Bidders land Harrier and Tornado jets in £5m Northamptonshire auction today

Mystery bidders landed themselves a piece of aviation history at an auction in Northamptonshire today - where Harrier Jump Jet and Tornado fighter planes were the prize lots.

The two items, which both saw active service but have been decommissioned from flying, were part of a £5m classic car and engineering sale taking place over today and tomorrow at Silverstone circuit.

A mystery buyer from the Home Counties, who bid via telephone, took the 1976 Harrier Jump Jet for £92,000.

The lot came complete with plane’s engine, which the new owner will need to take to the United States to have fitted if they want to see it air-worthy again.

And shortly after a packed auction at the West Wing of Silverstone Circuit saw the hammer came down on the Tornado F3 - a comparative bargain at £33,000.

Sales and Consignment manager for Silverstone Auctions Paul Campbell was on the phone to take the winning bid from the woman ‘based on the south coast’, he said.

She told me she would bid a maximum of £25,000,” he added. “But often auctions coax that little bit more out of a person in the moment.

“She was delighted, she was screaming down the phone when the hammer went down.”

Introducing the lots auctioneer Jonathan Humbert said it was by ‘the first jet he had ever sold’

The Tornado F3, once dubbed the guardian of the skies, could reach 1490 mph. The model on sale was not at Silverstone circuit today, but was used in service in Malaysia and Alaska and has just undergone a 16-month restoration.

The 1976 Harrier for sale, situated proudly outside the West Wing today for people to view, was famed for its ability to take off and land vertically.

The ‘Hawker’ model for sale has been kept in ‘almost time capsule conditions’, according to Silverstone Auctions, which hosted today’s sale of mainly classic cars including an extremely rare 1962 Marcos GT Xylon driven by racing legend Jacky Stewart.

A spokesperson for the firm said more than 600 people registered an interest in buying one of more than 60 lots on sale today, which coincided with the Silverston Classic motor racing event taking place at the circuit this weekend..