Rare V-Bomber Cockpits Collection Up For Auction

Three of the four nose section up for auctions. (Image via Hansons)

If you are looking for a rare V-bomber cockpit for your own collection or mancave, this can be your chance to grab one.

A pretty unique collection of restored cockpits belonging to some legendary V-bomber aircraft is up for grabs. Due to be sold on Mar. 9, 2021, in Hansons Auctioneers’ Iconic 20th Century Auction, are the cockpit sections of the Avro Vulcan B2/K2 (XH560), the Vickers Valiant B1 (XD826), the Handley Page Victor K2 (XH669) and the Handley Page Victor (XH670) which is the last surviving example of a Victor B2.

Nigel Towler, 65, a retired businessman from London, has decided to sell his collection after dedicating about 40 years of his life to searching, salvaging and restoring “the largest array of V-Bomber cockpits in one private collection”.

Towler’s colossal collection includes some extremely rare pieces as it includes a Valiant (XD826) that originally flew as a bomber, from Honington in Suffolk and the nose survived as a ground-trainer at Feltwell, Norfolk, when the airframe was scrapped in 1965. It served with Nos 7, 90, 138 and 543 squadrons and the 232 Operational Conversion Unit, according to the information made available by Hansons Auctioneers.

“Then there’s Victor cockpit XH669, the second B2 model built. It was later converted to become a tanker and was involved in the Black Buck raid during the 1982 Falklands War. It was due to be the last aircraft to pass fuel to Vulcan XM607 but famously XH669’s fueling probe broke. It was retired by No 55 Squadron in 1990.”

“Equally important is XH670, the last surviving section of a Victor B2 Bomber variant still in existence, and Vulcan K2 XH560, one of six B2s converted into tankers during the Falklands conflict. As well as the cockpits, numerous spares and parts are available to buy.”

Both strategic bomber types played a role in aviation history, flying for the first time 70 years ago (the Valiant, in 1951), then operating in the Cold War and during the Falklands War when, especially the Victor supported the Vulcan, in one of the RAF’s greatest missions of all time.

Avro Vulcan. (Image credit: Richard Clements)

If Towler can’t find a buyer for the whole collection, he will have to sell off hundreds of parts individually and then scrap the rest. That would be a shame, considered the work that he’s done in the last four decades to preserve such pieces of history. The cockpit would deserve to rest in a museum or to join another public or private collection.

“This is an opportunity to go to a one-stop-shop – me – to buy a ready-made museum. The buyer won’t have to endure the pain, time and trouble I have been through to find instruments and panels, ejection seats and the countless parts required to assemble the cockpits,” Towler said. “My ambition was always to make these cockpits 100% correct so that former crews would find them as accurate as when they flew them. Most parts have been sourced in the UK. I’ve been known to drive to the north of Scotland for a part worth only £5 but essential for authenticity.”

According to Rik Alexander, who is managing the sale on behalf of Hansons, the entire collection should achieve £200,000 to £300,000.

The story of the cockpits and many more details about the aircraft they belonged can be found at the Towler’s V-Bombers website.

Let’s see what happens. If you have much money to spend, you have time until Feb. 23, 2021, to place a bid. Good luck!


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.