In November 1937 a modified Messerschmitt Bf 109 V13 (D-IPKY), raised the world landplane speed record to 379 mph (610 km/h). Previously it had been held by Howard Hughes flying a Hughes H-1 racing aircraft at 352 mph (566 km/h).
Funded by the British Air Ministry in 1938 the 48th production Spitfire Mk I (K9834) was taken from the line and significantly modified as a one off for an attempt on this record.
All military equipment was removed, the wings were shortened and rounded tips fitted.
A 4 blade wooden propeller was fitted to a specially modified Rolls Royce Merlin II engine which utilising a “racing fuel” of petrol, methanol and benzol produced 2,100 hp (1,565 kW).
Further streamlining included introduction of a tailskid and a racing windscreen. The panel lines were smoothed and flush rivets replaced the round head rivets.
Finally a highly polished royal blue paint scheme with a silver flash was adopted with the distinctive designation N-17 issued.