To most historic airplane and military history buffs, the Rolls-Royce Merlin requires no introduction and it remains one of the most successful, best-performing, and historically significant powerplants of all time. The power source of the best-performing and highest-scoring aircraft in the Royal Air Force arsenal, the Merlin adapted itself exceedingly well to a number of types including the Hawker Hurricane, the Supermarine Spitfire, and the highly effective, multi-role De Havilland Mosquito. Later versions also powered the Avro Lancaster, the best RAF heavy bomber of the war. Early Merlins also powered some less-successful RAF types of the early war years, including the Fairey Battle light bomber that was savaged by the Luftwaffe at the Battle of sedan in France and the Boulton Paul Defiant, the turret-only figthter that became Messerschmitt fodder after a brief streak of success in 1940. The Merlin was license-built by Packard during WW II and when the engine replaced the Allison V-1710 V-12 in the P-51 Mustang airframe, the US Army Air Corps finally had the high-performance, long-range fighter aircraft it desperately needed to escort the B-17 and B-24 heavy bombers it operated from England.
With Canadian factories safe from Axis attack during the war, large numbers of military aircraft were produced in Canada, including the Merlin-powered Hawker Hurricane, which was built at Canadian Car and Foundry in Fort Erie, Ontario and used across Canada for advanced training and home defense, particularly along Canada's vast and rugged coastlines. Merlin-powered Fairey Batlles were also a mainstay in wartime Canada under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) and mainly employed training bombardiers, air gunners, pilots, and target towing.
This recently discovered Merlin is a fairly early Merlin III with a single-stage supercharger, according to representatives of the Canadian Air and Space Museum. An important evolution of the Merlin, the III or Mk III as it is alternately known, was capable of operating on either 87- or 100- octane aviation fuel and was rated at either 1,030 hp or 1,310 hp. It is understood that the engine likely originated from a Hurricane. It was found in a long-forgotten automotive shop and 18 years had passed since the owner died before the building was acquired by the current owner for redevelopment. The engine appears to be quite complete and remains equipped with the supercharger, nose case, propeller shaft, and ancillary systems.
The Merlin is to be sold by sealed bid very soon on Friday February 3 2011. Let us know if you have interest and we can discuss bidding arrangements and terms and act on your behalf as bidder's agent in the Merlin's sale.