Beautiful and deadly. No airplane of the Second World War better deserves the title of “legend” than the Mustang. Originally configured as the P-51 and consigned to low-level reconnaissance and fighter-bomber service, the Mustang was given a radically more powerful Packard V-1650-7 engine, and designated the P-51D, gaining fame as a bomber escort in raids over Germany. Long after fighter jets took over the stage, the P-51 remained. In later versions, like La Pistolera, a second seat and dual controls were added and these Mustangs were assigned the TF model number.
The wartime Mustangs were lifesavers. Marvels of contemporary technology, they were constructed with a two-section fuselage of aluminum and a unique radiator whose exhaust actually produced jet thrust. With the B-17s conducting crucial bombing raids and taking high casualties from German fighters, a fast, long-range fighter was desperately needed. The Mustang answered the call. And its reputation endured well into the 1960s. Otherwise the Ford Motor Companyʼs most popular sports car might have been named after a different fighter.
|Max Speed||505 mph|
|Gross Weight||10,500 lbs|
|Power Plant||Rolls-Royce Merlin V-1650-7|
|Fuel Capacity||184 gal|
6 x .50 cal wing-mounted guns
|Bombs||2 x 1,000 lb bombs or 6 x 127 mm (5 in) rockets|