The 2017 Palos Verdes Concours promises to deliver something for just about everyone and for vintage aircraft fans, this year’s show set for Sunday, Oct. 1, at Zamperini Field, Torrance, will include a Douglas C-53 Skytrooper flown during the Normandy Invasion and a 1944 North American P-51 Mustang “D,” also flown in World War II. The concours will run from 10 a.m.to 4 p.m.
The Douglas C-53 that will be part of this year’s event is an actual veteran of the Normandy Invasion where it carried members of the 101st Airborne and dropped them off behind enemy lines in the pre-dawn skies prior to the first wave to arrive on the beach.
The C-53 Skytrooper was a dedicated troop transporter based on the DC-3 airliner. Only 380 were ever built. The first order for the C-53, for just under 100 aircraft, was placed in June 1941. All 380 C-53s were built at Douglas’s Santa Monica plant.
The first 221 C-53s were powered by 1,200 horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp engines, and were equipped with 28 fixed metal seats arranged as in a conventional airliner.
The P-51 Mustang isn’t without its own impressive history including spending two months in England near the end of WWII before returning stateside. From 1945 to 1958, the aircraft served in the U.S. Air Force and National Guard. In 1958, she was decommissioned and sold to a number of private owners. Years later in 2004, a new owner acquired this P-51 and started the six-year restoration process. The current owner purchased her in 2011. Only 8,200 of the “D” model were produced.