfire

Bill and Tammy Richards with the Spitfire - Credit: Archant

Aviation enthusiasts could land themselves a piece of history when rare aircraft engines that date from the Second World War go under the hammer.

The replica Spitfire

The replica Spitfire - Credit: Archant

The sale – taking place in Ely and organised by Cambridgeshire auctioneers Cheffins – even includes a full size, replica Spitfire.

The aircraft, which has a fully instrumented cockpit and stands on an undercarriage, has a guide price of £10,000 and comes on a trailer ready to assemble at shows.

Another highlight is an unused Packard Merlin 28 V12 engine, understood to have originated from Canada that could be sold for as much as £30,000.

Spitfire next to a Canadian Lancaster bomber

Spitfire next to a Canadian Lancaster bomber - Credit: Archant

The collection also includes a boxed set of props from a Second World War Avro Shackleton bomber, with a guide price of £1,000 - £2,000.


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There are also demonstration Rolls-Royce Griffon engines that were used in Spitfires and the Shackleton, Rolls Royce Merlin engines, used in Spitfires and Lancaster Bombers, and Alvis Leonides radial engines, used in a variety of aircraft such as Percival Prince and Westland helicopters.

Cheffins auctioneer Jerry Curzon said: “Mr Richards had a lifelong passion for period aircraft – in particular Spitfires

Merlin and Griffon engines

Merlin and Griffon engines - Credit: Archant

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“Initially he started his collection with just engines and – with the help of his family – would take them along to various shows and fire them up.

“In addition to other cockpit instruments and parts, he also had a full size, replica, fibre glass Spitfire. He spent considerable time and effort ensuring that it looked just right.

“It’s similar to those that you sometimes see outside airbases and would have been displayed at shows for static demonstrations and to raise money for various charities and organisations. It was in demand all over the country.

“For someone with enough room and an interest in this type of thing, it’s a great toy. Or I would think there might be a number of museums that would be keen to take it. It’s an incredibly unusual item, certainly I’ve never heard of one at auction before.”

Commenting on the sale in general, Mr Curzon said: “We feel very privileged to have been chosen by Mr Richards’ family to sell his collection. We’re sure that it will fire the enthusiasm of collectors and restorers alike.”

The 250 piece collection originally belonged to aviation enthusiast Bill Richards, from Bolton, who passed away in March last year. He had a particular interest in the Second World War and would showcase his collection at various events across the country – including those at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford.

Mr Richards’ daughter, Tammy, said: “The collection was very much a labour of love. The whole family would travel around the country to different shows. We did it for years.

“We would love to carry on but since dad passed away it’s been very difficult. Unfortunately we just don’t have the time – or the technical expertise. Dad was very keen on keeping the engines’ heritage alive and preserving it for future generations.”

The Bill Richards Collection will be sold at Cheffins’ Machinery Saleground, Sutton, near Ely, from 10.30am on Saturday, March 19. For more details visit www.cheffins.co.uk/vintage.

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