Today "Oil In My Blood" is dedicated to amazing person Mr. Atanas Vilner - the owner of Vilner Tuning Company of Bulgaria. Let's talk to him.
CARakoom (C): Hi Atanas! Your company Vilner is popular all over the world! Please, could you tell us how its all began?
Atanas (A): Thanks for this appreciation and indeed Vilner has gained wide popularity. Actually, it all started just for fun. I started first working on my own cars, because no matter how you look at it - your car is an expression of your own personality. This happened in 1996 and today, looking back at the years, I can say I turned my hobby into a profession. Nobody taught me anything at the beginning; I did a lot of mistakes, but this was the price I had to pay to get where I am today and to able to offer Vilner‘s quality we are famous for.
C: What is tuning and car customization personally for you?
A: I would not use the term "tuning" to describe what we do at Vilner. Our goal is to achieve new aesthetic for cars, where the aesthetic reflects the personality of the owner of the car. We all appreciate beautiful things, and I ensure that everything leaving our studio is unique and an individual creation.
C: What or who was an inspiration for you and gave a start to all things you do now?
A: When I was a child I loved the small matchbox cars. Even at that time my cars were different from those of all the others. No matter if I painted red their taillights with nail polish or would varnish them again drawing two racing strips that pass through the car throughout its length. Even my childhood cars were special. As you know, under communism there was not much information about cars produced in the west, even less about racing cars. My father, however, had a series of cards exactly with such machines. I could stare at them for hours and these cards were very valuable to my father, he used to hide them from me. Surely, I was always able to find them and looked at them secretly. I guess it all began back then. I loved to draw and my favorite topics were of course cars.
C: What results you were expecting from your company in the very beginning?
A: As previously shared, I turn a hobby into a profession and when I started I had no specific expectations. When I started getting orders, I decided to fulfill them and save money to work on my own cars. Fortunately, the market, and even our customers appreciate what we do at Vilner and and from now on our limit can only be only the sky.
C: Do you take part in car shows and competitions? How often? What results?
A: I rarely participate in such initiatives, but whenever car of Vilner takes part into something like this, it leaves with a cup or trophy. Last time there was a retro rally where we participated with a Corvette Stingray.
C: How the ideas of customization of this or that car or motorcycle are born?
A: First I take my time to communicate with the owner of the car. In this way I understand what our customer wants. Based on this, we create a project representing our ideas. Then we produce the car ensuring it reproduces the design and perspective of Vilner’s philosophy. As at the end this is what made us famous and the reason people look of our services.
C: Please, tell us a few words about your team.
A: I have an unique team of mostly young people. I have nine people in total, boys and girls; they are "Vilner’s gang". These are the people behind me and I unreservedly count on them. They are my little army making Vilner to what it is now.
C: People of what age usually become your customers?
A: The most of our customers are over 40 years old. Surely, we have younger people and customers over 60. But what they all have in common is the financial abilities and the sense of beauty. They are people who want to express themselves through the car they have.
C: Are there some special rules of taking care after tuned car?
A: We start with the basics, namely that a nice car should be kept in the garage. Not because the sun or moisture will dismantle it into its constituent parts, but because the lacquering of the carboniferous surface is too sensitive to the sun. Over time it becomes darker and loses its shine and polish. The leather we use for the design of our cars doesn’t require any specific maintenance, it is sufficient to keep out the sun.
C: On what projects are you currently working?
A: We are currently working on a BMW M6 Cabriolet. In our studio we have two Alfa Romeo Brera - one is a coupe, the other one a convertible. We are in the process of completing a Hummer H3, which is becoming very interesting; we have also a Datsun 240Z from the 70s.
C: Let’s list the most notable tuning projects from Vilner’s Company?
A: We have worked on many different cars, but personally I think the best we have done for now are BMW Bullshark, Corvette Stingray, Bentley Continental GT, Rimac Concept One, Mercedes E55 AMG four-Matic, which is one of 15 produced as and a Mercedes SL whose interior we used alligator leather. Believe me, the result is remarkable.
C: What is your most favorite tuning project on which you have worked?
A: My personal favorites are definitely Bullshark and Rimac. Both have Vilner’s design and not just an addition to already existing solutions.
C: In the end, could you tell us what future plans of company developing you have?
A: Currently we are working on our own franchise program and you are the first one we are sharing this with. We are negotiating successfully with various potential partners, and we made a huge progress with the approach about opening Vilner studios in China and Austria, respectively in Beijing and Vienna. We are exploring opportunities for partnerships in Moscow, London and Dubai.