1940 Curtiss P-40 Once Bought for $50 Is Now Selling for $1.57 Million

1940 Curtiss P-40E 7 photos
Photo: Platinum Fighters
1940 Curtiss P-401940 Curtiss P-401940 Curtiss P-401940 Curtiss P-401940 Curtiss P-401940 Curtiss P-40
Fighter planes are born with a single goal: to suffer hardship as they take their pilots to victory. The Curtiss P-40E we have here had a rough life too, but not on account of fighting, as it was part of none.
Curtiss P-40s are part of the long list of machines made during the war. Born as a single-seat fighter and ground attack machine, it was deployed starting 1938 and used by the Air Forces of most English-speaking nations: U.S., UK, Australia, and Canada. Close to 14,000 of them were made, in several variants.

The P-40E we have here is one of them, one that even if it didn’t take part in actual fighting, it sure has an interesting life story.

Intended for the Royal Air Force for a price of about $36,000 (that would be roughly $634,000 in today’s money, and you’ll see shortly why we thought to mention that), the plane actually ended up in the service of the Canadians.

Even if the machine was not part of any fighting, one could say the plane made life difficult on its own. For a plane, it seemed to have had an innate aversion toward landing, breaking its gear twice while doing so. It seemed to have enjoyed flying more, and it did so extensively, as it was part of the pack of Kittyhawks of the 118 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force to have made a record, 4,000 miles (6,400 km) trip from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, to Annette Island, Alaska.

In 1946, the Curtiss was declared surplus by the Canadian Air Force, and eventually was auctioned off. Someone purchased it for just $50 ($664 in today’s money) and moved it to Saltspring, where it would spend most of its life acting as a tourist attraction.

Restored in the meantime, and described as “one of the most original P-40s in existence, with the exception of the six 50 inch caliber machine-guns,” the P-40 is now for sale for $1.575 million. That’s $1.575 million in today’s money…
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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