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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hawker Hurricane MK IIA P3351 Offered by Bonhams & Goodman, September 26, 2009

As one of only 11 examples of the legendary Hawker Hurricane remaining in airworthy condition today, this spectacular MK IIA occupies a truly rarefied place in the hearts and minds of warbird enthusiasts everywhere. As the first monoplane fighter in the RAF inventory, the Hurricane was first flown in November 1935, entering  squadron service in 1937. At the onset of war in late 1939, the Hurricane was also the RAF's most numerous single-seat fighter.
Powered by the Rolls-Royce "Merlin" liquid-cooled V12 engine, the Hurricane offered high performance for the era, strong firepower from its battery of eight 0.303 machine guns, excellent maneuverability and gun-aiming stability, as well as rugged durability. In 1940, the Hurricane was significantly used during the Battle of France, the Dunkirk evacuation and at Narvik during the final stages of the Norwegian Campaign. However, the Hurricane will forever be remembered as the backbone of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain, where it was particularly effective against Luftwaffe bombers and the Messerschmitt BF110 "Zerstorer" heavy fighter. Later in the war, the rugged Hurricane served as a fighter-bomber and when equipped with dual underwing 40-millimeter cannons, it was particularly effective in both the anti-tank and anti-shipping roles in North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Far East.

This particular Hurricane, P3351, was offered by Bonham's & Goodman in Australia on September 26, where bidding reached levels of approximately AU $2.1 million, which was just shy of the seller's reserve. However, Catherine Davison, Bonhams Motor Car Specialist, advises that post-auction interest in this historic aircraft predictably remains very high and an eventual post-auction sale is anticipated.

Originally built in 1940 by Hawkers at Brooklands and assigned to 73 Squadron of the RAF, P3351 survived the Battle of France and was one of just 18 RAF Hurricanes to escape from Dunkirk. It also served in the Battle of Britain, prior to being provided to the USSR following the German invasion. Damaged in combat and repaired several times, the Hurricane was finally brought down by anti-aircraft fire during the winter of 1943 in the Murmansk region of Russia. Remarkably, it remained there undisturbed until 1991, when it was recovered from the remote tundra. In 1992, it was purchased by Sir Tim Wallis and in 1994, the aircraft was shipped to New Zealand for a complete restoration to airworthy condition.

Restoration was particularly difficult, given the Hurricane's combination of metal, fabric and wooden construction, which was clearly not conducive to high-volume production. Nonetheless, the Hurricane was beloved by its pilots and maintenance crews for its ability to withstand extreme punishment in combat and bring its pilot back to base. This trait was greatly valued, of course, during the Battle of Britain, when there were precious few available fighters at the disposal of Fighter Command.

Once completed, P3351 formed part of the renowned Alpine Fighter Collection in Wanaka, New Zealand and was displayed at the New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum when not being flown in air displays. Offered today with approximately 60 hours of total time since restoration, this incredibly rare warbird patiently awaits its next caretaker. We will provide updates as news develops.

Editor's Note: Many thanks to Catherine Davison, Bonhams & Goodman, for her kindness in providing information and images for this post.


  1. Welcome to my new blog, covering the world of historic aircraft and events!

  2. hey!
    Is there any new news on whats happened with this Hurricane? I'd really love to hear that it stayed in New Zealand or Australia...I'd also love to know why the NZFPM is even selling it, as it was their prize possession?

  3. Hi Josh,

    I have been in contact with the specialist at Sotheby's in Australia, who advises that the Hurricane is still for sale. To the best of my knowledge, P3351/DR393 is still in New Zealand at the NZFPM. I will have to do some more checking, but it is my understanding that its owner, Sir Tim Wallis, was injured very badly in a flying accident during the late 1990s/early 2000s. Of course, if I am wrong, my apologies in the meantime. As you know, historic warbirds are incredibly costly to restore, maintain, operate and store, and this may have something to do with it as well.

    I am extremely pleased that you found my website and I hope that you will enjoy it. If you like, you can subscribe for free and receive the latest posts as they are released. Just enter your email address and click "subscribe" at the top right of the page. That is, unless you have done so already. I have been travelling on business recently and have a series of what I hope will be interesting posts.


    Dave Neyens
    Historic Aviation Journal and Market Report

  4. hey, its Josh again.

    I've checked many times for news about the Hurri, but I've yet to see anything new...just some tidbit on a forum about how the NZFPM is perhaps dying, as apparently it no longer has any fighters. So again, any news about P3351?

  5. hey, its Josh again.

    I've searched for info on P3351's sale many times, but have never found anything...except a tidbit on a forum about how the New Zealand Fighter Pilot's Museum could be dying, 'cause of its lack of...fighters. But, nothing new about the Hurricane itself. Soo is she still for sale?