In WWII, a German fighter pilot by the name of Erich Hartmann set a record for aerial victories. To this day, his tally remains unchallenged. Nicknamed “Bubi” (The Kid) by comrades and “Black Devil” by his Soviet adversaries, he shot down 352 Allied aircraft. After the war ended, Erich was charged, tried, and convicted of war crimes – spending 10 years in Soviet prison camps as a result.
He was released in 1955, joined the West German Air Force in 1956, retired in 1970, and died of natural causes in 1993. Why are we telling you this? Well, the Hartmann family spent time on American soil and fell in love with a Gold Metallic 1976 Datsun 280Z ‘Fairlady Z’ while exercising their freedom.
Upon returning to Hamburg, the family had the Datsun shipped to, and stored, in Erich's living room; along with parts from a Messershmitt Bf 109 – a German aircraft used in WWII – that was associated with Hartmann's flying days.
Looking to part with the car that had in some way come to the attention of Atanas Vilner of Vilner Garage, the owner had to remove some of the window assembly from his home to get the car out.
With the use of the code art program BASF R-M, Vilner developed a truly unique color scheme and redesign for the car. Featuring LED head and tail lights, LED ‘Z’ badge side indicators, and machined side view mirrors, the exterior is ‘Vilner Cobalt Matt Metallic’ with ‘Vilner Copper Rose’ on the front grill and back side of the car along with the ‘Superlite’ styled wheels.
Removing the front and rear bumpers, Vilner said of the restomod, “I’ve kept the car as close to the original. As my imagination allowed me to do so.” Most of the interior panels were wrapped in Vintage leather or blue felt with matching seatbelts and floor mats. The floor mats are edged in leather and feature metallic ‘Fairlady Z’ lettering and the seats are adorned with the prestigious ’20 years Vilner Studio’ badge.
“To sum up the project with some numbers? It’s impossible,” says Vilner. “The amount of work put into this project is beyond any car done from my team. And I can guarantee that this Datsun 280Z ‘Fairlady Z’ is one of the most unique cars on the planet. Even the asking price of €75k is modest when you consider the amount of work and materials put into this project, not to mention the art work."
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