Restore Or Preserve: Canadian Curtis-Wright P-40 Warhawk

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Unbelievably, this Curtis-Wright P-40 Warhawk has been almost untouched since it’s 1946 Canadian War Assets sale. Even the fluids are original from that era (no, it is definitely not in flying condition!). The warbird is located in an undisclosed location in Canada, and unfortunately we are unable to link to the advertisement. However, you can contact the owner at this email if you are interested! Thanks to Dave W. for this unique find!

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If you are a warbird fan, you probably know the Curtis-Wright P-40 as one of the workhorses of World War II. It was never the fastest or the most maneuverable fighter, but it was tough, especially when used in close support operations. Most Americans will remember it as the mount of the “Flying Tigers“. While I knew of some British use of the type, I wasn’t aware that Canada used them as well. I’m sure other Barn Finds readers know more, so please feel free to add/correct details in the comments! I do admit that it’s beautiful in this color scheme; I am thinking this is the bare aluminum, but it could be silver paint; it’s pretty hard to tell in these low-resolution photographs.

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The sellers description of the plane’s condition makes for interesting reading:

A virtual time capsule preserved as it was when purchased in 1946 from a Canadian War Assets sale held to dispose of WW2 equipment. The family is reluctantly offering this aircraft for sale due to the passing of the owner and will want to ensure that the P-40 is given the respect that mirrors the last 70 years of care. About the aircraft: Display ready (updating to flight ready would likely disturb the true originality hence value of this specific aircraft) All fluids and surfaces are WW2 original and correct. Since original sale, radios, belly tank, bomb racks, fun sight, pilot personal equipment, etc. have been added to improve historical accuracy. Out wind panels were removed and replaced with another set of P-40s from the same production line during a move in the 1970’s. Recently surveyed and found to be in pristine, original condition with no deterioration other than age to perishable items (tires etc.). Looking for a buyer who is enthusiastic about this one of a kind, collectible Warbird with an operational history in Alaska and the West Coast of Canada. Ideally located in North America –where the family has a strong interest in keeping the aircraft. 

I looked up some other P-40’s for sale, and wow, these aren’t inexpensive! Restored ones apparently are going for just under $2 million. But where else are you going to find one with this level of originality, even if it isn’t in flying condition? What do you think; should it be restored to flight or preserved as-is?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Jerry L

    A great toy if you can write of against your taxes. It should return to the air as there are sufficient number in existence and in static display. In the 1970’s I had a 1942 Taylorcraft L2A Grasshopper liaison that had been stationed at Wright-Patterson during WWII.

  2. Cleric

    Display-ready is fine and all, but that bird was meant to fly! Get her in the air ASAP! That’s inspiration to get a private pilot’s license.

  3. DrinkinGasoline

    I’m sure that the Commemorative Air Force (formerly the Confederate Air Force) is well aware of the sale, and if not, I forwarded the seller’s e-mail information to them, just in case. I want the Ford that’s towing it !

  4. Leo

    Cool find! The better question is how do you move something like this to its new home seeing that it dang sure usnt going to be flown there… If you remove the wings im sure you are going to lose some of that precious “vintage” fluid. Hmmmm

  5. van

    one of my favorite war birds.
    Ok guys I vote we take up a collection, who’s with me!!
    This will be a great way to search for more barn finds.
    “BF leader to base, target acquired 1:00 low.”

    • Rob

      I’m in! A fitting purpose for an old warbird :) we would, of course have to exchange the “correct” fluids for things that might actually work… We can store the old in drums for preservation. :)

      • Francisco

        It’s only Marvel Mystery Oil.

  6. jim s

    would need very deep pockets to get this flying again and to keep it flying. i need to go to an airshow this summer that has some antique planes flying. great find.

  7. Barry

    Pretty sure it is located at YYJ, Victoria International Airport. Google “1034 P-40”.

    Like 1
  8. redwagon

    Moving it when it cannot fly could be a job for a Sikorski

    • Pete

      Nah a Boeing Vertol Chinook would do a better job of moving it. :-)

      • CattooButt Member

        My good friend runs the day to day goings on at Columbia Helicopters and they have several Chinooks they contract out.

  9. jason f

    http://www.classicwings.com/classic-aircraft-sales.php

    Not really a barn find, it has been restored and is well known – this has been widely advertised for sale by a New Zealand based firm. Not much of a chance of ‘original fluids’, LOL.

    As it is being represented by a broker, there might be someone trying to pull a fast one claiming to be the owner.

    http://www.rcafkittyhawk.com

    Like 1
  10. Van

    I think it will fit in a U-haul.

  11. Donald Little

    As time rolls on, I think it should be restored to flying condition. As said here, there are many display aircraft that can stay that way but a find like this should be in the air and I hope someone in Canada has the means to acquire it and keep it here.

  12. Chas

    If you like old war birds, I have a very good friend who is selling a restored 1943 Boeing Stearman Biplane. Completely airworthy and currently receiving its 2016 certification. Contact me at chasgould@mac.com if you have a serious interest.

    • Van

      The Stearman is cool. The p-40 has twice the speed. I could zip to the big eazy for dinner without spending the entire day.

      • Dave Wright

        Stearmen are wonderful and one of my faveroits…..wish I still had mine….. But they were never a combat aircraft. They were strictly trainers.

      • zero250 jeff steindler

        I skydived out of a Stearman into the Ironton, Ohio Stearman Fly-In back in 1996…….

  13. Dave Wright

    I have seen more challenging aircraft than this brought back to life enough by a small crew in a few weeks and made ready for s ferry flight. We have a museum to this aircraft here in Namps Idaho. There are some experts around. I would try to make it ferryable to its new home.

  14. tony maude

    As the son of the owner ,those that call this restored don’t know the facts.The plane is as stated original P-40 from 1946 Crown assets surplus.If you want to know more then serious inquiries to tmaude@shaw.ca . Unless you are part of the family don’t knock what you don’t know.

    • van

      Hay Tony love dads toy.
      We can all appreciate that your family thought enough of this plane to save it.
      It must have driven you crazy, that you couldn’t go flyen.

  15. Sukey

    I sawthe plane a few years ago at the local museum of flight in Victoria Bc. It is bare aluminum and has never been painted.
    It was absolutely beautiful and looked like new.
    It was even started up every now and then.
    A dispute between the owner and the museum led to its removal.

    • Kent Pearson

      That was my next question. Since that museum is right off the field sitting virtually on the approach to YYJ. So that explains why it’s not there. Too bad they can’t agree on a deal and maybe even get it flying again. It;s a nice little museum.

  16. Joe Howell

    As a pilot and aircraft mechanic I love it. Deep, deep pockets needed for this one. Original fluids? I hope not. Aluminum and old coolant lead to corrosion. Fuel turns to varnish with time. Why they are bragging about lack of care? You don’t just fire this thing up and fly it unless you have a death wish. Complete systems overhaul from the ground up is needed. As another pilot/mechanic I worked with once said, “Old cars are cool, old planes kill people”. That didn’t stop me from flying a P-51 Mustang when the opportunity arose :)

  17. Steve

    Put her in the smithsonian

  18. hhaleblian

    Helluva tail dragger

  19. Howard A Member

    While I’m not really an airplane fan, one can’t deny how important this plane was to the war effort. I always marvel at the engineering that went into this, and to have that massive V-12 Allison motor 5 feet in front of you. I’m sure that thing kept you awake. Bet it was fun to fly, as long as nobody was on your tail, that is. Cool find.

  20. William H

    Not really a fan of planes myself now but this was my favorite when I was a kid. I certainly wouldn’t mind finding one of those turbocharged V-12 Allisons sitting around in a crate somewhere. Would definitely be a change from your typical SBC when building a project.

  21. Ross W. Lovell

    . Greetings All,

    Many of our old aircraft were bought by other countries for their Air Forces. An old American plane became the next “New Model” for lesser developed countries.

    Collectors of warbirds have chased P51’s and others down to South America, and other more exotic locales.

  22. Charles

    The Curtis-Wright P-40 a workhorse in WWII flown by many countries in all theaters of the war. It was one of the few planes that was built continuously from the beginning to the end of the war. Know by three different names: Kittyhawk, Warhawks and Tomahawk depending on the country flying the plane.

  23. Oscar

    As an owner or several old Mercedes, (which are kept in excellent operating condition), and a aviation enthusiast, I would vote to getting it flying again. These beautiful machines were meant to fly, I would upgrade it enough to get it flying safely, while maintaining as much of the original patina as possible.

    I agree with John Howell’s comment about the fluids, the original fluids from the era should all have been changed out years ago. They are probably damaging the mechanical.

    Ask any old time Mercedes owner who really cares about his cars, he’ll tell you they are meant to be driven, not sit in a garage and waste away.

  24. Black Cat

    Beautiful aircraft. Some years ago, I had a free weekend day when on business in the UK Midlands. ‘Drove to the Imperial War Museum airfield at Duxford, and by coincidence they were flying their Tomahawk that day. Seeing that iconic plane performing aerobatics, and then taxiing-in on the grass field was a treat. Just before the pilot shut her down, I recall thinking that the Allison didn’t sound terribly refined at idle, more agricultural in sound than a thoroughbred V12, but in the air it was another story.

  25. Jim

    It’s meant to fly, yes its an educational tool and a great piece of history but personally I’d say it should be restored and flown. I can get together some licensed tech’s who would pitch in but not for someone’s profit, only if people will see it and enjoy it.

  26. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    damn…….

  27. Jack

    Could be moved and displayed anywhere with a couple of sky hooks I’m sure !! Lol

  28. van

    Most air forces know how to mothball an airplane. I would assume that the fluids in the plane are good for long term storage.
    I wouldn’t think it had any coolant still in the system at all?
    Get it flying yes and film and document every step, this would make a great video.

  29. David M.

    Curtis P-40E Kittyhawk Mk. I, (Serial No. AK803), RCAF (Serial No. 1034), C-GHTM, Construction No. 15184, Sidney Airport, British Columbia. This P-40 was diverted from RAF order placed in May 1940, Serial No. AK803. Equivalent to USAAF P-40D. If suffered Category B damage on 29 August 1942, while serving with No. 118 (F) Squadron in Alaska. It was later used by No. 133 (F) Squadron, RCAF Stations Sea Island or Patricia Bay, British Columbia, 1944 or 1945, coded “H”. It was placed on the civil registry when sold, and later restored with a wing of (Serial No. 1057). Displayed at the Commonwealth Military Museum, Sidney, British Columbia, 1989-1993. Restored to taxi condition. Loaned to West Coast Museum of Flying, Sidney, British Columbia, 1995-1997. Currently hangered in Patricia Bay Airport. George and David Maude, 10137 West Saanich Road, North Saanich, British Columbia, V8L 5T6. (Serial No. AK803), C-GHTM, owned by David Maude, has been re-constructed with parts from (Serial No. AK933). It is a Model H-87A3.

    Like 1
    • tony

      Correction on the ownership-It is officially owned by my mother Nancy Maude and all 3 sons have a stake/interest in the aircraft

  30. Marco

    My airplane needs to be “pickled” even if it’s laid up for just a few months over the winter. So I sure hope those aren’t the “Original Fluids” in her or it’s going to mean a complete tear down and rebuild to see where corrosion has taken hold. And as many have stated above- this bird needs to flown! NOT sitting in a museum somewhere. Just visit the airshow at Oshkosh sometime for an appreciation of these historic artifacts being FLOWN as they were meant to be!

  31. Pete

    I’ll just write them a bad check for it.

  32. Mike

    A total of 13 Royal Canadian Air Force units operated the P-40 in the North West European or Alaskan theaters.

    They got them through the Lend/Lease program that the US Government set up to help the British during the early years of WW II before the US got involved after Pearl Harbor!

  33. Doc

    it belongs in a museum

  34. Andy

    Tomahawk, Kittyhawk, Warhawk. Flown by the British in North Africa, the American Flying Tigers in China and the Soviets on the Eastern Front. Packed a punch with its .50 calibers. Fast in a dive. Everyone see the other Canadian P40 found out in the Sahara where it crash landed in 1943?

  35. Dougm

    drooling… wonder if they’re considering trades?

  36. arrow

    Actually, this kittyhawk i believe is considered to be the most original example that
    survived ww11. AK 803 1034 I.D. ‘ W ‘ served with RCAF 118 sqd on Annette,IS,AK
    was pranged cat ‘b’ 29/Aug/42. Also, AK857 1043 I.D. ‘H’ was pranged cat ‘b’ on the
    2/Sept/42 (i have a photo of AK857, taken shortly after) My Dad served with RCAF
    111(f) sqd Thunderbirds. He and one of buddies were sent to Annette,Isl to repair one of these kittyhawks. Dad was an AFM ‘rigger’ in airforce parlance. Took them
    something like 10 days to get her done ! My hope is that she stays here in Canada.
    This p-40E kittyhawk is a part of our history ! I say, put her back in the air, which
    will take some major ‘dosh’. A very under rated fighter, and a good one at that.

  37. Patrick

    I genuinely hope that this aircraft can be restored to flying condition as unmolested as possible. As a time capsule, this is incredible. After its Alaskan service (that Arrow mentioned), this Kittyhawk IV was part of No. 5 OTU stationed at RCAF Station Boundary Bay 1944-1945. It’s an important part of Canadian WWII history and I would love to see it remain in BC. So little of British Columbia’s WWII history remains within the province and I think it’s important to hold on to what little is left. Having it fly at the Boundary Bay Airshow and at the Abbotsford Airshow one day (where the satellite detachment of 5 OTU Boundary Bay was located) would be an incredible treat since those are the bases it was stationed at near the end of the war. A trip up through the Yukon and Alaska would also be an amazing flight for this beautiful warbird. Back to its roots!

    Like 2
  38. arrow

    Mike Update. The RCAF had 150 Kittyhawks in her compliment. All were but 9 of them were diverted by the British Purchasing Commission. Those 9 P-40s were P-40 K1 CUs, that were delivered to Alaska in August of ’42 and wore U.S
    Serial Numbers. Canada had her own program called ” Mutual Aid “, and was not apart of the U.S. ” Lend Lease” scheme. Cheers Arrow.

    Like 1
  39. arrow

    Patrick Agreed. A great deal of our Military History has been squandered. It would certainly be a “treat” to have this P-40, or any P-40 for that matter at Boundary Bay for all to see and enjoy. Just for s#@t and giggles,look up this site.RCAF History Forum page-14-AV Canada. It contains the details about this Kittyhawks “prang” on Annette,Isl back in the fall of ’42. The pilot had a bumpy landing and walked away. Cheers Arrow

    Like 1
  40. Friedrich

    As of June 2019 this aircraft is on display at the Erickson Aircraft Collection in Madras Oregon.

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