Thursday, November 1, 2007

Editor's Notebook - Nov 2007

We at CTCC excitedly welcome new members Jerry and Pat Peterson of Des Plaines, Illinois. As long-standing members often attest, CTCC is more than just a car club. The Classic Thunderbird Club of Chicagoland is a group of enthusiasts who come together for reasons well beyond their automobiles. We are looking forward to seeing Jerry and Pat at upcoming events.

Get Well Wishes from CTCC!
Although Paul Mounts has suffered a setback from his recent surgery, he is now (again) on-the-road-to-recovery! If he adheres to his Doctor's orders, he should be "back to normal" in the near future.

T-Bird-Club forms in TN
News from our two "transplanted" CTCC members indicates that the Anthony's and Jurkonie's are well on their way to forming a new Chapter Club in Tennessee!
Perry notes that there are some 20-area T-Bird owners who are interested in becoming Charter Members of the new Thunderbird Club.

In Remembrance - Linda Sroka
It is with sadness and a deep sense of loss for all of us that I note the passing of CTCC member Linda Sroka on October 10, 2007. Bob and Linda joined CTCC in February of 1999, and both became active members, participating in numerous Club events. We extend our deepest sympathy to Bob and Linda's family as we share in their loss.

As 2007 marches full circle...
keep in mind the upcoming calendar events for November and December.

Thursday, November 8th: MEMBERSHIP MEETING at Russell's BBQ beginning at 7:30 p.m. and coordinated by Ken Smizinski.

Saturday, December 8th: CTCC ANNUAL HOLIDAY PARTY at Chandler's Restaurant in Schaumburg coordinated by Ken and Kathy Smizinski. Check the "CTCC Holiday Party 2007" posting for more information and reservations.

Airline Cabin Announcement
Here is a real example: "Your seat cushions can be used for floatation; and, in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments."

CTCC Holiday Party 2007

Classic Thunderbird Club of Chicagoland Holiday Party

Saturday, December 8, 2007 - 7:00 p.m. - 12:00 midnight

Chandler's at the Schaumburg Golf Club
401 N. Roselle Road Schaumburg, IL 60194

Breast of Chicken Marsala $17.00
Boneless chicken breast sauteed with mushroom and marsala wine
Roast Sirloin of Beef $19.50
Tenqer slices of sirloin topped with mushroom bordelaise sauce.

Both entrees served with soup, salad, potato, vegetables, raspberry sherbet, coffee and hot tea.


Please send checks bv November 27th to:
Ken Smizinski
157 Oaksbury Lane
Palatine, IL 60067

This special CTCC price is good for member and spouse, or one guest.

48 in '08

Well ... not quite yet - but less than a year from now.

48 in '08 ... Fourty-Eight States in Two-Thousand Eight

The Santa Clara Valley Thunderbirds (CTCI Chapter 50) and the Early Birds of Southern California (CTCI Chapter 7) will be undertaking an ambitious project to visit 48 State Capitols in 2008! The Cruise will start following the CTCI Convention that ends in Portland. OR on August 3rd. Members may drive the entire route or any portion of the extended trip. Look for more information in the next issue.

photo caption: As shown, this map is a tentitive plan for the 48 in '08 route.

Reflections On The Denver Regional Convention

WE LEFT OREGON, WISCONSIN on Wednesday, September 12th and stayed in Kearney, Nebraska where we got the last room! There was a big Farm Show in town.

We arrived at the Denver Marriott West at 2 p.m. on Thursday. The weather having been sunny for both of our travel days. The accumulation of bugs and road dirt dictated that we wash the 'Bird.

On Friday. the 14t, we again washed the 'Bird and got reacquainted with old friends before heading for dinner at a great steak place.

photo caption: The Osborne's with their '57 T-Bird in Denver, CO.

On Saturday, the 15th, we cleaned the 'Bird before the early judging commenced. There were no deductions for any mechanicaIs. The weather was still great, and the view of 128 two-passenger T-Birds made for quite a sight.

One Red '57 was sold for 155 big-ones before the Show; it needed an inner-hood repaint, after the dry-cell battery blew up when Marvin Hill started it! Our ears are still ringing.

CL and Sandra Hood ran the Concours again and they did a great job. We had dinner with Mary Jane's sister and niece, along with their husbands [they live in Denver].

On Sunday, the 16th, we took a bus tour into the mountains, where it rained. We were back in time for Cocktails and the Awards Dinner. It was a great program and we received a GOLD in Concours II, Non-Original; it was the last Award presented! This is not bad for an un-restored 'Bird that we have driven 50,000 miles since it was painted 21 years ago.

Monday, September 17th we left Denver and ran into rain: the engine started missing West of Omaha, so we stayed in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where it rained all night.

On Tuesday morning, the 18th. the 'Bird barely starts, as we welcome the fact that the rain is decreasing. The 'Bird stalls several times, so I pop the clutch in second gear and the engine restarts. I kick off the overdrive in order to increase the engine speed, as we finally out-run the big rain.

The home garage never looked so good, as we once more wash the T-Bird, took a shower and collapsed!

-- Dave and Mary Jane Osborne

Editor's Note: CONGRATULATIONS to our intrepid CTCC members for winning a CTCI GOLD Award! Dave and Mary Jane reside in Oregon, Wisconsin.

Great Race 2008

The Ultimate Adventure in Motor Sports ...

In celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the "Greatest Auto Race" of 1908, Great Race 2008 will rally-race around the world over much of the same route as the original event, for a $1,000,000 purse.

Great Race 2008 will start in New York City, U.S.A., on February 12, 2008, 100 years to the day after the start of the "Greatest Auto Race," and rally-race 22,000 miles to Paris, France.

photo caption: The 1908 American entry, and eventual winner, Thomas Flyer Team.

40 teams, 20 competing in the latest in automotive technologies and 20 teams driving classic cars, will compete in a time and endurance competition for the right to be declared World Champion.

Just as the "Greatest Auto Race" of 1908 proved the commercial viability of the automobile, Great Race 2008 is designed to achieve the same objective: prove the viability of the latest automotive innovations and test man's ability to endure the hardships of a global race, much like the daring adventures did 100 years ago. Great Race 2008 is a test of endurance for man and machine, and is the ultimate adventure in motor sports.

Wisconsin Day Trip Tale

The Rain in Spain may fall lightly on the plain, but in Wisconsin, it was quite a different story!

EARLY MORNING FOUND US FACING overcast skies, but hoping that the rain clouds would not materialize.

As we headed for the assembly point, the first drops of rain dictated the need to start the half-century old (vacuum) windshield wipers! Luckily, they responded without hesitation and effectively removed the accumulating raindrops.

The skeleton crew at the Road Ranger included 5-classic T-Birds a Lexus and a... Cadillac! At the appointed time, Bob Hoge signaled for us to start on the first leg of our Mini-Tour - to the famous Millie's Restaurant in Delavan, Wisconsin.

photo caption: We boarded car No.30 and our group settled in for the approximately 8 mile rail trip. This rail car was built in in 1926 and has since been maintained mechanically, but not restored.

As we entered Harvard, IL, Len and Mary Keil and Jim Elijah joined our caravan as the light rain continued.

We arrived at Millie's right on-schedule at 9:15, and were soon joined by members Dave and Mary Jane Osborne who reside in Oregon, Wisconsin. Ron and Donna Pavlak arrived a bit later, completing our group.

While we enjoyed the tasty offerings at Millie's, the rain gods took over in earnest, serving up a serious amount of "liquid sunshine!" Although the two-passenger Thunderbird engines were "designed" to be liquid-cooled, I suspect that some (diabolical) design-engineers unwittingly carried the theme over to the T-Bird tops. In any case, if an owner claims to have a top that doesn't Ieak, his secret could be worth a fortune!

The Osbornes bid us farewell and departed for home, as the rest of our group started out to the rain-soaked parking lot. Bob Hoge wisely opted to omit the Snake Road segment of the tour, as the rain continued with no sign of relief. (Snake Road is a designated "Rustic Road" and it is a very colorful 3.2 mile drive, especially when fall colors are at their peak.)

A glance at any of the 'Birds revealed an array of towels and assorted rags being utilized to stem the flow of water into the carpeting, etc.

In spite of slightly dampened spirits, our caravan reformed for the 2nd leg of our Escape to Wisconsin. We survived an unbelievable amount of Sunday traffic as we inched our way through downtown Lake Geneva. The cool weather did prevent any overheating problems!

The rainfall persisted as we arrived in East Troy, home of the East Troy Electric Railroad. The siren call of a roped-off parking area beckoned us, it being, to all intents and purposes, our "promised" reserved T-Bird parking area.

We entered the train station, purchased our tickets and boarded car # 30. This rail car was built in in 1926 and has since been maintained mechanically, but not restored. The presence of countless Duct Tape patches on the seat-coverings attested to this claim!

As our group settled in for the approximately 8 mile rail trip, a conductor suddenly shouted out the words no T-Birder ever wants to hear, "Your cars will be towed!" Somehow, our 'Birds were not in a "protected" parking area, so we bailed out (pun intended) of car # 30 in a desperate attempt to save our T-Birds from the tow-trucks! The train's departure was held until our return, so we left the station several minutes behind schedule.

We finally arrived at the Elegant Farmer in Phantom Woods, where we found the unique "bazaar" crowded with people! The Pavlaks returned toting jugs of cider and other items. Our return trip was uneventful, while the rain persisted its assault on our "parade."

Our visit to an old-time ice-cream shop in East Troy was most enjoyable as we savored sundaes, sodas and other soda-counter treats. The shop's owner indicated that he owned "several" Studebakers, as he joined in on our T-Bird related conversations.

The rainfall notwithstanding, the one-day event planned by Bob and Helen Hoge was most enjoyable. The essence of any club event is being with fellow T-Birders and enjoying the camaraderie that the outing provides.

Members participating in the event: Bert & Jane Eisenhour ('57), Jim Elijah (Ford Focus), Bob & Helen Hoge ('56), Len & Mary Keil ('57), Dan & Joan Mrozek (Lexus), Dave & Mary Jane Osborne (BMW coupe), Ron & Donna Pavlak ('07 Buick), Jerry & Pat Peterson ('57), Ken Smizinski & Len Vinyard (in Ken's '56) and Bill Werth ('55). The Cadillac was piloted by our invited guest, Rich Bennett.

-- Ed., Bird-News

Bodies For Thunderbird

The exciting car that established the 1956 style for the entire line of Ford automobiles, Thunderbird, has a body built to Ford specifications by The Budd Company. Unlike so much of our automobile activity, building individual body parts -- doors, roofs, hoods -- and building by the million, for Thunderbird we construct and assemble the entire body structure.

Here is an example of how Budd engineering, invention, craftsmanship and manufacturing efficiency, created for large scale operations, are applied with equal effectiveness to a car of relatively limited production.

It is this versatility which is constantly adding variety and quantity to products bearing the Budd name which, at a glance, might seem to bear but little relation to each other, but all of which have a common need for the scientific and manufacturing resources that Budd employs in many fields.

The Budd Company -- Philadelphia, Detroit, Gary

CTCC Event Preview - January 2008

Put on Your Dancing Shoes! (No football games are scheduled!)

We will be at the Willowbrook Ballroom, located at 8900 Archer Avenue in Willow Springs, IL on Sunday, Jan. 27th from 1:00 to 4:30 PM.

There will be CBS (Chicken, Beef, Sausage Family Style Meal with soup, salad, side dishes and dessert). Cash Bar too.

Dancing to the Teddy Lee Big Band.

Details next month.

- Pete & Marylu Kramer

Historic Springfield - the CTCC Fall Tour '07

The Fall Tour started on Friday, Oct 5th with 10 cars leaving from the I-355 and Butterfield Road meeting place, and two cars leaving from Indiana. An interesting note, though, Jim Wilson had developed a coil problem on Butterfield, so I was informed that the "Geek Patrol" (headed by Ken, Joel, and Len) was sent out, problem fixed, and our group left 30 minutes later. Of course, part of traveling in the T-Birds is rain, and both groups experienced heavy rain within the first hour. Thank goodness, the rest of the tour was sunny, but extremely hot!

photo caption: T-Birders pose at the Route 66 Hall Of Fame Museum in Pontiac, IL and at the Funk Prairie Home in Shirley, IL.

We all met in Pontiac, IL for our first stop - The Route 66 Hall of Fame Museum. The museum is located in the restored City Hall and Fire Station. Our tour guide, Jim Jones, greeted us as we entered the museum and explained some of the displays. There were Route 66 photos of local establishments, restaurant memorabilia, and lots of history and souvenirs of this famous route. On the second floor, the men enjoyed the war museum with military uniforms, weapons, and artifacts from World War I to present. Before leaving, Liz Werth took a picture of each T-Bird under a large Route 66 sign painted on the back of the building along with a group picture. We received the picture of our car, the group picture, and a group picture from the Funk Museum the next morning - thank you Liz.

Lunch was next on the agenda as we headed to Bloomington, IL and a stop at Culver's Restaurant. Of course, with temperatures in the 90's, ice cream was a welcome treat.

At 1:40 we were on our way to the next stop - The Funk Prairie Home/Gem and Mineral Museum in Shirley, Illinois. Our tour guides were waiting for us as we arrived. We were divided into two groups Emma Funk was our guide in the home, and Bill Case was our gem and mineral guide. Emma's husband, Larry, is a descendant of the Funk Maple Sirup (yes, it's spelled that way) side of the family.

The Funk Prairie Home is the restored 1864 residence of LaFayette and Elizabeth Funk. LaFayette was an Illinois State Senator, co-founder and director of Chicago's Union Stockyards, and cattle king of Illinois. He and Elizabeth had two sons: Eugene founded the Funk Brothers Seed Com Company, and Marquis who electrified the home and the entire farm in 1910 making it the first private farm in the world to be so extensively electrified. An interesting tidbit was the furniture in the home was from Montgomery Wards or Sears - all middle class furnishings.

On this same 27-acre site is the Gem and Mineral Museum This is the collection of LaFayette Funk II, grandson of LaFayette, and son of Eugene. The present building was built by LaFayette II in 1973 and comprises part of the largest one-man gem and mineral collections in the world. Precious stones are on display as well as fossils, Native American artifacts, buggies including a Studebaker buggy, sleighs, and a room of fluorescent minerals which glow under ultraviolet light. After leaving this museum, I was wondering what to write, and Liz Werth had the best advice. She said to describe it as having "lots and lots of rocks", and this was so true.

At 5:00 we arrived at the Drury Inn in Springfield. After checking in, the hotel offered a Manager's Cocktail Reception from 5:30 to 7 that we all enjoyed. After a full day of touring and driving, our group ordered pizzas and continued an evening of fellowship at the hotel.

Saturday turned out to be another hot, sunny day. Drury Inn made certain we started out with a good breakfast, which included Belgian waffles, scrambled eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy, to name a few items. At our 8:30 scheduled time to leave, we headed to the Dream Car Museum in Williamsville, IL. The owners, Pat and Phil Hawley, have been collecting for over 50 years and have 1.5 million invested in their museum. As we entered the front door, a black 1957 Thunderbird was the first car. Their car collection includes some 50 to 60 cars with the oldest being a 1906 International Harvester Buggy Wagon and the newest a 1987 Chevy Monte Carlo SS. Also, included in the collection are 11 motorcycles. The museum was interesting with the office decorated in a Harley-Davidson theme; there was a Veteran's Wall with memorabilia from local veterans, many Elvis items, and numerous other collector items. Mr. and Mrs. Hawley and their son, Dan, had many interesting stories on their collection.

At 10 a.m. we headed to the Dana Thomas House in Springfield. Our tour guide, Richard, described how Frank Lloyd Write was commissioned by Susan Lawrence Dana to incorporate the 30-year old house built by Susan's father into the present house. This home was completed in 1904, and Susan lived in the house until 1928 when she moved into a more modest home across the street. In 1944 she sold the home to the Thomas family, and in 1981 the house was sold to the State of Illinois.

Our next destination was the Abraham Lincoln Museum. As Joe and I were walking from our car to the museum, we met Joel, Annie, Bill, Liz, Ken and Kathy. They had skipped the Dana Thomas tour, going directly to the Lincoln Museum. Since they were now hungry, Cozy Dog on Rt. 66 in Springfield was their destination. They explained this restaurant is the home of the original corn dog. The rest of our group toured the museum the rest of the afternoon.

The Lincoln Museum is absolutely worth the visit. As you first walk in, you enter "The Plaza" which provides access to all the other areas. In "The Plaza" on the left is a cabin representing Lincoln's early years, and on the right is the south portico of the White House. In front of the White House stand figures of the Lincoln family after their arrival in 1861. Of special interest was the temporary exhibit - "Marry Todd Lincoln: First Lady of Controversy". At the Union Theater in the museum, a story was told on Lincoln's life. During the presentation, the audience experiences special effects such as during a battle sequence, the floor shakes from artillery fire as cannon smoke shoots into the theater. This was really neat!

After our busy day, 7 p.m. was lift-off time for the Chesapeake Seafood House. The food, facilities, and staff were excellent. Although there seemed to be some logistical problem in the seating arrangement at the end of the dining room (just kidding)!!!

Back at the hotel, our group enjoyed fellowship for a short time; then proceeded to our rooms to get much needed rest.

On Sunday morning, after another excellent breakfast at the hotel, our group departed Springfield and headed to Bloomington, IL for a tour of the David Davis Mansion with Carolyn Ervin as our tour guide. Davis was a distinguished lawyer, judge, and businessman, and was good friends with Abraham Lincoln. In 1870, his wife, Sarah, wanted a modem house built. In this mansion there is a first floor master bedroom with a walk-in closet, which was very unusual in the older homes. This mansion was beautiful - very light and open. The home has the original furniture and accessories, as the family never threw anything away. Even the original copper hot water heater was found stored. Four generations of the Davis family lived in the house until 1959 when it was donated to the State of Illinois.

Leaving the mansion, we discovered the city of Bloomington has a complicated street pattern! On some streets you have to backtrack and go on a couple times, many V-turns, some right in the middle of the street (just kidding, Len and Irene)!!! Our bird flock finally reunited again on the ramp to I-55 to head north.

Our next stop was brunch at the Country Mansion in Dwight, IL. This historic landmark was built in 1891 and served many purposes until 1977. This was the year it was purchased, remodeled, and reopened by the Ohlendorf family as "The Country Mansion." After a filling and delicious meal, we said our goodbyes and headed home.

Thank you, Len and Irene Vinyard, for arranging this Fall Tour. You put in a lot of time and work planning a trip that was enjoyed by Jim Wilson and neighbor Dwight, Pete and Lisa Ekstrom, Joel Greenberg and Annie Luginbill, Bob and Helen Hoge, Larry Johnson, Pete and MaryLu Kramer, Ken and Kathy Smizinski, Bill and Bonnie Thelen, Dan Tinder and Susan DeSantis, Bill and Liz Werth, and Joe and Sandy Kraatz. The friendships developed on these tours, and the fellowship enjoyed by everyone, makes CTCC a very special group.

Written by: Joe and Sandy Kraatz