This 1959 McDonnell Douglas F4H-1F Phantom is the only flyable plane of its kind outside of military service. While the Phantom requires a little bit of TLC to get it flyable, it can now be yours for a cool $3.25 million.
The F-4 Phantom was one of the first multi-service combat jets. Adopted by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine Corps, it was a large, twin-engine fighter utilized for both air-to-air and air-to-ground combat. It was, in many ways, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter of its time, exported to American allies like Japan, Turkey, Israel, Germany, the United Kingdom, and many others.
The F-4 participated in numerous conflicts, including the Vietnam War, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Iran-Iraq War, and the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
The F-4H-1F Phantom was an early model of the F-4—later designated F-4A—and this particular jet, Navy Bureau of Aeronautics #145310, was built in 1959. It was only the 11th Phantom jet ever built, with 5,184 more F-4s of various types to follow. Like many early production aircraft, BuNo 145310 never went to the fleet, and was instead diverted to the Navy’s test program.
BuNo 145310 first came to notoriety in 1961, when it was fitted with new ejector racks that allowed the jet to carry 22 Mk. 83 500-pound bombs. That was 2.5 times more bombs than a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber carried into battle just 16 years prior. After a demonstration bombing mission at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the U.S. Air Force decided to buy its own F-4s.
In 1961, the Navy kicked off Operation Sageburner, which was meant to celebrate the 50th anniversary of naval aviation by setting a new low-altitude speed record. The first attempt, on May 18, 1961, ended in disaster when F-4H1-F BuNo 145316 suffered a pitch control damper failure.
Read more: Popular Mechanics