Meier Motors, nestled on the fringes of the Black Forest in the small town of Eschbach, Germany has fast become one of the world’s premier warbird maintenance and restoration facilities. There is a radiant quality to their work, which is clearly evident in everything they handle, whether it be a Vought F4U-5N Corsair, Hawker Sea Fury T.Mk.20 or any of the more than two dozen other vintage military aircraft they have dealt with. Meier Motors has developed significant expertise with the Messerschmitt Bf-109 as well. They are currently restoring four separate examples of the breed (albeit three of them are based upon the Spanish-built Hispano Buchon variant). The original Bf-109 is a very rare Emil-model, which actually flew with the Condor Legion in the Spanish Civil War. Another client has contracted Meier Motors to convert a Buchon into a two-seater with dual controls. It will also have a Daimler-Benz DB 605 engine in place of the Buchon’s more typical Rolls Royce Merlin. Once finished, the two-seater will be available for flight instruction, giving modern pilots the benefit of hands-on training with the Bf-109 breed’s notoriously tricky take off and landing characteristics. This comes none-to-soon given the history of the type both in service and on the air show circuit.
Probably the first of Meier Motors current crop of “Messerschmitts” to fly will be Buchon C.4K-64 owned by Jerry Yagen. Yagen obtained the fighter in a trade with the National Museum of the US Air Force about a decade ago, and has slowly had the aircraft rebuilt to a similar configuration as a Bf-109G-4, complete with a Daimler-Benz DB 605 powerplant. The aircraft is well on the way to completion. It is currently on its gear in Meier Motors’ hangar sporting a non-airworthy engine to allow the cowlings and other fittings to be custom fitted while awaiting the arrival of the airworthy engine. Mike Nixon’s Vintage V-12s in Tehachapi, California has finished overhauling the new engine, and it is currently on its way to Germany for installation. Jerry Yagen is hopeful that he will have the ‘Bf-109’ flying alongside his replica Me-262 for Warbirds Over the Beach to be held at his Military Aviation Museum in Pungo, Virginia next May.
With much thanks to Jerry Yagen for his help with this article and Matthias Dorst for his wonderful photographs!
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