Our venerable Cub is a 1955 model (built in 1954) L21-B, originally sold to the Italian Air Force under the Mutual Assistance Program. The civilian designation is a PA18-135. It was repatriated to the US in the late '70s and reassembled in the mid '80s.
The Cub has definitely earned its keep, as it was used primarily for training in Italy and Boulder, Colorado, for nearly 4000 hours. It was later moved to Boise, Idaho, and was used for both pleasure and training. The Cub was taken out of service in 2002 after a minor groundloop. It was restored by 2009 as a custom classic aircraft.
Visually, without close study, the exterior is still classic L-21 (except for the tires). Close examination reveals a few exterior changes: VGs, baggage door, extended exhaust, no external oil cooler.
The Italians painted the plane light green and brown camouflage in the 70s. Embossed Italian text was visible on the overhead switch panel and the throttle panel. It is unclear what color the plane shipped from the factory. It is arguable that our Cub shipped in Army-Navy yellow, which its present color.
The original Italian squadron markings were measured and restored. The interior markings are now in English, as required on the Normal category type certificate.
Functionally, it is vastly improved from the factory configuration. Many modifications have been made to improve performance, utility, and safety.
In 2009, the Cub won the Outstanding Piper Award (other than J3) at the Experimental Aircraft Association Airventure in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.