When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Firm wings in to help build Spitfires again
A FAMILY engineering firm is going back to the future after linking up with a high-flying heritage project.
Norbar Torque Tools of Banbury delivered torque wrenches to Enstone Airfield to help with the assembly of new Spitfire aircraft.
The move is hugely symbolic as the company was founded during the Second World War to supply similar tools for use on the engines of the original Spitfire.
Members of Enstone Flying Club plan to build 12 scale replicas of the legendary fighters from kits, to form the City of Oxford Squadron.
Norbar sales and marketing director Philip Brodey, grandson of one of the company founders, Bill Brodey, said: “When we found out about the programme we leapt at the chance to get involved and talked about what we could do.
“The company started making wrenches for the Merlin engine which was used in the Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster aircraft, so donating something to the project seemed the logical thing. We are delighted to support this exciting project to create a piece of living aviation history.”
And it was particularly fitting for Norbar – formed in 1942 as the North Bar Tool Company – to get involved as the company is celebrating its 70th anniversary.
The first of the new Spitfires, a 90 per cent scale model of the original, is nearing completion. Its modern General Motors engine will be installed during the summer.
Each aircraft costs £210,000, funded by enthusiasts who can buy a 12th or 20th part share for £17,000 or £11,000.
More than 40 people have so far invested in the first three aircraft, with the squadron set to be completed by the end of the year.
Paul Fowler of Enstone Flying Club, who is leading the Spitfire project, said: “I think it is brilliant that Norbar has agreed to sponsor us and re-stablish the link with the Spitfire.”
Norbar now employs 240 staff and is going to move to new premises in Wildmere Road, where it will take on another 35 staff by the end of the year.