Test your P-51 memory, knowledge and research ability!
by Dick Phillips
William Yoak, Martin Kyburz
This aircraft was owned by Tony D'allesandris of Reno, NV until the mid to late 1970's. He had it converted to receive a modified Allison in addition to other racing "mods" shown in the photo. He had intended to enter it in the races, but that never materialized. It had been on the "back burner" for some time after its completion and was eventually sold to Rick Smith ( a building contractor) who owned/operated the aircraft from the late 70's through the mid to late 80's. It was based in El Monte, CA during Smith's ownership. It was eventually acquired by Bill Rheinschild and was raced by he and his wife Erin Rheinschild. This was the stock example that they had in addition to "Risky Business" (Race #45) until either the late 80's or early 90's. This Mustang was brought back to stock configuration shortly before it was sold to Rick Smith.
Martin (Swiss Mustangs)
Thank you William; with this information, I can say that it is P-51D-30-NA 45-11553; initially registered as N5414V (1957), then N713DW (1963) and used as racer (#6 and #15), then N22DC, N51T and N51TZ (during the 70's), then rebuilt as N5415V (#2) in 2.84 (used parts of 45-11571 for rebuild), then N38JC after another rebuild and today flies as 'Shangi-La', N51VF, in the colours of the 4th FG's ace Don Gentile and is owned by Charles Osborne from New York.
I took a photo of this aircraft in about 1957 or so while it was at the Oxnard Airport (CA), undergoing some sort of restoration. Stenciling just under the canopy had been removed but was still readable. I recall reading "Col. Dean Hess" and some reference to the movie "Battle Hymn" which led me to believe that it may have been used in the movie's production. I am willing to forward the photo on to anyone interested (no charge).