Long time readers of this blog may recall that one of my all-time favorite assignments was flying aboard a B-24 named 'Diamond Lil.'
To keep my father from calling me on a technicality, I will have to allow that the B-24 I flew in was actually a C-87. As I recall, it left the factory in 1941 (the 25th out of 18,000 that would be built) in San Diego as a B-24, but crash landed (something about the landing gear not coming down) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Because it was headed to England as part of the lend-lease program, the government simply flew another new B-24 over to England in its place. The Diamond Lil aircraft was severely damaged on its belly (that happens when you land without wheels) so a decision was made to weld it back together and use it as a transport, which technically makes it a C-87.
After the war, the plane had a new life as an executive aircraft until it was purchased (or obtained) and restored to its appearance as a B-24 (it still does not have the bomb doors). It now is reportedly only one of two flying B-24s.
During World War II it was used, among other things, to transport movie stars on USO tours and was outfitted with relatively luxurious seats and interior. That duty probably helped it survive the war and on into today.
While searching Youtube.com I located this clip of Diamond Lil, the very same one I flew on so many years ago. Again, to my old editor - Roger - my thanks for the best assignment I ever had.