He bought his first 20 years ago, the second 13 years ago, and 10 years ago he was even lucky enough to be given the U 421 as a present: the platform vehicle had been standing in a field for years, where it had been rusting away in a terrible condition. Hildebrandt’s son Manuel helped with restoration and maintenance, which took a good six years, many hundreds of working hours and also swallowed up a lot of money. “It was a labour of love,” says Rainer Hildebrandt.
The meeting between the Club President and collector Wolfgang Zappel has something of a family gathering about it: Zappel’s U 411, built in 1957, 30 PS, top speed of 53 km/h, is the predecessor – what you might call the older brother of Hildebrandt’s U 421, in which he has just covered and enjoyed the 80 kilometres. This creates a bond between them and the two men immediately hit it off. It goes without saying that their excursion in the platform vehicles takes them straight to Wolfgang Zappel’s unique collection, parked in a factory hall 36 kilometres away.