Sunday, July 12, 2009

Can You Name This Car?


For the past year, a one-of-a-kind 1960's concept car has been making its way around the car show scene and finally its time for the owner and builder of "Thunderflite" to let it become piece of someone else's collection.

The idea of the Thunderflite came from famous car builder Dean "Dino" Arnold and his late wife Suzie after doodling on a napkin one night after dinner. As the concept developed, Dino called in Don Johnson, who he had worked with on past projects, to do the final concept designs and he would build it.

The work began and the result is a rare, museum quality piece. Who ever the next owner may be he/she will be able to call a piece of history his/hers. The body is extreme custom fabrication with a removed roof, custom fins and double bubbletop.The paint is chrome effects made by the prestigious House of Kolor and put on by Dino. The engine is a chromed 302V8 engine with red metalflake accents and Koolflex hoses. Some more details of the car include: an independent 1994 SHO Thunderbird rear end, custom fiberglass circa 1960 with Autometer St. Rod gauges, dashboard, factory 1960 T-Bird taillights, custom red vinyl seats and much more.

* If you studied the Mystery Photo that appeared on page 3 of the June issue of BIRD-NEWS, [CAN YOU NAME THIS CAR?] a clue - the familiar design of the emblem or the tail lamp treatment - may have suggested Thunderbird---- As you can see, the sleek, futuristic exercise is indeed tagged: Thunderflite.

Spring Tour- 2009

by Marylu Kramer

After a little rainy and cloudy start, the day turned into a beautiful springtime journey that found 13 classic 'Birds - along with 5 retros plus a few assorted others containing 43 participants - winging their way to Galena, Illinois for a fun filled weekend for our Spring Tour, planned by Liz and Bill Werth.

Our lunch spot was the traditional Culver's and everyone ordered one of their Culver's favorites, be it a burger, a salad or the special chunky custard of the day!

Our next stop was at the Apple River Fort in Elizabeth, Illinois. This Fort was the site of an important battle during the Black Hawk War in 1832. The Fort was recently closed because of lack of funds from the State of Illinois and reopened the week we were visiting! Abraham Lincoln and his militia company stayed at the fort just days before the battle. It was a self-guided tour and we needed to stretch our legs after a two-hour drive!

After another hour we approached Galena with beautiful hills and valleys before us - we made quite a statement driving our T-Birds in a caravan through this picturesque landscape. Staying at the northwoods style Stoney Creek Inn put us in the mood for friendship and fun. We had our own room for hospitality, and snacks were provided by our members. Pizzas (11 total) were sponsored by the club, and we spent the evening socializing and being entertained by Mary Ziemba and her magic tricks!

Up early for a quick breakfast provided at the Inn and off to the center of town for a Trolley Tour of Galena. Liz and Bill even made sure we had a special place to park in town as they received special parking passes for us to put in our cars. The 'Birds certainly looked great perched all together! On the trolley, we passed by mansions and general homes and listened intently to the historically and architecturally oriented talk that came with the ride. At one stop, we exited the trolley to visit the oldest house in Galena - that was the Dowling House — it was a primitive dwelling and an old miner's trading post. It had been authentically restored and it is open to view as a monument to one of Galena's early pioneers. We stopped at Galena's largest mansion, the Belvedere House and Gardens, and it too has been restored to its original condition. Many photo ops along the way such as the high school steps, Grant's home and many other civil war personnel. Many lunch spots were available and many of the group stopped off at Dirty Gurt's, a local burger venue with great burgers. We spent the rest of the afternoon touring the many Main Street shops and also did some wine tasting at the local Galena Cellars.

Later on Saturday evening, we caravanned to Dubuque for a sunset cruise on the Mississippi and enjoyed friendship and dinner aboard the American Lady, which is a million dollar yacht. We enjoyed the majestic limestone bluffs that lined the shore.

The Inn offered a quick coffee pickup on Sunday morning before the official brunch at the DeSoto Hotel. The DeSoto is Illinois' oldest operating hotel. It served as campaign headquarters for Ulysses S. Grant. A four-story atrium was the setting for the brunch and we enjoyed traditional breakfast fare. The brunch offered more opportunity for an exchange of friendship and of course, more Thunderbird talk! Afterwards, we all said good bye and drove home tired, but blissful, after a fun packed weekend and still so very proud to be a T-Bird owner!

Thank you to Liz and Bill Werth for putting this trip together.

Attending were: Chad and Kami Woody, Dick Brack, Tom and Judy Bruin, Rudy and Janet Budach, Bob and Marcy Burhop, Pete and Lisa Ekstrom, Gordon Gluff and Mary Ziemba, Joel Greenberg and Annie Luginbill, Len and Mary Keil, Lorry and Karen Kelly, Pete and Marylu Kramer, Ed Levin and Rose Kovalenko, Dan and Dan Mrozek, Dave and Mary Jane Osborne, Jerry and Pat Peterson, Lloyd and Joan Schellin, Ken and Kathy Smizinski, Bill and Bonnie Thelen, Dan Tinder and Susan DeSantis, Len and Irene Vinyard, Bill and Liz Werth and Joe and Madeline Zambon.

Brunch at the Kramers

Thunderbird Brunch/Meeting at the Kramers

After a cold and wet spring, approximately fifty Thunderbird club members gathered at the Kramer's home on June 14th to enjoy the warm, sunny weather that they apparently special ordered for us! This was the largest gathering of Thunderbirds that 1 had seen since the show in Arlington. I think everyone was excited to finally have a nice enough day to get the cars out of the garage and enjoy them. The baby 'Birds quickly filled up the driveway around the Kramer's home and started to spill out into the streets. Apparently, they have a very good relationship with the neighbors, as more 'Birds filled up the driveway across the street. While it was a beautiful sight for all of us to enjoy, quite a few people passing by had to slow down or stop to take it all in!

Once inside, we were greeted by a vast spread of food in the dining room. Marylu worked very hard to provide a wonderful selection and even had it accented on the table by a couple of little pink 'Birds! Some Club members provided additional tasty treats, as they showcased their favorite dishes. For anyone who has been on a T-Bird outing, you know that our club enjoys good food, and this sure did not disappoint. And yes, I'll admit I went back for seconds! Of course, to go along with the food, drinks were served at the bar by our host, Pete.

Pete and Marylu have a beautiful home, great for entertaining our large group. And it was especially welcoming, as I think there was a picture or drawing of one of their cars in every room. (It's nice for my husband to see it's not just me who does that!) People spread out in the kitchen, sunroom, and outside on the porch and terrace. Outside, we realized we were playing "musical chairs", as the group at the table was constantly rotating, as everyone wanted to get a chance to talk with everyone else, some that haven't seen each other for a while. One very nice thing with this group is that no matter how long it has been since you have seen someone, it is like family where you can just pick right up where you left off!

Another typical sight for a T-Bird outing, there was always a large group of people gathered at the garage. I don't know about others, but I'm always on the lookout for ideas on how to fit more cars in our garage. I'm hoping my husband was taking notes!

As promised, Pete offered up pontoon rides on the lake. It was so pretty and peaceful on the lake that it seemed like we were in a remote resort community, not right off of Route 83. Pete has a lot of history on the lake, so he provided a very interesting guided tour. It was very surprising to find out that some of the big. beautiful houses were enclosing the original 800 square foot lake cottages within them!

We thank Marylu and Pete for treating us to such a special day!
Until we all gather again at the next food gala -
Hot Dog Gala & Drive In Movie
July 11, 2009
Coordinated by: Len & Mary Keil

- Kami Woody

MEMBERS ON-THE-SCENE: Dan & Karen Anderson,
Rudy Budach, Bob & Marcy Burhop, Steve Davajon. Bert
& Jane Eisenhour, Pete & Lisa Ekstrom. Gordon Gluft'&
Mary Ziemba, Maryann Graziano & Paul Ureche, Joel
Greenberg & Annie Luginbill, Art & Gail Hascek, Laura
Hascek & Mike Cielinski, Len & Mary Keil, Larry & Karen
Kelly, Joe & Sandy Kraatz, Pete & Marylu Kramer
(HOSTS), Ed Levin & Rose Kovalenko, Mike & Christina
Pavlak. Ron Pavlak, Dave & Marian Pogorski, Lloyd &
Joan Scheliin, Gary & Debbie Smithe. Ken & Kathy
Smizinski, Bill & Bonnie Thelen, Len & Irene Vinyard, Bill
& Liz Werth, Jim Wilson. Tom & Alice Wolfe, Chad &
Kami Woody and Joe & Madeline Zambon.
FOR INQUIRING MINDS: Pete reports that there were
20-two passenger T-Birds, plus 4-Retro 'Birds assembled
"in the neighborhood!" - Ed.