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Auckland warbird restoration company clinches top award at famed US airshow

A small South Auckland warbird restoration company has come home with top prize from a famed US airshow where its restoration of a World War II Mosquito fighter bomber turned heads.

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The company’s $10m WWII Mosquito fighter bomber restoration turned plenty of heads in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Source: Seven Sharp

Avspecs Ltd of Ardmore has a habit of attracting American billionaires as clients, Seven Sharp reported.

Known as "the wooden wonder" in WWII, the third Mosquito to be turned out by Avspecs is now part of the 40-strong warbirds collection of Texan oil billionaire Rod Lewis.

The plane, restored over four years at a cost of $10 million, was named Grand Champion at the Oshkosh Airshow in Wisconsin.

"We've been to the biggest airshow that you can get for our kind of stuff and came away with the Grand Champion award, which is fantastic for us," said restorer Warren Denholm of Avspecs.

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The restoration has taken several years. Source: Seven Sharp

"Our plane was better than everybody else's at the end of the day. Not only was it better, it was also bigger. So it helps being bigger as well, especially in America where they love big things," he said.

Mr Denholm said the entry was also helped by the fact it was a twin-engine aeroplane, and British.

"British stuff is so complicated and unique-looking - that helps as well."

Meanwhile, he said Rod Lewis "has indicated he would like us to do something else, so that's good".

The latest gem being crafted at Avspecs is a Supermarine Spitfire which Mr Denholm said is for another American client.

"And the plan is to take this one to Oshkosh next year. He wants it finished the same way, so hopefully we'll be coming home with another trophy next year."

For now, the top award reinforces the dedicated Avspecs team's reputation as world leaders in doing the seemingly impossible with wrecks from the Second World War.