Our military liveried release on the DH88 Comet tells the second part of a story surrounding this particular aircraft ‘G-ACSS – Grosvenor House’, manufactured by De Havilland and commissioned with the aim of fielding a win in the 1934 MacRobertson Trophy Air Race between London and Melbourne, which it went on to win.
It was subsequently taken over by the Air Ministry and flown by the RAF for evaluation at their base in Martlesham, Suffolk. Repainted silver and given the RAF serial number K-5084, it made several flights before being written off and sold for scrap after a particularly heavy landing. However, our valiant little plane was sold on, rebuilt and fitted with Gypsy Six Series II engines and a castoring tailwheel. It made several record and race attempts under various names and came fourth in the 1937 Istres-Damascus-Paris race. Later the same year, it lowered the out and home record to the Cape to 15 days 17 hours. In 1938, Arthur Edmond Clouston and Victor Anthony Ricketts made a return trip to New Zealand, covering 26,450 miles in 10 days, 21 hours and 22 minutes.
Our model is as painted in silver by the RAF as K-5084 and features the RAF roundel on the upper and underside wings and on the fuselage. The exhaust pipes are realistically finished in a rusty brown and a special tooling detail sees the undercarriage both retracted and fully extendable.
In real life, the aircraft has been restored to her ‘Grosvenor House’ colour scheme and is on display as part of the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden, Bedfordshire.
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