Visitors to the 39th Annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction, in Scottsdale, Arizona, US on January 18-24 are in for a two wheeled surprise: one of the rarest and most beautifully restored classic aircraft in the world.
The only full-restored 1929 Hamilton Metalplane H-47 in existence, serial number 65, was number 22 of only 29 built, and will be sold at no reserve.
It is the only airworthy example of its type in existence.
Barrett-Jackon's Scottsdale event will feature a diverse mix of the world's most desirable collector vehicles, as well as lavish lifestyle events throughout the week.
"We're proud to announce the consignment of this very rare and stunning aircraft for our Scottsdale auction," said Craig Jackson, Chairman/CEO of Barrett-Jackson.
"By selling the Ford Tri-Motor last year for more than $1m, we showed that Barrett-Jackson is the hub for world class vehicle sales, including vintage aircraft.
"With its flawless restoration and status as the only flight worthy version in existence, aircraft enthusiast and collectors will want to make their reservations for Scottsdale in January."
The Metalplane was originally sold in 1929 by the Hamilton Division of Boeing Aircraft to the Canadian Forestry Service. Following ownership by operators in Washington and Alaska, it was brought to St Paul, Minnesota , in 1954 by Northwest Airlines pilot Harry McKee.
There, Northwest Airlines' "20 Year Club" began restoring the Metalplane, but stopped the job after only four months.
The project was abandoned for several years until Jack Lysdale, aviation expert and FBO at Fleming Field Airport in South St Paul, purchased the aircraft and embarked on a full restoration of the rare Hamilton Metalplane in 1972.
During the restoration to original specifications, many parts had to be fabricated from scratch, including the seats, nose cowlings, firewall, fuel and oil tanks, controls and electrical systems. The Metalplane was re-skinned with specially manufactured corrugated aluminium rolled from original dies by the Alcoa Company.
The engine is a massive Pratt and Whitney Hornet R-1690 with 525 horsepower at 1900 rpm. The aircraft's impeccable restoration, made possible by the talent and grit of Lysdale and his team, earned the Hamilton Metalplane the prestigious Grand Champion trophy at the Antique Airplane Association National Convention in 1975, as well as the Silver Age Champion award at Oshkosh in 1976.
"The rebirth of this Hamilton Metalplane is one of the most impressive restoration feats I've ever seen," added Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson.
"From the rebuild of the Pratt and Whitney engine to the landing lights and handmade seats, Mr. Lysdale and his team spared no expense or attention to detail to return this aircraft to its original form."
The Hamilton Metalplane will remain in St Paul while it is being auctioned live in Scottsdale.
Barrett-Jackson will host a preview of the Hamilton on December 12-13 from 10am-3pm each day at Fleming Field Airport in St Paul.
The preview will give potential buyers and aviation enthusiasts a chance to see the plane and ask questions before it is sold in January.
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