Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gunther Otto Bruggenthies


Gunther Otto Bruggenthies, 80 of Mettawa, IL died Sat., Dec. 11 at Advocate Condell Hospital, Libertyville. He was born Sept. 5, 1930 in Bokum, Germany and had served in the US Army during the Korean Conflict. He was a devoted husband of Judith, nee McKay, for 46 years; the loving father of the late Cary and Jeffrey; the beloved son of the late Otto and Else and will be greatly missed by his dear friend Elizabeth. Visitation will be Wed., Dec. 15 from 4 to 8 p.m. at McMurrough Funeral Chapel 101 Park Place, Libertyville (Rt. 176, 1 blk. East of Milwaukee Ave.) Interment All Saints Cemetery, Des Plaines. Funeral Mass 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 16 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 121 East. Maple, Libertyville, IL.

Funeral info 847-362-2626

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Alden R "Gib" Giberson
Jan. 1, 1926- Oct. 2, 2010

Mr. Alden R. Giberson, age 84 of Newaygo, passed away on October 2, after a lengthy illness. He was born in Detroit, Michigan on January 1,1926 to Edgar and Etta Mae (Thomas) Giberson and is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Donna (Hardacre), son Kurt (Heather) Giberson of Newaygo, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Alden, known to all as "Gib," was a long-time resident of Dearborn, Michigan. He retired from the Ford Motor Company in 1976, where he worked as an automotive designer and manager. Gib was well known for having named the Thunderbird car in the early 1950's and he was a member of the Thunderbird Hall of Fame. He also played an important role in the design of many iconic Ford cars of the 1950-1970's, including the 1967-1971 Mustangs and many of the Thunderbirds.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Classic Thunderbird Club of Chicagoland


Saturday, December 11,2010
Cocktails at 6:30 p.m. - Dinner at 7:30 p.m.

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

Breast of Chicken Marsala
Boneless chicken breast sauteed with mushroom and marsala wine
Roasf Sirloin of Beef
Tender slices of sirloin topped with mushroom bordelaise sauce.
Orange Roughy
Topped with a citrus buerre blanc sauce

All entries are $27 and are served with soup, salad, potato, vegetables,
dessert and coffee or hot tea.


Please send checks with entree choices by November 30 to:
Ken Smizinski
157 Oaksbury Lane
Palatine, IL 60067

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



Sometimes the weather does cooperate with our tours, but Mother Nature really outdid herself on Sunday, Oct. 17th as 28 T-Bird members met at the Lake Forest Oasis for a tour to Historic Cedarburg, Wis. After a light snack we were on the road arriving in Cedarburg just before noon. A group of 21 hungry T-Birders dexcended on the almost empty Morton's for "LUNCH"; the "appetizer" - in a glass- was enjoyed by almost everyone before lunch was served. The Hasceks and Eisenhours discovered the Anvil Pub & Grille that up until 3 years ago was a working blacksmith shop. Ohters went right to shopping. Annie Luginbill was seen hitting all the bead and craft shops. Gail and Laura Hascek & Mike and Mary Keil purchased tickets for the wine tour and tasting. They discovered the building was built before the Civil War and was a working woolen mill until the 1960's. The introduction of synthetic fabrics and rising costs closed the doors. In the 1970s the building was sold and that is when it became a winery. The thick stone basement walls keep temperatures perfect for storing wine.

Photo caption- The Anvil Pub & Grille- Modern Fare in an olde world setting

After tasting ALL the wines in the store, someone had to back up his SUV to pick up the purchases. The Morton group then descended upon the shops. While the ladies enjoyed the chocolate. coffee, craft, kitchen and antique shops, the men relaxed on the benches along Main Street, solving world problems and enjoying the balmy weather. Cedarburg and Morton's are usually very crowded in the fall. This year we found a minimal amount of people, so we are sure that the businesses appreciated our group's visit.

There were 8 Classic 'Birds, 3 Retro 'Birds, a '46 Ford Street Rod (Balogh's) and 2 other vehicles.

Attendees were: Bill & Jane Balogh, Bert & Jane Eisenhour, Joel Greenberg & Annie Luginbill, Gail Hascek, Laura Hascek & Mike Cielinski, Bob & Helen Hoge, Larry Johnson & Sue L'Hommedieu, Larry & Karen Kelly. Len & Mary Keil. Pete & Marylu Kramer, Dan Mrozek & Judy Butler, Doug & Soon Yee Rogers, Ken Smizinski, Bill & Bonnie Thelen, Len & Irene Vinyard.

By: Mary Keil

Washington Island Tour Report


After a delicious breakfast at Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay, five "Little 'Birds' departed for Northport Pier to catch the ferry that would take us to Washington Island. Before boarding, a couple of guys decided that they needed a snack for the long six-mile trek across Lake Michigan. The air was brisk, but we enjoyed a pleasant ride to Washington Island. Once there, we met Janet who would be our tour guide on the Cherry Train. She didn't know how lively nine T-Birders could be! Our first unscheduled stop on our adventure was the Red Cup. Their wide assortment of delicious coffee, teas, and hot chocolate was a hit for all on the Cherry Train. Tom graciously treated Janet to her favorite cup of coffee.

We began our tour at the Double K-W Ostrich & Exotic Animal Farm. We were given information about the characteristics of an ostrich and all had a chance to hold an ostrich egg that was quite large. Animals on the premises included a camel, a bear, a potbelly pig, and some other animals as well. All visitors have a chance to purchase an ostrich stick (resembles beef jerky) as they leave.

Our next stop was the Schoolhouse Beach with its distinctive all-white limestone rocks that are totally smooth. One can enjoy this unique beach along with the crystal clear water of Lake Michigan. Just don't try to remove these precious stones-a fine of $250 for each rock taken!
Our journey continued on to the Washington Island Farm Museum that was founded for the enjoyment and education about farm life on the island. Some of the original six buildings include a log cabin, blacksmith shop, weaving shed, and sawmill. Very old farm machinery and primitive hand tools were displayed in an old barn. The farm sits on three acres and there are also some live animals on the premises. The final stop on our tour was visiting Stavkirke (Church of Staves). It was designed to look like one built in Borgund, Norway in 1150. This is a very unique church of Scandinavian heritage that was built and constructed by craftsmen under the guidance of the Trinity Lutheran Church. Services are held here each Wednesday evening during the summer. The prayer path, or walkway, to the church consisted of all wooden planks.
We were running a few minutes behind our scheduled time to return, but the ferry waited for the Cherry Train to return to the port before departing. Jokingly, they told us "It was time for us to leave!"

Those on the tour were Len and Mary Keil, Tom and Judy Bruin, Ken and Kathy Smizinski, Bob Sroka and Lloyd and Joan Schellin.

Joan Schellin


T-Birds in Door County - CTCC FALL TOUR

A bright, almost fall day greeted 15 baby 'Birds, 1 retro 'Bird and 2 serviceable vehicles for our Fall Tour: Destination Door County. MaryLu and Pete Kramer met 14 cars at the Lake Forest Oasis. Four of our flock would meet the caravan as it passed Highway 5O.

Our information packets contained a spiral binder with a really clever cover and a bookmark hand crafted by MaryLu. I hope Bert is able to include the cover in the Bird-News. The Kramers certainly outdid themselves!

We drove to Manitowoc for our obligatory Culver's lunch and then on to Green Bay and our tour of Lambeau Field. As we were escorted through the stadium, a very nice gentleman told of the history and founding of the Packers and explained their unique operation as the only NFL team without a single owner. We sat in one of the skyboxes as we learned more of the Packers and viewed the field from the prestigious space. Did you know their field is "sewn" together? Well, it is. Ask any of us and we'll be happy to pass along some Packer facts interesting even to Bears fans. We also got to enter the field through the tunnel the Packers use, complete with game day audio to enhance our experience and see the stadium from the end zone. The Lambeau Leap isn't as high as it looks on TV but, alas, visitors are forbidden from trying it as some knucklehead injured himself during a failed attempt. (Probably a Packer fan.)

Our drive was sunny and uneventful until we arrived at the unique garden shop, The Flying Pig. The power brakes on the Ekstoms' '56 had an issue. Ken analyzed the situation and disconnected the errant brake.

After arriving and checking in at The Landmark Resort, Ken and several others went to work on Pete's car while Larry and I went to get supplies for the hospitality suite. We unloaded our purchases with the help of a luggage cart. As Larry parked our car, a cry came from the group of mechanics: "GET BEER!"

In the hospitality suite we sipped wine, beer and other beverages, snacked and thought 'how are we going to fix Pete's car?' Ah hah! Bob Wenderski and Gary Smithe were driving Gary's retro 'Bird to meet Sue, Debbie and the group the next day. Sue called Bob, Ken explained the situation to Bob and they were able to find the needed parts and deliver them late Saturday afternoon. Sunday morning, Ken and his able assistants went to work. Problem solved.

Saturday we caravanned to Bailey's Harbor, on the Lake Michigan side, to enjoy their Autumn Fest and antique car show. As we viewed the car show, we all realized something was missing: cars. About ten of us decided to enter the show. We looked like the Cavalry as the baby 'Birds swooped into the lot to add a little needed pizzazz. Joel Greenberg and Annie Luginbill took home a second place trophy! The rest of the day was spent individually driving Door County, gathering answers to questions for our poker run. That evening, we had a delightful dinner at The English Inn, then back to the hospitality suite.

Sunday morning, most of the group drove to Sister Bay for breakfast at Al Johnson's, famous for their Swedish pancakes and goats on the roof. We were all on our own to tour the towns as we wished. Some shopped, some went to the pro shop of Bay Bridge golf course to watch the Bears game (the closet or closed Bears Fan Club), and some took the ferry to Washington Island. I believe it's just a rumor that Washington Island has started to pre-screen its tourists and has no relation to our group's visit.

Sunday evening two trolleys picked up our group for our Tour of Haunted Door County. We went into a haunted house and visited other sites where sightings and paranormal activity have occurred. The only "strange" occurrence experienced was a bunch of grown people singing "Ghost Busters". However, the next day, skeptic Larry Kelly discovered the date on his watch had moved forward two days and the Kramers viewed a photo on their camera that wasn't the same as when they snapped it. (Insert eerie music here.)

Monday morning sunshine escorted us to Villagios Restaurant for a private omelet breakfast. Pete Kramer announced the awards for the poker run. The Vinyard's came in third, new members Jerry and Doreen Michna took second and the winning hand was dealt to Dan Mrozek and Judy Butler. After our group photo, we headed south after a truly fun weekend. Thank you , Pete and MaryLu for showing us Door County!

- Karen Kelly

ON-THE-SCENE: Tom & Judy Bruin, Pete & Lisa Ekstrom, Gordon Gluff & Mary Ziemba, Maryann Graziano & Paul Ureche, Joel Greenberg & Annie Luginbill, Len & Mary Keil, Larry & Karen Kelly, Sandy & Joe Kraatz, Pete & MaryLu Kramer, Jerry & Doreen Michna, Dan Mrozek & Judy Butler, Jerry & Pat Peterson, Joan & Lloyd Schellin, Gary & Debbie Smithe, Ken & Kathy Smizinski, Bob Sroka, Dan Tinder & Susan DeSantis, Len & Irene Vinyard, Bob & Sue Wenderski. »

Side Note- The flock of T-Birds that entered the car show at Bailey's Harbor did, as Karen accurately describes, add a new dynamic to the show. The organizers of the show decided to award one of the 'Birds a trophy in appreciation of the spontaneous participation. All the registration forms were put into a hat (all deserving of an award) and Joel and Annie's car was drawn. It is on behalf of all the birds that participated that we will be the care taker for this trophy.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


THE FIRST FULL-DAY OF FALL PRODUCED A TANTALIZING temperature of 89 degrees! Reality set in very soon thereafter, dashing any hopes for the 80's.

The CTCC Calendar provides a realistic view, as we prepare for the last road-trip of the year. Len and Mary Keil have planned a tour to Cedarburg, Wl on Sunday, Oct. 17m. [See Schedule on page 3.]

Early reports on the Fall Tour indicate that good weather prevailed! Look for the story by Karen Kelly in the November issue.

A delegation of CTCC members greeted the members of the Puget Sound Early Birds upon their arrival here on September 23rd. Coverage of the event appears on page 9, the highlight being our dinner at the fabled Del Rhea's Chicken Basket on the old Rte. 66!

Liz Werth has recently encountered the dreaded computer CRASH, so she is in urgent need of any photos you have from 2010 Club events/Tours, etc. These form the year-in-Review Program content for the Nov. meeting. Contact Liz at: CTCCpictures@aol.com.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Ode to Joe...

My Ode to Joe...I reminisce about Joe...my friend, you will be missed!

Joe and Madeline Zambon joined our Regional V-8 Club in the early 1990's. At that time Joe's V-8 was a 1947 Deluxe Coupe and it was his driver. As they became more active in the club...Joe was elected the club treasurer, and on to the V-8 Club President. Funny thing about Joe...it seemed that there was a good woman, Madeline (his Gracie), behind him for everything. Madeline would pre-write receipts for yearly dues and other club activities when he was the treas­urer; when he was the President, Madeline wrote out the agenda for each monthly meeting. What a lucky guy, she was always "working" for Joe.
Photo Caption: Joe's Crestliner on the left and Joe and Madeline on the right.

In 1993, after a club drive out we were invited to the Zambon's for lunch and a tour of Joe's collections. Wow, what a basement, the train collection and die-cast cars, in the garage: 2 award winning T-Birds, the V-8 and a Galaxie...At that time, I asked Madeline what Joe did for a living and she calmly answered, " He bags groceries at Jewel's." Another wow...maybe that's what I should be doing.. ..hmmmm.

Back to the V-8 Club...after Joe's years as the V-8 Club President, they hosted trips to Starved Rock State Park; in Dubuque, Iowa to a Basilica and the "Field of Dreams" to mention a few. On every trip there was a memorable moment. On the trip to Iowa we stopped at the Ertl Toy Outlet Store; Joe bought 43 model cars, so many that he told Madeline she would have to put her clothes and luggage in the back seat on the way home. Only Madeline could say "Oh Joe" in a cer­tain tone of voice. A day when Joe was not told "Oh Joe" must have been rare. They hosted the main course of the progressive dinner, the club auction and other activities. They were always willing to help; and Madeline was the catalyst for Joe.

Oh my goodness, the funny stories. From his early years, when his mother asked him to get the yeast starter dough from the bakery on his way home from school. Well, I'm sure many of you know that Joe was going to save some time and got the dough at lunch time and put it in his locker, then it started to rise and dough was coming out of the vents of his locker by the end of the day. Just his descriptions made all of us laugh. He was mischievous also; his Dad told him he could not buy a motorcycle; well, he bought a Cushman. Dad found out and Joe never saw the bike again; he told us he thought it went into the Chicago River. Just part of growing up as a 'Southsider.'

The acquisition of a Crestliner took years. Joe looked at Crestliners at the meet in Omaha over 10 years ago. A group of us went to an Eastern National Meet in Vernon, New York. Joe was showerd and all 'cleaned' up for the evening after a hot day touring in his 47' Coupe. We could see him from the window in the hotel room sliding underneath a green Crestliner that was for sale. Of course, Madeline was not happy and when she was really upset "Oh, Joe" was not what was said...like any true Catholic girl then it is the full name with a certain inflection "Oh Joseph you got grease all over your good shorts and why are you looking at an ugly car anyway."

When Joe found the "51 Crestliner (2 tone brown) I rode with him to pick it up in Grand Rapids, MI. I asked him what Madeline thought about him buying what she called an 'ugly 'car. Joe said "she is still in Arizona visiting with her girlfriend and I haven't told her yet". I told him he shouldn't go home. That old car ended up being his last old car pride and joy.

Joe loved food and desserts, particularly chocolate. There was always room for ice cream. Back in the days of monthly board meetings; I loved going to Joe and Madeline's. The Schwann man route included a stop at the Zambon's and oh the delectable items we had for 'coffee' and refreshments.
Speaking of food, we had the privilege one year of going to the Zambon's during the holidays and having some of the homemade family tradition ravioli made by Madeline et al with loving care. His family was important,;they went on extended family vacations every year; Madeline prepared 'caper' charts so she did not become the family maid, only Joe's; whether it was to a cottage, their place at Lake of the Ozarks or snowmobiling. Family was always included. The more the merrier.

Joe did not let minor things bother him; we were in downtown Rochester, NY (a cul­turally diverse area) after touring George Eastman's Mansion (Eastman Kodak); it was 95 plus degrees and Joe's horn started blowing non-stop on the '51 Crestliner. When he got a red light he hopped out and disconnected the horn. He drew a number of stares from the other autos. We laughed again but to Joe it was just another day.

Joe had always told us for years that if it weren't for Madeline he would not be here. She raised his kids, since he worked so many hours in the early years. She woke him up mul­tiple times; since he was so tired he would fall back asleep she made coffee in the middle of the night for Joe, his brother Dave and Dad to have before they went to work. She was always there to help. The last couple of years, she was the rock, encouragement, help, nutritional and every other need that a person could have. Madeline was loved by Joe unconditionally and it was reciprocated.

So "oh Joe' my story has come to an end, I will miss you, Joe my friend, as you have left us to join some of the other V-8 board members such as Art Pennington, Leonard Sizemore, Rich Isaacson , Bob Ensign and Cliff Guernsey. A group of guys where the story never ends.
Jim Brown
For Presidents Corner
August, 2010
This article is reprinted from The Northwest Indiana V-8 Times.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Day At The Hangar

The 15th Annual Day at the Hangar could not have
had better weather. CTCC member Ken
Kresmery was the consummate host as he cooked
and handed out delicious corn on the cob while
also grilling yummy brats. Bob Hoge and Jerry
Peterson volunteered their skills as cookers during
the afternoon. The tables of food brought by
guests groaned under the weight of all of the
various salads, fruits and desserts. Jim Elijah's
chocolate cherry cake was gone in a flash as were
many of the other tasty dishes. Many CTCCers
drove one or more of Ken's classic cars around
the airport property and several people were
treated to Cessna rides. Ken said that it was the
largest gathering since he began hosting the affair.

CTCC accounted for 41 of the several hundred in
attendance. Those were Bill & Jane Balogh, Rudy
& Janet Budach, Jim Elijah, Gordon Gluff, Art
Hahl, Bob & Helen Hoge (with guests Jeff & Lori
Orland), Len & Mary Keil (with guests Toni, Allie &
Mike Salerno), Ken Kresmery (our Host), Dan
Mrozek & Judy Butler, Michelle Murphy, Jerry &
Pat Peterson (with guest Barb Hawes), Don
Roerkohl, Joe & Eileen Sant, Lloyd & Joan
Schellin, Jim Wilson and Bill & Liz Werth (with
their whole family - 4 adults & 6 kids). We had 7
little 'Birds which drew lots of attention, but were
not driven around the property except by their
owners. We thank Ken for a wonderful day full of
sunshine, friends, rides, corn, brats, drinks and
soft ice cream.
- Liz Werth

President's Report- Sept. 2010

In a recent issue of BIRD-NEWS, we touched on the Spring and Fall Tours, hoping that a CTCC member would step up and volun­teer to organize a tour for 2011.

As. fate would have it, while enjoying a cool drink with Tom Bruin - in the hospitality room at the recent International Convention - the topic of organizing Club events came up. After a long conversation, Tom agreed to organize the Spring Tour for 2011.

The Tour is now official, Tom and Judy have settled on a tour to the "Art Coast" of Lake Michigan, in the South Haven - Saugatuck area.The dates are: May 20, 21, 22 of 2011.
More information will appear in future issues.

Thanks to Tom and Judy for their efforts. Is anyone ready to design the Fall Tour for 2011?

Our one-day trip to Cedarburg Wisconsin is scheduled for Sunday, October 17th. Cedarburg is similar to Long Grove, antiques, crafts, etc. See the October issue of BIRD-NEWS for complete information on this last road trip on our 2010 schedule.
- Len Keil



THE HALE AND HEARTY TURNED OUT TO enjoy still another Club Picnic in the bucolic setting of Pratt's Wayne Woods in Wayne.

Undaunted by early morning overcast skies - and even rain in some areas - the brave and the restless turned the ignition keys in their classic, Retro, and Square 'Birds. The faithful, with few exceptions, chose to risk the chance of rain, providing everyone a view of the colorful line-up of cars that define Ford's finest styling!

The Burhops, Werths and Keils were on the scene early, in order to arrange - and re-arrange - the (heavy) Pavilion picnic tables. This group also set-up the food trays as the dishes-to-pass began to arrive. Of course, Bob and Marcy Burhop had long-since set-up a number of Red-on-White CTCC road signs directing members to the picnic site.

Our President, Len Keil, introduced our newer members who were in attendance: Lee and Gina Bakakos, Jerry and Doreen Michna (former members) and Joe and Eileen Sant. Also, it was good to see the Ficenecs, long time members, who make a special effort to come to our annual picnics.
Liquid refreshments were the order-of-the-day as the temperature (again) reached into the lower 90s.

With the food table neatly set with an abundance of side dishes, we awaited the arrival of our traditional entree - Pop-eye's Chicken! Ken and Len made the "pick-up" run, returning with tasty morsels at about 12:30 p.m. It was only a matter of a few minutes before the food lines formed, and the trays of chicken vanished almost as quickly as they had arrived! The wide assortment of the sides made the adventure-in-good-eating a 5-Star event!

On a personal note, a special Thanks to Mary Keil, who made 3-recipies of Paul Mount's 'prize-winning' cake!

Not surprisingly, our Lady-of~the~Beads -Annie Luginbill, presented each of the ladies with one of her colorful, custom-made necklaces.

Alice and Tom 'Lefty' Wolfe arrived, albeit a bit late, and we learned that Tom is in therapy as he recovers from recent rotator cuff surgery. We wish him a speedy recovery!

There was ample time for the usual T-Bird talk and engine compartment 'inspec­tions,' while a few members engaged in a Baggo Toss game that was provided by the Werths.

Looking skyward, some of our members observed circling aircraft from the Chicago Air and Water Show.

Thanks to Bob Sroka and Lee Bakakos, Matt Avery visited us to photograph the T-Bird lineup, with the owners standing alongside their 'Birds. Matt will incorpor­ate photos with his write-up on the CTCC event that will appear in the August 29th issue of the Daily Herald.

Finally, the clean-up crews swung into action, leaving the Pavilion in better con­dition than when we arrived! Thanks to the Keils, Werths and Burhops for their important contributions to the event's success.

Members who braved the summer heat: Lee & Gina Bakakos, Tom Bruin, Rudy & Janet Budach, Bob & Marcy Burhop, Bert & Jane Eisenhour, Pete & Lisa Ekstrom, Ed, Marlene & Mickey Ficenec, Joel Greenberg & Annie Luginbill, Bob & Helen Hoge, Larry Johnson & Sue Hommedieu, Len & Mary Keil, Larry Kelly, Joe & Sandy Kraatz, Marylu Kramer, Bud & Cindy Kryszak, Jerry & Doreen Michna, Mike & Christina Pavlak, Jerry and Pat Peterson, Doug Rogers, Joe & Eileen Sant, Ken & Kathy Smizinski, Bob Sroka, Bill & Liz Werth, Jim Wilson, Tom & Alice Wolfe and Kami Woody.
- Editor

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Notice- Door County Tour Participants

Meet at Lake Forest Oasis- Departure time- 8:45

Packets with itinerary information will be distributed that morning.

Please- Full Tanks of Gas;

Radio phones- if you have extras, please bring them to share.

Our first rest stop- Wisconsin exit 100

We are looking forward to a great weekend.
Call Pete Kramer with concerns:
Cell- 630-606-2416
Home- 630-986-1277

Saturday, August 14, 2010

One Day Tour- Crest Hill, IL.

An Ol' Fashioned Sunday Afternoon

The weather was so dismal that nobody brought out a classic T-Bird. But as always, it didn't dampen our spirits or appetites. We met at the Schweppes Restaurant Supply store, then we proceeded to the St. Joe's parking lot to see where the festivities would be held later on. We arrived early at Merichka's. The restaurant has been family owned since 1933. They are famous for their Poor-boy sandwiches, but the salads, beverages and other delights were also mighty fine. After lunch, filled with great food and fun conversation, we proceeded to the St. Joe's picnic ground for an old fashioned church picnic.

It was a day filled with live polka music, dancing, raffle booths, food and beverages. It was Len Vinyard's lucky day; he couldn't lose. He even tried sharing his hair dressing tips with the clergy!

We all turned out to be winners that day, and we all had a great time. Those members who attended are as follows: Rudy & Janet Budach, Bert & Jane Eisenhour, Maryann Graziano & Paul Ureche and guests, Joel Greenberg & Annie Luginbill, Bob & Helen Hoge, Len & Mary Keil, Dan Mrozek & Judy Butler, Ken & Kathy Smizinski, Len & Irene Vinyard, and Jim Wilson and son, James.

Thanks to Bob and Helen Hoge for planning such a fun-filled day. What started out as a gloomy, rainy day turned out in fact to be a day filled with wonderful food, music and dancing.
- Kathy Smizinski

Hot Dog & Brats- 2010


Birds-of-a-feather - Something Old. Something New?

The 4th Annual 'Keil Gala' attract­ed a good number of T-Birds, the surprising thing being that there were almost as many Retro 'Birds as the originals!

While the temperature soared to an of­ficial 93 degrees, it became apparent that the comfort offered by an Air-Conditioned ride won out over classic!

Traveling north with Bob and Helen Hoge (in their A/C equipped wheels), we were able to endure the oppressive heat with the top down in our 'rental' '02 'Bird. Our routing took us through some scenic back roads, before we returned to Rte. 31 in Richmond, IL (Just north of Johnsburg).

As to be expected, shade became a priority for everyone; Len and Mary had even set up a small tent in their driveway. Fortunately, the 2-story home is positioned to block the afternoon sun, providing a measure of relief from the intense heat. The demand for liquid refreshments bore testimony to the effects of the very warm summer day!

It was not long before the aroma of charcoal fires indicated the grilling of hot dogs and brats! Grill Master, Paul Ureche, soon had the first batch of dogs ready for consumption by the hungry members. A wide array of tasty side dishes completed the feast that was enjoyed by one and all.
Later on, it was fitting that we paused to offer a toast in memory of Joe Zambon. It is interesting to note that the toast was made with .... Thunderbird wine! (I'm certain that Joe would have given us a smile of approval.)

Although the Driveway Movie (American Graffiti) had been scheduled as an added attraction to this year's event, it became obvious that most everyone opted to call it a day - following dessert and much more T-Bird talk, so the film was not shown.

Our thanks to Len and Mary Keil for host­ing still another most enjoyable gathering,
resplendent with good food, T-Bird camaraderie, and an interesting mix of
Ford products! - Editor

The following members were on-the-scene:
Tom Bruin, Steve Davajon, Bert & Jane Eisenhour, Pete & Lisa Ekstrom. Jim Elijah, Maryann Graziano & Paul Ureche, Joel Greenberg & Annie Luginbill, Art Hahl, Bob & Helen Hoge, Len & Mary Keil, Joe & Sandy Kraatz, Pete & Marylu Kramer, Jerry & Pat Peterson, Doug & Soon Rogers, Bob Sroka, Bill & Bonnie Thelen, Len & Irene Vinyard, Tom & Alice Wolfe and Kami Woody.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Joseph Zambon


Joseph Zambon
Sept. 8, 1939- July 14, 2010

It is with sadness and a deep sense
of personal loss that we record the
passing of longtime CTCC
member, Joe Zambon.

Joe and Madeline joined CTCC in
early March of 1996 and they
became enthusiastic and active
members. Being the owners of two
1957 Thunderbirds, a Torch Red
and a Starmist Blue, the Zambons
were responsible for setting up our
photo shoot with the Thunderbird
flight team at the Gary Airport! Joe's
interests also encompassed model
railroading and snowmobiling.
Most recently, Joe drove his Red
'57 to the Tech-Session in April.
In spite of his illness, Joe's spirits
never failed to inspire those of us
who knew him.

CTCC extends its condolences to
Madeline and the Zambon family.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

2010 Picnic

Classic Thunderbird Club of Chicagoland
(For CTCC member, spouse/significant other and minor children)

Date: AUGUST 14, 2010 Time: 1 1:00 am

Pratt's Wayne Woods Forest Preserve
The preserve is located in Wayne, IL in Northwest DuPage County
west of Route 59, one mile north of Army Trail Road on Powis Road.
Follow the signs to the CTCC Thunderbird parking area.
For maps and information visit the website http://www.dupageforest.com/PRESERVES/prattswayne.html

What to Bring
A dish to share (see below*) & serving utensil
Lawn chairs for sitting outside the pavilion
Fishing poles (see requirements in Bird News)
Sun Screen
Lawn game (volleyball, badminton, frisbee, etc.)

What NOT to Bring
Alcohol of any kind
Swimming gear (there is no swimming)
Bad weather

R. S. V. P. by Monday, August 9th
Call Jane Eisenhour (630-584-8383) * Tell her which dish you will bring to share - a side dish, a salad or a dessert

Sunday, August 1, 2010



The following article is reprinted from the July-August issue of the Early Bird. It is one of the best explanations and descriptions on how to interpret the Data Plate information.

Written by Jim Schmidt (1969). Revised and updated by George Barlow, Dave Tulowitzky, John Sailors, John Smith, Frank Stubbs and Gil Baumgartner (2010)

Whether you own or are looking for a classic Thunderbird, so long as you are planning to restore it you will most likely want to know how to tell what it was like when it was new. If you are undecided on the color, or have a specific color in mind, remember that it is to your advantage to adhere to the factory body and interior colors when you restore. Cars restored to original condition are generally worth more and will appeal to more prospective buyers when you decide to sell. Also, factory colors are a MUST for Original Class in Concours judging.

Photo Caption: Top- large Data Plate, Bottom- Small Data Plate.

Clicking on photo will enlarge it so you can read the text.

This article provides a ready reference on all data important to the heritage of the classic Thunderbird. It documents what engine and which colors were original for a specific car. It explains what the production code means, and probably in what area your car was first sold.

Please take the time to relate this article to your own car so you may have the pleasure of discovering something new about something "old".

Patent data plates are located on the firewall of the engine compartment near the heater duct. There were two basic styles used between 1955 and 1957 models. The large data plates were used on all 1955/56 Thunderbirds and 1957 models until mid-April. The small data plate was used on 1957 models until the end of productions of the 1957 Thunderbirds, Dec. 13, 1957. The small data plates starting in April 1957 did not show the destination code or scheduled Item number. On the smaller data plates the transmission type and the rear axle ratio were shown following the date code.

Large Data Plate used on all 1955/56 Thunderbirds and 1957 models until mid-April 1957. (Top Plate in photo)

Small Data Plate was phased in during the week of April 15 to April 19, 1957. (Bottom Plate in photo)

The first letter in the serial number denotes the engine size, as per the following chart.:












3-Spd Manual
















3-Spd Manual
















3-Spd Manual





Fordo or O/D












In January of 1957, 15 Thunderbirds were produced with supercharged engines. They were built to fulfill a requirement to have supercharged engines available to the public in order for this type of engine to be used at the 1957 NASCAR Speed Trials at Daytona Beach, FL. The data plate date code on these models was stamped A25 (Jan. 25, 1957). The invoice release dates were January 29, 1957. These Thunderbirds have since been referred to as D/F models or Phase One supercharged models because the F model supercharged Thunderbirds were not available until June of 1957. The VIN numbers of the D/F models are well documented by original invoices. The invoices for the D/F Phase One Thunderbirds show "SUPERCHARGED ENG STD TRAN $340.00"

It is estimated that a few hundred Thunderbirds were shipped to Mexico for final assembly in a Ford plant located in that country. The data plates on these vehicles almost always contained the letters "MEX" in their VIN. The early style data plates were used however, character fonts and stampings on the plate differed greatly in appearance from the Dearborn produced Thunderbirds.

A few invoices for the 1957 E models built late on the 1958 assembly line show no charge for E equipment.

The second item is a numeral denoting the model
year: 5 = 1955, 6 = 1956, 7 = 1957.

The third item is always the letter "F", indicating that the car (all two-passenger Thunderbirds) was assembled at the Dearborn (River Rouge) Plant.

The fourth item is always the letter "H", denoting the body style, i.e., Thunderbird.

The serial numbers always begin at 100001 each model year at each separate assembly plant. Thus, your Thunderbird serial number shows the total number of cars, Thunderbirds as well as passenger cars, assembled at the Dearborn Plant from the start of the model year until your car was built-minus 100,000.

1955 production started September 9, 1954 and ended September 16, 1955, at serial number 260,557.

1956 production started October 17, 1955 and ended August 17, 1956. The first 1956 Thunderbird was 102,661 and the last 395,516.

1957 production started September 14, 1956 and was continued into the 1958 model year. The assembly line was shut down from Sept 27, 1957 until October 14, 1957 for conversion to the 1958 model production. The 1957 Thun­derbird was then continued until the last 1957 Thunder-bird was built Dec. 13, 1957. The first 1957 Thunderbird was 100,010 and the last 395,813. Even though those later Birds were produced alongside 1958 Fords in the same plant, they retained their serial number integrity as if they had been produced in the 1957 Ford model year.

The lower line of data plate reveals the physical ap­pearance of the car when it was delivered.

The first item is the Body Type. All 1955 and 1956 models were coded "40A", while all 1957 Thunderbirds were coded 40.

Next is the Color code. The 1955 models had one color code letter indicating the color of the body as well as the hard top. Two tone colors (body & top) were not of­fered in 1955. Starting in 1956 the first few cars had a sin­gle color code letter indicating that the body as well as the top was the same color. Early production 1956 models with a top color different from the body color had the number 1 or 2 following the body color. Starting in Nov., 1955 the color code for 1956 models contained two letters. The two letter color code was used until the end of production of the 1957 models. If the top was the same color as the body the two letters would be the same on all 1956/57 models.


Following are the standard factory color codes:




Raven Black


Snowshoe White


Torch Red


Thunderbird Blue


Goldenrod Yellow



Raven Black


Colonial White


Buckskin Tan


Fiesta Red


Peacock Blue


Goldenglow yellow


Navajo Gray


Sunset Coral


Thunderbird Green


Thunderbird Gray



Raven Black


Colonial White


Starmist Blue


Willow Green


Gunmetal Gray


Thunderbird Bronze


Flame Red


Dusk Rose


Inca Gold


Coral Sand


Gunmetal Gray Replaced N code Mav 1 957

1958 Colors added or substituted when 1957 T-Birds were built alongside 1958 Fords.



Sun Gold


Torch Red


Azure Blue


Seaspray Green

The next item is the Trim code, and is expressed with
one letter on 1955 Models during most of the 1955 produc­tion year by July, 1955 most 1955 models interior codes had an X prefix. The X was used until the end of produc­tion of the 1957 models.





Black and White XA starting July 1955


Red and White XB starting July 1955


Turquoise and White XC starting July 1955


Black and Yellow XD starting July 1 955

1956 Thunderbird


Black and White Vinyl


Red and White Vinyl


Dark Peacock and White Vinyl


Green and White Vinyl


Brown and White Vinyl

1957 Thunderbird


Pleated Raven Vinyl & Pleated Colonial Vinyl


Pleated Flame Vinyl


Pleated Bronze Vinyl


Pleated Colonial Vinyl


Pleated Dresden Vinyl & Pleated Starmist Vinyl


Pleated Cumberland & Pleated Willow Vinyl

Some late 1957 Thunderbirds built on the 1958 assembly line had a number 6 or 7 between the exterior and interior color codes. Most had a 6.

Example: EE 6 XH. A
build sheet was found by Frank Stubbs with a code TT (Top Type) 7. The TT code does not appear on data plates or invoices. Additional research by Frank reveals that the Thunderbirds with a known origi­nal top as delivered from the factory with a code 6 had a porthole top. If the code was 7 it was originally delivered with a non porthole top. The number 7 has not been found on many Thunderbirds. If your Thunderbird has a 7 after the color code please send as much information about your car as possible to David Tulowitzky (address listed on the last page). Please state the type of top and if it is known to be factory original.

In all but 1957 models built after April 1957 (some­where between April 15th and 19th the plate was rede­signed and made smaller), the last item is the Production Code.

In all cases the first entry in the Production Code is the date. It is expressed as either one or two numbers, in­dicating the scheduled production day, preceding a letter (which denotes the month).














































Take the 1956 example: (13B SD155), which decodes February 13, 1956.

The W, X, Y and Z were used to denote that the late 1957 models were being produced beyond the normal 12 month model year and are only seen on the smaller data plates. One must remember that these codes were used dur­ing the calendar year 1957 only. To decide which calendar year your car was produced, refer to information explain­ing serial numbers.

Following the month of year code will be the sales dis­trict code where the vehicle was scheduled to be shipped. Sales district codes were not used on 1955 models until approximately Nov. 1, 1954. Sales district codes were let­ters until the 1957 model production started Sept. 1956. Starting with the first 1957 models, numbers were used un­til April 1957 when the sales district codes were dropped. The data plate was redesigned, made smaller and phased in between April 15 and April 19, 1957.

The scheduled item number followed the sales district code until the redesign of the data plate in April 1957. The smaller data plate then carried the transmission and rear axle codes.


The District Codes (showing numerals and letters, although both were never used together) were as follows:

11 /SD





New York



Pittsburg Newark





23/DI 24/KJ

Philadelphia Jacksonville



26/DC 31/CI

Washington DC Cincinnati





34/NP 35/FX 36/LX and LU

Indianapolis Lansing


41/CX 42/RG






Twin Cities






Des Moines

53/KS 54/NB

Kansas City










P5FH 100001


P6FH 102661


D7FH 100010


P5FH 260557






(T-Birds) 16,155


(T-Birds) 15,631


(T-Birds) 2 1,3

(District Codes continued from previous page)

55/SL Saint Louis

61/DP Dallas

62/SU Houston

63/GB Memphis

64/NR New Orleans

65/KL Oklahoma City

71/LP Los Angeles

72/SK San Jose

73/SC Salt Lake City

74/SE Seattle

82/EX FMC Export NJ

84/HO FMC Transportation and
Equipment Department

The last set of numbers with the exception of 1957 models produced after April 19, 1957 is the scheduled Thunderbird to be shipped to the sales district code indi­cated on the data plate.

Example: Sales District - Sales District LP (Los An­geles for 1955/56 models). If the number was 521 it was the 521st Thunderbird shipped to that district. If the num­ber exceeded 999 the second letter was dropped from the district code and it would read L 1000 and on. In 1957 numbers were used for district codes. Example: 71 (Los Angeles) If the number was 0521 it would have been the 521st Thunderbird shipped to that district. If the number exceeded 999 the district code remained 71 and 1000 and beyond would follow the district code.

The last entry after the sales district number on most 1957 models the letter P appeared. This is believed to in­dicate that the car was regular production and not special ordered for an individual.

On 1957 models after April 19th 1957, in lieu of a production code, there is a code for transmission type and axle ratio:


Shows on late 1957 type Data Plates only




Axle Ratio


3 spd Manual


3.10to 1




3.56 to 1




3. 70 to 1

The totals above include "KD" or knock down units prepared at the Dearborn assembly plant for shipment to Mexico for assembly.

Additional information

Beginning with serial number P5FH100011 produc­tion sequence codes (or scheduled item numbers may ap­pear as S-XXXX. This continued through October 1954.

From November 1, 1954 through July 7, 1955 both sales district codes and sequence codes (scheduled item numbers) were used.

However, starting in mid December 1954, a small percentage used only the sequence number and did not in­clude the sales district.

Beginning July 8, 1955 only sequence numbers were used until the end of production of the 1955 models.

Top colors on early 1956 models

Some 1956 models have been located with a num­ber on the data plate for the top color. If your car has this please send a tracing of the original data plate to David Tulowitzky at the address shown below. Please include as much information about your car as possible, including original colors if known.

Data plate information was typed onto the metal plate by employees of Ford Motor Company. Mistakes were not made very often, but errors have been found. If you encounter letters or numbers not included in this decod­ing information, please send a tracing of the data plate to David Tulowitzky at the address listed below or email to: Tulobird@aol.com.

David Tulowitzky


Port Charlotte, FL 33953

To make a good data plate tracing, place a clean piece of paper over the data plate and rub a dull pencil lead or a dirty finger over it.

Please provide as much information as possible, transmission, options, original colors (if known) special features, history, etc.

No information regarding your car will be re­leased. The information is used to gather statistical in­formation about the manufacture of the cars and the percentage of cars by color, trim etc.