North American P-51D Racer

Although P-51 Mustangs are known for their role as fighter planes during World War II, the New England Air Museum's P-51 went on to accomplish many other feats.

Delivered in early 1945, this aircraft sold as excess and purchased by Woody W. Edmonson in 1946. Edmonson raced the plane, coming in seventh in the Thompson Trophy race. He sold the plane, which eventually ended up under the ownership of Anson Johnson in 1947.

Anson Johnson entered the Kendall Trophy race, in which he was unable to finish. After modifications to the plane, including a new propeller, engine, and shorter wings, Johnson entered into the Cleveland Air Races in 1948. Johnson became the surprise winner of the Thompson Trophy that year in his very sleek P-51 racer, clocking 383mph. After more modifications, Johnson entered the Thompson Trophy Race again the next year, only to have to drop out due to smoke in the cockpit. He then tried to set a world speed record in the aircraft, however was unable to achieve this as the timing equipment failed. Johnson sold the P-51, which changed hands several times before it was purchased by CAHA in August 1972.

Restoration began on the aircraft in 2012 under the direction of Crew Chief Pete McConnell. Since the plane had lived its glory as a racer, it was restored back to what it was like when it was flown by Anson Johnson in the 1940s. The restoration of the P-51 took three years to complete, finishing in 2015. Painted bright yellow, the racer sits next to a small model of a P-51 fighter, allowing visitors to see the various modifications that Johnson made to the aircraft to make it so sleek and fast.


Click HERE to learn more about the New England Air Museum's North American P-51D Racer

© New England Air Museum 2016-2021
36 Perimeter Rd., Windsor Locks, CT, 06096