The Restoration of Mrs. Mennen

Immediately after reacquiring the Mrs. Mennen, Will Mennen assembled a top-notch team to refurbish this aviation masterpiece. An extensive two-year restoration project culminated with the return of the trim to “Mennen green” and the re-christening of the airplane as “Mrs. Mennen”.

The first project was to locate and stop all of the oil leaks. The engine underwent an intensive inspection – identifying several gasket leaks, a crack in the oil tank, and a puncture in the oil cooler.

After dealing with all of the oil leaks, an oil filter system was installed.

A new electric fuel pump was found to replace the old one – which sounded like grinding metal every time it ran.

New modern disk brakes were installed.

The Mrs. Mennen was forced to make a belly landing in July 1978 when the right landing gear fell off due to a cracked landing gear trunion.  Shortly thereafter, the Mrs. Mennen was rebuilt using the strongest materials available in 1978. In 2003, Will Mennen had new left and right trunions machined from modern metals that far exceed the strength of both the original factory materials and the 1978 replacement parts.

Factory Original Right Side Trunion – the cause of the 1978 crash.

1978 Vintage Replacement Left Side Trunion

Newly machined trunion – 2003

The control surfaces were all removed, replaced with new fabric, and painted.

Old control surface fabric removed from airplane.

Control surfaces being recovered with new fabric.

Rudder with new fabric and paint being clear coated.

The entire airplane was stripped to prepare for new paint.

Mrs. Mennen with all of the trim color stripped off.

The proper color green (“Mennen Green”) had to be selected – Green Metallic # 44407 was chosen.  The nose bowl was painted first.

Nose Bowl Paint Sample – Green Metallic # 44407

Once the color green was agreed upon, the nose bowl was put back on the airplane and the rest of the airplane was prepped for paint.

The cowls were taped off to recreate the original scalloped paint scheme.

Cowls Stripped and Prepped for Paint

An accent color had to be selected.  Gold N8014 was chosen and sprayed.

Last step – spray the Mennen Green field color.

The Mrs. Mennen is the only Spartan Executive to still have the original cowl logos made of nickel.  They needed to be stripped, taped and prepared for paint, and painted with both the Mennen Green as well as the gold accent color.

Original logos from the cowl stripped

Cowl logo painted gold accent color and taped to accept Mennen Green field color

Cowl Logos Complete

Once the entire plane had been taped off, the gold accent color was applied.

Tail Logo and Tail Stripes – gold only

Next, the Green paint was applied.

Mrs. Mennen Logo complete

Tail Logo and Stripes with Green and Gold Paint Applied

One of the last things was to strip and repaint the wing walks.

Left Side wing walk stripped and ready for application of special wing walk paint.

Once the airplane was put back together, a local artist was brought in to hand paint the details in the Spartan logo on the tail.  Special black paint was used to complete this last phase of the restoration.

Right Side of Tail complete – rudder reinstalled and painting complete.

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