The F4 Phantom "Black Bunny" - Hugh Heffner's Nemisis
You might recognize this beauty as the F-4J Phantom, otherwise known as the “Black Bunny.”
You can see the Playboy Bunny image on the tail fin that gave this model its nickname.
The F-4 fighter-bomber was used extensively during the Vietnam war and continued to be one of the primary fighter planes for the U.S. Military through the 1970s and 1980s.
This F-4J Phantom was painted glossy black to see if that would make it less visible during night flights, while the bunny on the tail was added as comic tribute to Hugh Hefner, whose own custom-built DC-9 sported a similar paint job.
Rumour has it that old Heff didn’t like the military ripping off his design and threatened to sue for copyright violation. But when the military spokesperson pointed out that doing so might direct some unwanted attention toward Hef’s personal financial situation, the multi-millionaire backed off pretty quickly.
As it turned out, the black paint job didn’t get the hoped-for results, and future F-4s were given a low-visibility gray paint job that blended in better with the sky day or night.
Too bad… just look at that picture. The F-4J Phantom was a cool-looking bird.