By far the most-produced fighter ever (over 33,000 estimated), the Bf 109 served actively in various air forces around the world from the mid-1930s until the mid-1950s. Small, agile, and well-armed, it proved a serious weapon in the hands of an experienced pilot.
Perhaps the most noteworthy of the many versions of the Bf 109 was the Bf 109E, which ruled the skies over Europe until mid-1940 when it first encountered the Supermarine Spitfire.
In 1972, Douglas Champlin began looking for a restorable Bf 109 for his collection. After several fruitless searches, he acquired a Spanish-built Hispano HA 1112 and reconfigured it as closely as possible to the original. Locating a Daimler-Benz DB 601 engine and associated cowling proved impossible, so a DB 605 was substituted.
Modification work was undertaken by Art Williams in Germany. This included not only the engine change, but also redesign of the wingtips and other related items.
The Champlin Collection Bf 109 was manufactured in Germany during 1942 or 1943. It is thought to be one of the original batch of twenty-five aircraft supplied to Spain. All instrumentation is German, and of the identifiable Spanish-manufactured parts, many appear to be identical to the original German versions.
Appropriate to the aircraft's history, the cowling and engine are most likely from Bf 109E J392, the initial Dornier-Swiss-built aircraft delivered in 1945. The Champlin Collection Bf 109 has appeared in several movies, including Patton and Battle of Britain. Currently, the Bf 109E is displayed in the Battle of Britain colors of the noted Luftwaffe ace, Hans "Assi" Hahn.