From the very beginning the people of Douglas knew their B-18 bomber only won the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) contract because of its lower cost, so in order to improve the Bolo’s modest performances soon a number of fairly major modifications was studied. First flown the summer of 1939, the end result incorporated powerful Wright R2600 engines, a wing almost taken from the company DC-3 and various armament and aerodynamic refinements. Seen potential in Douglas proposal, the USAAC ordered the last batch of thirty-eight B-18s to converted into B-23s.
Fast and imposing, the Dragon arrived nevertheless just too late: its design couldn’t compete against the more modern B-25/B-26s then available. During WW2 the around thirty built saw service as patrol aircraft at first. Later some found use as trainers and thanks to their speed as fast transport.
After the war, their speed came to their rescue, and many, after the almost compulsory modifications, soon found employ as executive transports. The magnificent N777LW (C/N 2749) survivor was one of them.