A pilot who made a fortune in oil, choreographed and flew aerial scenes in the 1969 movie Battle of Britain, and amassed a mind-blowing cache of vintage warbirds that he tucked away for decades on his Texas ranch has one last North American P–51D Mustang to sell, and don’t bother trying to haggle.
Wilson Connell “Connie” Edwards is very unlikely to budge on the $4.5 million asking price that includes the vintage fighter and a collection of no fewer than 20 Rolls-Royce Merlin engines along with still more truckloads of other spare parts. Simon Brown of Platinum Fighter Sales, who previously brokered the sale of nine other iconic aircraft Edwards purchased over the years, said Edwards is going to sell the whole lot on his own terms.
This particular P–51, serial number 44-77902, was one of several that Edwards, his brother, and a business partner purchased in the 1960s and early 1970s, around the time the Mustangs were being phased out of their last active-duty assignments in Central America. This particular P–51, built in 1944, was overhauled in the late 1960s and shipped to Guatemala, where it, and others like it, created the Guatemalan Air Force’s (Fuerzas de Aire) first combat capability, according to Global Security. The country was then embroiled in a rebellion, and the warplanes (with considerable U.S. assistance) helped the government fight the rebels into submission by 1968.
Edwards told AOPA Pilot in 2014 that he never paid more than $15,000 for any of his Mustangs. Now, at age 85, he stands to make a handsome profit on 44-77902. Brown said the added bonus of a huge trove of spares, including those Merlin engines, will set the new owner up very well.
“You’re going to be the king of P–51s, basically,” Brown said, reached by phone during a visit to Edwards’ ranch, where he was tidying things up on Feb. 25 in anticipation of a visit by a prospective buyer. “You’re going to have more spares and more engines than anyone else.”
Brown said he is certain that 44-77902 is the last complete and unrestored Mustang in the world. The airplane last flew in 1983 and has since been tucked away under cover in West Texas. The next annual will likely be on the pricey side, but “there’s no corrosion on it,” Brown noted, estimating that an additional half-million-dollar investment would restore this Mustang to flying shape. Only the guns have been removed; everything else remains exactly as it was when flown by Guatemalan Air Force pilots.
Brown said in 2014 that the airplanes Edwards accumulated over the years, including a Spitfire Mark IX that had actually flown in the Battle of Britain, along with others, fetched higher prices than flyable aircraft, by about 20 percent, because they remained in original condition. “Connie got his price,” Brown said in 2014, and he said this month that there’s little point in offering less than the asking price. Edwards does not need the money, and remains as disinclined to budge as ever when it comes to his last Mustang.
“He just wants to clean it up and make sure it goes to a good home,” Brown said.