This painting by Stan Vosburg was featured in the Pageant of the Masters in the 1999 Laguna Beach Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach, California.
It was beautiful, it was fast, and it had a grace of line and contour few airplanes have possessed. Spooling back through half a century we see its silver sides glistening in the late afternoon sun. Just under a canopy of camouflage netting a young army ferry pilot leans against its flank and confers with one of the many young women that has helped to bring this Mustang into being. A crew returning from a rudder repair job on the flight line catches a glimpse of a fleeting romance. Men busily prepare waiting steeds for their final test flights as North American P-51D's are spewed off the assembly line at a rate of one an hour, 24 hours a day.
Looking north from the Mines Field plant we can almost hear the throaty growl of Packard built Merlin engines, and the staccato crackle of six wing-mounted Browning machine guns being test fired nearby. Barrage balloons float whimsically over the northern horizon where the Santa Monica Mountains jut up behind the derrick covered Baldwin Hills. Building 15,864 deadly defenders of democracy in less than three short years was a colossal feat of human will and ingenuity. World War Two is nearly a generation behind us now, yet silver links to those epic days still linger in the few remaining P-51's that thrill us with the flash and roar of their passage through our peaceful skies.