The Fiat G.59 was a development of the G.55. As spare parts for the Daimler-Benz DB 605A and license built Fiat RA 1050 engines were dwindling after WW II, Fiat adapted the G.55 airframe to take the 1,610 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin T.24-2. The prototype was a converted two-seat G.55B and designated G.55BM it flew for the first time early 1948. Also six single-seat G.55As and another six G.55Bs were rebuilt to G.55AM and G.55BM fighter-trainers, later redesignated G.59-1A and G.59-1B respectively. One G.59-1A was fitted with four wing-mounted 0.787 in (20 mm) Hispano cannons.
Basically similar to the G.59-1s were the G.59-2A and G.59-2B, Syria
bought 26 G.59-2As with the four-cannon arrangement and four G.59-2Bs
fitted with two 0.5 in (12.7 mm) machine-guns. One G.59-2A was
delivered to Argentina for evaluation. The G.59-3A was a prototype
navigational trainer fitted with the 1,420 hp Merlin 500/20, the same
engine was used in the final versions, the G.59-4A and G.59-4B,
recognizable by the bubble canopies. Including the prototypes and the
12 rebuilt G.55s, Fiat produced 200 G.59s.
This particular aircraft was built in 1950 as a G.59-4B Srs.10 and served with the
Italian AF, s/n MM53772, coded RS-25. When struck off charge the
aircraft was placed in storage at Practica d'Mare AB, Italy. It was
purchased by the late Guido Zuccoli at an auction held by the Museo
Storico dell' Aeronautica Militaire Italiana at Vigna de Valle Air
Base in November 1983. It was shipped to Fighter Rebuilders (now
Sanders Aeronautics) at Chino, California, USA for restoration to
flying condition. When the restoration was completed in July 1987 the
aircraft was registered in the USA as NX59B. Finished in metallic
gray with Italian roundels and marked G59B, it was named "Ciao Bella"
In 1989 it was shipped to Australia and registered VH-LIX on
September 5. By 1995 the aircraft had been given a wholly fictional
camouflage scheme resembling an Italian WW II fighter, the cat insigne
looks like that of the Italian AF 51 Stormo and the name Centauro
(Centaur) belongs to the Fiat G.55. The four-bladed propeller has
been replaced by a three-bladed one. The aircraft can be flown in
either a single-seat (as shown above) or two-seat (source unknown) configuration after
a relatively straight-forward conversion process.