Page last updated at 18:51 GMT, Monday, 20 April 2009 19:51 UK

Scrapyard Spitfire fetches 1.7m


The BBC's Paul Clifton takes a close look at the aircraft

A World War II Spitfire aeroplane found in a scrapyard has been bought at auction by a British adventurer for more than £1.7m.

The two-seater Vickers Supermarine Spitfire was sold at the RAF museum in Hendon, north London, after a five-year restoration to make it airworthy.

In the 1970s the mark IX aircraft was found in Cape Town, South Africa.

It was bought by Steve Brooks, the first person to fly pole-to-pole by helicopter in 2005.

Iconic aircraft

The Spitfire was the first airworthy aircraft of its genre to go under the hammer in 20 years.

The plane, serial number SM520, was built in 1944 and sold to the South African Air Force in 1948, where it served for an unknown period.

Steve Brooks next to a Spitfire similar to one he bought at auction for 1.7m
The plane was bought by British adventurer Steve Brooks

The aeroplane was originally delivered to the RAF's No 33 Maintenance Unit at Lyneham, Wiltshire, to be prepared for operation.

The aircraft was rescued from Cape Town by the late building developer and aviation enthusiast Charles Church.

It changed hands several times before it was made airworthy. Auction house Bonhams negotiated the sale of the plane for £1,739,500.

Chairman Robert Brooks said: "The sale of this Spitfire touches me personally as an enthusiastic amateur pilot and a keen student of military history."

The Spitfires played a pivotal role in the Battle of Britain in World War II.

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