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Legit P-51D Mustangs Are $3 Million Luxury Items, This 70% Scale Replica Is a Real Bargain

Airworthy North American P-51 Mustangs don't come up for sale too often anymore. But when they do, they can easily make the price of modern 300 mph-capable hypercars seem like bargains. The only one we could find now is on sale at a slight discount for $3.5 million. So, yeah, not going on our Christmas list this holiday season, or any others forthcoming for that matter. But that doesn't mean the iconic Mustang experience is totally unattainable.
Stewart S-51D 22 photos
Photo: Platinum Fighter Sales
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For the eccentric aviator slightly less wealthy than a multi-multi millionaire, the Stewart S-51D Mustang is your white whale, your holy grail, your ticket to LARPING as a Second World War fighter pilot the way every red-blooded American kid's dreamed. As the brainchild of Jim Stewart, a mechanical savant and ex-Pratt & Whitney employee, the S-51D is only 70 percent the size of a P-51D Mustang of legend. But let's be real, if not for the absence of six .50 caliber machine gun ports on either wing, only the most shrewd of experts could pick out that this is a replica from just photographs alone.

With a curb weight of around 2,200 lb (1,000 kg) without the pilot or less than the average family hatchback these days, the 540-cubic-inch (8.84-L) big block Chevy V8 from Keith Black Racing Engines under the hood of this replica has all the charm and the pizzaz of a Packard Merlin V12. Just without all the added headaches of working on an engine made 40 years before the first AutoCAD software. In truth, such an engine is most often placed under the hoods of drag racing cars and power boats, but you can't argue that an American muscle car engine powering a replica World War II fighter plane somehow just makes logical sense.

Power estimates are somewhere in the 400-horsepower range for this machine. However, something tells us that those figures are a tad underrated. It wouldn't be the first time a muscle engine like this was deliberately underclocked in the horsepower department. Just look at any muscle car built between 1966 and 1972. In any case, it makes logical sense that a 75-ish percent scale P-51 replica is capable of around three-quarters of its performance. With a top speed of 275 MPH (443 km/h, 239 km) with a 24,000-foot (7,300-m) maximum altitude, there's enough performance on offer to satisfy all but the most die-hard purists who've flown legitimate P-51Ds before.

But hey, the prospects of the kind of plane that can make you feel like a fighter pilot when all you've flown so far is a single-engine Cessna or Mooney is something that's infinitely appealing. With a sticker tag of $550,000 out of Platinum Fighter Sales of Redondo Beach, California, it's a downright deal compared to a real P-51.
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