Case #83 shows Bill Bruggeman's Blain, Minnesota based Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, Australian built CA-18 Mustang, NL286JB, which now flies in a Ninth Air Force scheme as Richard Turner's 'Short Fuse Sallee,' of the 354th F.G. At the time of the photo, it was race '86, Ciuchetton,' and over the years it carried registrations N65198, N4674V, N607D, N86JB and N286JB, with about a dozen different owners in the U.S. before winding up in France as F-AZIE. It suffered an in flight fire (aft of the firewall, or cockpit area I believe) while based in Europe that caused some structural damage, but repairs were made by Historic Flying Limited, a Spitfire restoration shop at Audley End, England. It returned to the US in '96 (imported by Courtesy Aircraft, of Rockford, Illinois), and has been based in Minnesota since.
A few notes about case 83, race mustang #86.
I owned that Mustang in the mid 80s for 4 or 5 years before selling it to Victor Haluska, of Santa Monica Propeller Company. I know a few things about it's rather strange past. Then again, all Mustangs seem to have a strange past.
The airplane was the third from last D type made. It was assembled from parts at Fisherman's Bend, Australia, and accepted by the Ausies 7/6/51. When it was released to the Australian civil market, the Ausies limited ex military planes to special uses, meaning government type work. It was a target tug for a company owned by various individuals, one of which was my friend, Arnold Glass. This amazing person still flys a Jet Fighter, a Gnat, in England. At the brink of his 80s, he recently sold his two Mig 21s and is settling down to only his Gnat.
The Mustang was imported to the states in the summer of 67 and sold shortly thereafter to Joe Fred Banducci. About he same time Banducci also bought the paperwork to a Bolivian Mustang that was originally sent to Australia in 45 by the US. This airframe, with serial number, 45-11483, was returned to the states and converted to a TF model. It then was sent to Bolivia, where it crashed. The "data plate" was bought by Joe Fred and nailed to A68-198. At (that) time the FAA would not recognize or certify non-US built Mustangs in the limited category. All of this paperwork shuffle, ... apparently worked. It flew and raced in full view of many people.
Joe Fred, from the Bakersfield, California area, flew the Mustang a little and allowed John P…, I forget his name, to fly it in a few races. Anyhow, the Whittingtons obtained it in some manner ... (and then it) was shortly re-leased to Piper Aircraft as a chase plane for the Enforcer program. When that program was over, Whittingtons advertised it for sale. I inspected it. I gave Don Whittington a list of things I wanted corrected before the sale and I would buy it. There were little things like an annual and big things like the title. ... Months went by. I went ahead and bought another Mustang, N51DH from Max Ramsey. It was still in restoration though.
One day Whittington calls from Addison Airport at 7:00AM, right after a fast moving line of thunderstorms roared through and said "your airplane is on your ramp". He had flown it from Fort Lauderdale ... Therefore, I had two Mustangs for a few years. I kept asking friends to fly one while I flew the other. That finally did not make a lot of sense. N51DH went to Smith at Evergreen International in Mirana Arizona. I kept N286JB for a few more years steadily improving it with a new motor and radiator radios and a back seat stick, rudder peddles and throttle. I gave a few checkouts for fun and met Haluska that way. He had purchased Jack Rose's Mustang and was trying to get a check out. He became so comfortable with 286JB he sold his 51 to Mike George who still has it and bought mine.
Mr Shaw is absolutely correct the mustang Ciuchetton race 86 at the time was owned by Joe Fred Banducci. My father (John Putman Sr.) raced it for quite a few years in Reno, Miami, Mojavi and probably a few other places Im forgetting.