Monday, December 14, 2009

The Magic of Terry Evanswood



Pictured here, we find film star. James Cagney, driving his mud-splattered }955 T-Bird! His passenger is not identified, but may possibly be his daughter?

Thanks to Bob Hoge for submitting this (rare) photo of a very young looking movie star! (Of course, the photo dates back more than a half-century.)

While Cagney starred in many gangster roles (The Public Enemy - 1931), he also appeared in several romantic films.

Bird News Cover Dec. 2009

The Thunderbird Anthology 1956

This month, we again feature another one of the several Ford Motor Company advertisements included in The Thunderbird Anthology CD. The 1956 Red/White interior shows off well in contrast to the Gray body color and the Black Soft Top. There were two Gray color options in 1956: Thunderbird Gray and Navajo Gray.

Unfortunately, as is the case with all of the other photos on the CD, there is no explanation oridentification included for the collection of images. - Editor

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Editors Notebook

the editor's NOTEbook

WITH PRESS-TIME NIPPING AT MY HEELS. IT WAS A SAD REMINDER OF THINGS TO come, when snowplows roared down the road! The light dusting of snow didn't warrant any actual "plowing," so I trust this was merely a training exercise.....

The 2009 Calendar (page 2) shows our Annual holiday Party as the last event scheduled for this year. It also signals time for CTCC DUES Renewals. Membership Chair Madline Zambon, has already sent out the Renewal Forms for 2010, so get your check in the mail.

The (tentative) 2010 CTCC Calendar appears on page 3.

While Fall 2010 is still far in the future, Pete and marylu Kramer have prepared advance notice for the Annual CTCC Fall Tour. (Refer to PLAN AHEAD on page 9).

The first outing scheduled for the New Year is the special Brunch/Magic Show on Sunday, January 10th (See page 10 for details and RESERVATIONS/PRE PAYMENT.)

An interesting modification to a '55 T-Bird is pictured on page 9! The 1955 Ford advertisement shown on page 6 is a bit different from most other period layouts. My file copy doesn't reveal the publication source- or date of release.

The Rear Cover design includes the familiar "T-Bird Santa" Christmas Tree ornament, while the three "Birds and Sleigh panel is based on a design I developed several years ago. The TARTC Dec. 2009 Newsletter utilized this layout- adding color to the T-Birds.




2009 saw CTCC enjoying a great year. Club events, especially the Spring and Fall Tours, were a great success, due in no small part to the efforts of the organizers. THANKS to all of the members who planned events for the Club.

If you have an idea for an outing, contact any Board member.

The Board is in the process of developing a schedule of events for 2010. Our old standbys - the PIZZA PARTY & PICNIC - are already on the schedule.

We would like to do some ONE-DAY outings this year. Any ideas??? Contact me, or any Board member with your suggestions.

2010 promises to be an exciting year with the June 15-20 CTCI INTERNATIONAL in Dayton and the CTCC Fall Tour to Door County, Wisconsin. The Fall Tour, a four-day event, is being planned for late September by Pete and Marylu Kramer.

Club membership remains quite stable at II6.
The success of our Club is due to the active
participation of its members.

We are looking forward to seeing all of our
members at the upcoming CHRISTMAS
- Len Keil

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Sound Investment Here


American collector-car enthusiasts coming of age in the last 30-40 years view the '57 Thunderbird as a star among collector cars. This is in no small part due to the sheer number of times these iconic machines have appeared on TV and the silver screen.

The International Movie Cars Database lists more than two dozen visual references to the '57. That number nearly quadruples if you count the '55-'56 edition. (One of which was, of course, the '56 T-Bird that a sultry Suzanne Somers drove Richard Dreyfuss's character nuts with in American Grqffiti). The most exposed '57 might be the car that Robert Urich drove as private investigator Dan Tanna in TVs Vega$.

So what does this have to do with the value of one of the most recognizable of Dearborn's products? Hard to say, but the staying power of the T-Bird in pop culture probably had some influence on the steady rise we've seen from a low of about $7,500 for a scruffy driver when Vega$ aired its second season in 1979 to a high in the neighborhood of $75,000 today.
Three decades ago, a "national 1st place" winning '57 "E" "Bird with two four barrels and a 271hp 312 was advertised in Hemmings for $25,000. At Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2009, an E 'Bird, restored to "Minter-quality standards" (a reference to the Thunderbird specialist-house Amos Minter's Thunderbirds in North Dallas, Texas) and equipped with the desirable three-speed manual with overdrive, sold for $128,700.

Those of us here who cover auctions tend to think of "baby 'Birds" as being sleepy in terms of value because there are invariably a few examples at every auction trading hands in the $30,000-145,000 range. In recent years, they just haven't been at the center of a Hemi or Ferrari type of craze that sent their values skyrocketing, so we tend to overlook them.

But there has been noticeable and reliable appreciation. For instance, in 1999 sellers were advertising T-Birds in Hemmings for as low as $8,500 and as high as $47,500. Popular price guides at the time put the '57 at a low of $16,800 to a high of $35,100. Today, the low end for cars sold nationally begins north of $25,000 and runs as high as $75,000. Consumer price guides list the car more conservatively at $22,600 to $56,600. And we have seen serviceable examples being sold in smaller, local and regional classified publications in the $20,000 range.

The low price of a project car can be attractive, given the volume of repair parts available and the network of experts and enthusiasts. But a front fender can cost as much as $4,500 and isn't a bolt-on replacement due to the T-Bird's unitized construction. The rocker panels, rocker supports, front floor pans and front air ducts were prone to rust, and repair panels are available. But shoppers cruising for lower priced T-Birds might find cars that have already been repaired, albeit less than professionally.

Perhaps if s a no-brainer, but we're putting the Thunderbird on the buy list. Prices aren't going down, and we're thinking it's just a matter of time before someone makes Vega$ the movie...
* Thanks to Pete Ekstrom of submitting this article from Hemmings Motor News- October, 2009

Annual Fall Tour- 2009

ANNUAL CTCC FALL TOUR ~ October 2-4, 2009

OUR EXCURSION STARTED AT the McDonald's at Rte. 53 and Rte. 56; we received our packets and took off in the rain (what else?). We were 11 Little 'Birds, two new 'Birds and Larry's Honda. We traveled to Dixon, IL to visit the John Deere historical site; it was here that John moved to from Vermont and built his blacksmith shop. In
1837 John invented the self-cleaning, stainless steel plow, which revolutionized farming in the mid-west. A replica of the John Deere blacksmith shop was built on the site. It was here that we saw a demonstration of making a leaf from a square metal rod. We then toured the house where John, his wife and nine children had lived.
phot0: Cars parked in circular drive at Quarters 1

As the John Deere story continued in Moline, so did we; but first we had our tradition to fulfill - lunch at Culver's. Our next destination was the Deere-Wiman house. This house was built for John's youngest child, Charles. He was the only child to live to adulthood and he eventually took over the company. He had two daughters and the Deere family name ended with him. Anna married Charles Wiman and they resided in this house, raising two sons. This house had some really neat bathrooms. One had a rain shower and body sprays (just like they make now), only this was built in the late 1800's and the pipes showed. After touring this house, we went across the street to tour the Butterworth Center, which is the home of William and Katherine (Charles1 second daughter). The highlight of this house was the ceiling of the library. The room was built for the painting, which was 20' x 40' and had been painted in Venice in the 1700's.

It was now time to head to the Comfort Inn; after getting settled in, we all headed to the Hospitality Room for refreshments supplied by the members, socialization, a beautiful necklace for each lady made by Annie, and of course, pizza!! It's another CTCC tradition.

Saturday morning, we had a leisurely breakfast - with more socializing, especially we girls. Meanwhile, the guys were busy wiping down the rain-soaked 'Birds; then they opened the T-Bird hoods as members gathered to admire the engine compartments.

At 10 a.m. we were off to the Bishop Hill Historical Site and village. Our first stop was at the historic site, where we watched a movie and viewed a painting by Olof Krans, which depicts the formation and life in the settlement. We then went into the village and we were on our own until 2:30 when we headed back to the motel. We had plenty of time to explore, shop and eat. Those of us who had lunch at the Red Oak, per Ken's suggestion, had a real treat - the chicken and biscuit was to die for; but there were raves about the meatballs. too. The pies were not to be overlooked, nor was the lingonbenry tea.

We headed out to Arsenal Island, which is the largest island on the Mississippi River, and is an active military base. Our destination was the Quarter 1 building; it was the home of the commanding officer from 1870-2007. It s the second largest federal-owned house; only the White House is larger. We could roam this beautiful old house as we pleased. It is here that we had a wonderful prime rib and chicken buffet dinner. Our evening ended with more camaraderie, but with a twist. All the guys were together around one group of tables, and the girls at another. It was soooo loud, the girls departed to a meeting room, so we could talk!

Sunday morning, after a leisurely breakfast, we began to pack up. We had one last stop in Utica at the Illinois River Winery. We had a guided tour through the winery as we learned about the wine-producing process. It was then on to the tasting room; many of us found a favorite or two to buy. We then said our goodbyes.

Those who participated in this great get-away were: Joel Greenberg and Annie Luginbill, Bob and Helen Hoge, Larry Johnson and Sue Hommedieu, Larry and Karen Kelly, Joe and Sandra Kraatz, Peter and Marylu Kramer, Ed Levin and Rose Kovelenko, Dan Mrozek and Judy Butler, Ron Pavlak, Jerry and Pat Peterson, Lloyd and Joan Schellin, Ken and Kathy Smizinski, Len and Irene Vinyard and Bill and Liz Werth.

Last, but not least, a very big thank you to Joel and Annie for all their hard work to make this Fall Tour so great!
- Pat and Jerry Peterson

Art Hascek (1916-2009)

Art Hascek
April 12, 1916-October 16, 2OO9

It is with regret and a deep sense of personal loss that we report the passing of long-time CTCC member, Art Hascek.
Art and Gail attended their first Club meeting in October, 1972 and joined CTCC in November, as proud owners of a Red 1957 Thunderbird! Art maintained his interest in the T-Bird and CTCC meetings, events and Shows, eventually launching a restoration project on his beloved 'Bird. After a long period of delays and disappointments with an unscrupulous restoration shop, the '57 was rescued from near disaster. The long trail of tribulations finally ended when the gleaming Thunderbird captured a First Place Trophy at an All Thunderbird Car Show in 2008 (see adjoining photo).
Art was indeed a very special person, as anyone who had the privilege of knowing him can attest.
Art was a WWII Navy veteran, and it was not until quite recently that I discovered that we had both attended the Farragut Naval Training Station located in Farragut, Idaho. I found the Military Burial Service for Art to be a fitting tribute. The TAPS item and photo (above) are from the Farragut Newsletter — September, 2004.
The Officers and Membership of the ClassicThunderbird Club of Chicagoland extend their deepest sympathy to Gail, Laura and Mike, as we share in their loss.
- Editor

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Holiday Party 2009

Classic Thunderbird Club of Chicagoland
Holiday Party

Saturday, December 12, 2009
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.

or Roast Sirloin of Beef
Tender slices of sirloin topped with mushroom bordelaise sauce.

or Orange Roughy
Topped with a citrus buerre blanc sauce.

All entries are $22 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.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Art Hascek (1916-2009)

I am sorry to report that Art Hascek died on Friday evening. Please pass the following information along to our fellow CTCC members.

Laura Hascek said that Art's T'Bird will be displayed at the Service on Wednesday and CTCC members are invited to bring their 'Birds.
Services for Arthur J. Hascek (1916-2009)
Tuesday 10/20– WAKE
3-9 pm
Chapel Hill Gardens West Funeral Home, 17w201 Roosevelt Road, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181

Wednesday 10/21- FUNERAL at church
Lay in state- 9-10am
Services– 10am
Messiah Lutheran Church
130 W Butterfield RdElmhurst, IL
With a procession to
Chapel Hill Gardens for graveside burial
17w201 Roosevelt RoadOakbrook Terrace, IL 60181

From there to a luncheon at
Alpine Banquet House
11141 W. Roosevelt Rd
Westchester, IL 60154

Monday, October 12, 2009

Editor's Notebook Oct. 2009

The Editor's Notebook

WITH THE OFFICIAL ARRIVAL OF FALL, IT SIGNALS THE time for the CTCC Fall Tour to take wing - Oct. 2nd - 4th. Look for the story and photos in the November issue! The CTCC Election of Officers found the incumbents retaining their posts, as there were no nominations made from the floor. See page 6 for Bill Werth's photograph of the (smiling) group!

Photo- CTCC Officers for 2010- Standing: Pete Kramer- Vice President, Len Keil- President. Seated: Liz Werth - Secretary, Bob Hoge- Treasurer

Having been involved with the Meadowdale Race facility during its hey day, I have devoted a page to the 50th Anniversary of the now abandoned road course. See page 3 for the memories. The shrinking CTCC Calendar reflects the fact that "T-Bird Season" is fast disappearing! The November 12th Meeting will feature a photo review of the 2009 activities to-date, a Power-Point production by Liz Werth. Also, voting for the BERT EISENHOUR AWARD for 2009 is on the agenda, with the presentation scheduled for the Holiday Party in Dec.

We have learned that long-time member. Pat Giffin, has recently suffered some health issues, but we are happy to report that he is now at home during his recovery.

While the Calendar (page 2) now includes a reminder for CTCI members to plan for the International Convention in June of 2010, it is not too early to start preparing T-Birds for the Concours event! The relatively close proximity of the Convention should encourage a good turnout from our CTCC membership. Check EARLY BIRD for detailed info.

Speaking of 2010, the CTCC Board has decided to eliminate the Spring Tour from our schedule, since the International Convention will attract so many of our members.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Meadowdale Raceway



Meadowdale Motorsports & Memories
See photos for pictures

Following a near rainout in 2008, the event was re-scheduled for Sept. 19, 2009. It was designated as: Inaugural Event September 2009.

In sharp contrast to last year's dismal weather, a picture-perfect day unfolded for this year's celebration! While promotional releases indicated that storied drivers Augie Pabst, Jr., Don Devine and Harry Heuer would be in attendance, we were disappointed to find that Augie could not be there. Don and Harry were kept busy reliving their racing days and signing countless autographs throughout the day. My copy of the Official Entry Form for the May 31-June 1, 1969 race was signed by Don & Harry. (I have donated original Race Forms from two of the 1969 Race Events to the Meadow-dale collection.)

The event drew about 200 vehicles of all types! The display was staged on the actual blacktop that was once the track's main straightaway. There were 4 - T-Birds in the impressive line-up: Gordon Gluff ('56) an Elgin resident ('57), an "M" Sports Roadster and my '57 "E" 'Bird. The Race Cars included two of the legendary Scarabs, a famous Nickey (with the backward "K") Chevrolet Corvette as well as several other vintage racecars.

The track opened in September of 1958, however, a number of factors led to its closing in 1969. While the silo still stands at the west side of Rte. 31 in Carpentersville, only a few sections of the track still survive.

The sounds of powerful engines has long since given way to on eerie silence, broken only by the cries of high-flying birds and the wind rustling through the trees.

It was an unforgettable day as drivers and visitors shared in a salute to the past glories of this once-proud road course. Who can forget the high-banked Monza Wall, Doane's Corner, etc.? For me, the visit brought back memories of when my Inca Gold '57 circled this track for 50 laps! (It was an Economy Run, not a "racing" competition.)



Monday, September 7, 2009

Updated Fall Tour Information- 2009

FALL TOUR- Oct. 2-4, 2009

Planning for the Fall Tour is now completed! We have reserved rooms at the Comfort Inn & Suites in East Moline, Illinois. The rate for the Classic Thunderbird Club of Chicagoland is $65.00 a night - single or double. Call (309) 792-4660 and mention the club name to get our discount rate. They have both a pool and an exercise room, and Continental Breakfast is included. NOTE- Reservations should be made by Sept. 15th. (As of Aug. 28th, 16 rooms have been reserved! We have increased the number of rooms being held to 20 and we can add more if more members decide to go)

Dinner on Saturday, Oct. 3rd is REALLY special - It will be catered solely for CTCC at Quarters One on the Rock Island Arsenal. Sitting on the banks of the Mississippi, Quarters One was built around 1871 and is being completely returned to its original glory. It is the second largest single-family home owned by the U.S. Government - second only to the White House! It was the home of the Senior Officer assigned to the Arsenal. We will have a tour of and access to the house and grounds. Dinner will consist of Prime Rib and Sauteed Chicken Buffet, choice of: two potatoes, two vegetables, tossed salad, plantation salad, fruit salad, rolls and butter, dessert, tea and regular or decaf coffee. There will also be a cash bar. The cost for the dinner is $41.03 per person (including tax and gratuity) which is payable in advance. Make checks out to Classic Thunderbird Club of Chicagoland and mail to: CTCC c/o Joel Greenberg, 3732 N. Hermitage Ave., Chicago, Illinois, 60613-3509. PLEASE SEND DINNER PREPAYMENT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. WE NEED TO LET THEM KNOW HOW MANY TO PLAN FOR BY SEPTEMBER 25th.

The itinerary for the tour is:
10-11:15- John Deere Historic Site in Grand Detour.
11:30-12:30- Lunch at Culver's in Dixon.. Get gas if needed.
2:30-4-Tour of Butterworth Center and Deere-Wiman Homes in Moline.
6PM-Dinner - Pizza! Pizza!

Saturday, Oct.3rd -We will leave the Hotel at 9:30 for
Bishop Hill (Swedish Historic Village)
Other activities/options for those interested:
Carl Sandburg Home in Galesburg (about 30 miles south of Bishop Hill)
John Deere World Headquarters (5 minutes from the hotel)
John Deere Pavilion and Store (Downtown Moline)
South Park Mall ( for those who need their shopping fix - about 12-15 minutes from the hotel)
NOTE: We will be leaving for dinner at 4:30

Sunday, Oct. 4th - Leave Hotel 10AM
We have added a tour of the Illinois Rivery Winery in Utica, complete with a tasting session, to break up the drive home.

(For those who MUST have 'breakfast,' the Deerfield Family Restaurant is walking distance from the hotel. For those who need anything else, there is a Farm and Fleet about 5 minutes from the hotel.)
Please call Joel or Annie to let us know if you are coming.

2 Seat vs 4 Seat History



A short time after Ford had abandoned production of the 2-passenger T-Bird, a flood of questions arose from "purists." This reaction inspired the Budd Co. to submit a modernized 2-passenger design to Ford! (Budd fabricated the steel bodies for the '55-'57 Ford T-Birds.)

For a brief time. Ford contemplated the production of both the 2 and the 4-passenger 'Birds for the '58 model year. Although a bitter pill for T-Bird fans, the decision yielded economic gains.

In 1960-1961, one of my friends wrote to Ford, questioning the rationale for ending production of the 2-passenger model design. Eugene Bailey, a Club member in 1962, received the response from Ford (see letter of Feb. 23, 1961) together with a copy of the Ford Intra-Company Communication (dated February 15,1961), which is reproduced below (on page 9 of Bird-News)

NOTE: The last paragraph of the Feb. 15, 1961 Ford 'Communication' letter references: "(present Secretary of Defense)". We can quite easily identify him as Robert McNamara, the executioner who dropped the guillotine on the revered early 'Birds.
- Editor

February 23, 1961

Mr. Eugene C. Bailey
Commonwealth Edison Company
72 West Adams Street
Chicago 90, Illinois

Dear Gene:

It certainly was a real pleasure to hear from you again and to know that you are well and as busy as usual.

Of course I was very much interested in your comments regarding the 2-passenger 1957 Thunderbird.

I am sure that you know that the change from a 2-passenger to a 4-passenger unit has been the subject of much discussion and, perhaps even controversy.

In an attempt to get an answer to some of your questions, I asked one of our departments to investigate this overall subject with the Company's Product Planning activity, and I think the best way to answer your questions is to simply attach a copy of the internal letter that resulted. I am sure that this does not completely answer your questions, but it apparently is the best information available.

I certainly hope that you will have occasion to be in Detroit sometime in the near future and that you will let me know so that we can have dinner together and a good visit. Please remember me to your wife.

With best personal regards, I am Sincerely, John F. Randall

Intra-Company Communication GENERAL OFFICE
February 15, 1961

To: Mr. R. B. Hayns

Subject: Two Passenger versus Four Passenger Thunderbird

Mr. Jack Eckhold, of Product Planning and associated with Thunderbird, was contacted with respect to the reasons for discontinuing the 2-passenger model Thunderbird. Mr. Eckhold mentioned that many such inquiries have been received in the past by both Product Planning and Sales.

A somewhat standardized approach was used in the replies to such letters. Form letters were used at one time, although copies could not be located as they have not had recent inquiries. These letters included the following:

-In the past, many letters were received from 1955-56-57 2-passenger Thunderbird owners that a 4-passenger model would be preferred over their present 2-passenger model. This was the primary complaint received.

-Market Research Studies during the period of the 2-passenger model also indicated that a 4-passenger or a larger model was favored. These studies covered both 2-passenger owners and potential owners.

-The acceptance of the 4-passenger version of the Thunderbird has been much greater than what was anticipated or achieved for the 2-passenger model.

-Current Market Research Studies indicate that the 4-passenger model preference is much greater than the 2-passenger.

Another factor was mentioned which was not included in replies to inquiries from customers:

At the time the decision was made to introduce a 4-passenger Thunderbird, there was serious consideration for continuing a 2-passenger model. Although Market Research Studies favored the 4-passenger model, the potential for a 2-passenger was substantial. A decision was made by higher management (present Secretary of Defense) that it would be inadvisable to continue the 2-passenger model as the two products would be in competition with each other and thereby reduce, the sales potential of a single model which would be more economical.

D.A.Jesmore, Supervisor
Planning & Problem Control Sect
Technical Services Department


2009 Annual Picnic


Once again the CTCC club members, families and friends enjoyed a beautiful day at Pratt's Wayne Woods Forest Preserve in Wayne, IL. In addition to the 44 attendees, there was a very colorfull display of 20 "Little Birds" and one retro 'Bird. Always a dazzling sight to see for club members and passers-by as well.

Photo- Some of the T-birds in attendance at the 2009 Annual Picnic

Although the temperature was in the mid 80s, there was a very nice breeze blowing through the pavilion. There was plenty of conversation and interaction between all in attendance. So much in fact, that the "sit-down" baseball game debuted at last year's picnic, was set up and never got to the first inning. It was nice seeing everyone having such a great time!

The food, as always, was exceptional and abundant! Everyone brought something to share. We were treated to fried chicken (provided by the club), baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad, macaroni salad, sauerkraut/ sausage, tomatoes, fruit, green salads, etc. But don't forget the desserts - cookies, cakes, featuring the now famous "Paul & Urszula Mounts' Coconut Cake" - masterfully made and provided by Mary (& Len?) Keil. President, Len Keil, graciously fullfiled his roll as host, by making sure that everyone was well taken care of and well fed.

Many thanks to:
• Jane Eisenhour for taking reservations and recording the food dishes
• Liz Werth for securing the park permit
• Len Vinyard, Len Keil, & Pete Ekstrom for providing all the sodas & water
• Bill Werth for providing the ice
• Pete Ekstrom & Ken Smizinski for providing the potato chips
• Pete Ekstrom for providing all the table supplies
• Bob & Marcy Burhop for providing the signage
• Ken Smizinski & Len Keil for picking up the fried chicken
• Jerry Peterson for providing the "sit-down" baseball game
And finally, thanks to all who attended - Tom & Judy Bruin, Bill & Jane Balogh, Rudy & Janet Budach, Bob & Marcy Burhop, Bert Eisenhour, Pete & Lisa Ekstrom, Ed & Marlene (son Mickey) Ficenec, Gordon Gluff, Joel Greenberg & Annie Luginbill, Bob & Helen Hoge, Larry Johnson & Sue L'Hommedieu, Len & Mary Keil, Larry & Karen Kelly, Pete & Marylu Kramer, Bud & Cindy Kryszak, Dan Mrozek, Ron Pavlak, Jerry & Pat Peterson, Dave & Marian Pogorski, Ken & Kathy Smizinski, Len & Irene Vinyard, Bill & Liz Werth, Jim Wilson, Tom & Alice Wolfe

We missed those who, for various reasons, were not able to attend this year.
- Tom & Alice Wolfe

A Day At The Hanger- 2009


A glorious day arrived just in time for the Day at the Hangar event hosted by CTCC members. Ken and Polly Kresmery! I like to think of this fun-filled outing as Planes, Trains and Automobiles, (2 out 3 ain't bad!), as it provides something for everyone!

Photo- Larry Johnson's Cessna 172

By about noon, the serving table became the center of activity, as Ken handed out an ear of delicious sweet com to each guest. The corn was done to perfection on a charcoal grill. Brats were first, followed by a seemingly endless variety of food items that were supplied by the invited guests. Desserts included several choices of soft-serve ice cream, in addition to (donated) cookies, brownies, etc.

The skies were clear, providing perfect flying conditions for the many pilots who were constantly taking off and landing in a wide variety of aircraft. A visiting Warbird plane (WWII-era) pilot added still another attraction to the day's aerial show, as his plane's radial engine growled that powerful, distinctive roar on take-off!

Later on in the afternoon, all eyes turned skyward as a sailplane glided silently overhead. The pilot circled and landed a considerable distance away from us, so we were not able to determine any details for this "added-attraction" to the Kresmery Air Show and Flying Circus!

CTCC members on-the-scene: Rudy & Janet Budach, Bert Eisenhour, Gordon Gluff, Larry Johnson & Sue L'Hommedieu, Steve Kovacic, Ed Levin & Rose Kovetenko, Dan Mrozek, Perry & Cindy O'Kano, Lloyd & Joan Schellin, Bill & Bonnie Thelen, Len & Irene Vinyard, Bill & Liz Werth and Jim Wilson.

If there were a Long Distance Award, the undisputed winner would have been member Steve Kovacic, who resides in Prescott Valley, ARIZONA! The High Altitude Award would have belonged to Larry Johnson, who piloted his beautiful Cessna 172 to Poplar Grove!

CTCC extends a resounding THANKS to Ken and Polly for inviting our membership to this year's event!
Bert Eisenhour- Editor

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fall Tour- 2009

FALL TOUR-Oct. 2-4, 2009

Planning for the Fall Tour is well underway. We have reserved rooms at the Comfort Inn & Suites in East Moline, Illinois. The rate for the Classic Thunderbird Club of Chicagoland is $65.00 a night - single or double. Call (309) 792-4660 and mention the club name to get our discount rate. They have both a pool and an exercise room, and Continental Breakfast is included .

Photo- Quarters One

Dinner on Saturday, Oct. 3rd is REALLY special - It will be catered solely for CTCC at Quarters One on the Rock Island Arsenal. Sitting on the banks of the Mississippi, Quarters One was built around 1871 and is being completely returned to its original glory. It is the second largest single-family home owned by the U.S. Government - second only to the White House! It was the home of the Senior Officer assigned to the Arsenal. We will have a tour of and access to the house and grounds. Dinner will consist of Prime Rib and Sauteed Chicken Buffet, choice of: two potatoes, two vegetables, tossed salad, plantation salad, fruit salad, rolls and butter, dessert, tea and regular or decaf coffee. There will also be a cash bar. The cost for the dinner is $41.03 per person (including tax and gratuity) which is payable in advance. Make checks out to Classic Thunderbird Club of Chicagoland and mail to: CTCC c/o Joel Greenberg, 3732 N. Hermitage Ave., Chicago, Illinois, 60613-3509.

A Rough Itinerary for the Tour is:

Friday, Oct. 2nd - John Deere Historic Site in Grand Detour.
Lunch at Culver's in Dixon, IL.
Tour of Butterworth Center and Deere-Wiman Homes in Moline.
Dinner- Pizza! Pizza!

Saturday, Oct. 3rd - Bishop Hill (Swedish Historic Village)
Other activities/options for those interested:
Carl Sandburg Home in Galesburg (about 30 miles south of
Bishop Hill)
John Deere World Headquarters (5 minutes from the hotel)
John Deere Pavilion and Store (Downtown Moline)
South Park Mall (for those who need their shopping fix -
about 12-15 minutes from the hotel)

NOTE: We will be leaving for dinner at 4:30

Sunday, Oct.4th - Home - Nothing special planned at this point.

For those who MUST have 'breakfast,' the Deerfield Family Restaurant is walking distance from the hotel. For those who need anything else, there is a Farm and Fleet about 5 minutes from the hotel.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day at the Hangar- 2009

Ken & Polly's*
14th Annual
Day at the Hangar

Poplar Grove Airport
Sunday, August 23, 2009

LUNCH - 2:00 PM

Italian Sausage and Sweet Corn
We have all the drinks

Things to Do:
Ride in an XKE JAG (it is red)
Ride in a '57 T'Bird (top down)
Ride in a 1979 Roils Royce (Built for a Prince)
Ride in a 1930 Mode! A Ford (it has a rumble seat)
Bet on the Model T Race (two at the airport)
Ride in a VW Bug convertible (may have Bug races)
Ride in a 1911 Woods Mobellette (if we can get it to run)
Ride a Motorcycle (with a side car)
Ride in one of four Airplanes (one without a top, one goes in water)
Sign up for the Parachute Jump

Things to bring :
Sunshine (Party in the Hangar in case of rain)
Something to go with the sausage and sweet corn

Directions to Poplar Grove Airport (Ken Kresmery Hangar)
Take 1-90 west toward Rockford. Take the Genoa Road exit toward Belvidere. Turn right onto Genoa Road. Continue to US-20 Business Route. Follow US-20 BR for 3.8 miles to IL-76. Turn right. Go 3.3 miles to the Poplar Grove Airport. The next road on the right is Orth Road. Turn Right. Go to the Airport Museum entrance. Turn into the entrance and take the first left to the second row of hangars and turn right. Go all the way to the end of the hangars to MD4 & MD5.

* HOSTS: Ken & Polly Kresmery - CTCC members - 847-742-0000

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Annual Picnic- 2009

Classic Thunderbird Club of Chicagoland

(For CTCC member, spouse/significant other and minor children)

Date: AUGUST 15, 2009 Time: 11:00 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

What to Bring:
A dish to share (see below*) & serving utensil
Lawn Chairs for sitting outside the pavillion
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 10th
Call Jane Eisenhour (630-584-8383)
*Tell her which dish you will bring to share - a side dish, a salad or a dessert


BIRD-NEWS Gold Award

Copy of the Gold Award presented to the Bird-News
Note- click on photo to enlarge to read explanation.

TULSA Convention- 2009

photo caption- In between Bill and Joel was an Ice Sculpture of a 1955 T'bird.


I still can't get that song ... "Oklahoma!"... out
of my head! The "T'Birds 'n Tulsa" Region 5
Convention ended long ago, but the memories
linger on. Bill and I took two days to drive our
little 'Bird out there, as did Joel Greenberg who
was accompanied by Ken Smizinski. We
joined a total of 98 cars in Concours, Touring
and Display and about 300 people from 27
states. Familiar faces included Bill and Sharon
Jurkonie, John and Deb Wrigley and Perry and
Alyce Anthony. The Tulsa Classic Thunderbird
Club did an excellent job of keeping us fed and
entertained. They arranged for rides to (and
free money at) the Creek Nation Casino, a nice
Western-themed welcome party, a shopping
tour fashion show, a trip to the Discovery Land
Dinner and Amphitheater production of
"Oklahoma" and a visit to the Will Rogers
Museum. Meanwhile, the beautiful array of
Thunderbirds could be seen from our hotel
window. We watched as they baked in the hot
sun and as they were drenched by the
torrential rains which marred Concours
morning. During the Final night's Awards
Banquet, the Greenberg and Werth cars
received Gold Awards and Ken and Joel
received recognition for judging. We stretched
our trip home to include a visit with friends who
live near Wichita. Had it not been for a cranky
overdrive, the trip would have been uneventful
... hot, but uneventful.
- Liz Werth

Ed. Note: Thanks to Bill and Liz for delivering
the CTCI Gold Award Certificate for BIRD-NEWS
(see cover).



Saturday, July 11. 2009, 36 members and guests of CTCC gathered at the home of Len and Mary Keil in Johnsburg. Ill. for hot dogs, brats, and a table full of delicious "eats". Len had two coolers full of cold soda as we gathered in his garage and overflowed onto the driveway. Present at the gala were Joel Greenberg and Annie Luginbiil, Tom and Alice Wolfe, Ed Levin and Rose Kovelenko, Bill and Liz Werth, Mary Ann Graziano and Paul Ureche, your scribe. Jim Elijah, Joe and Sandy Kraatz. Bill and Elaine Axelson, Jerry and Pat Peterson, Bert and Jane Eisenhour, Pete and Marylu Kramer, Joe and Madeline Zambon, Pete and Lisa Ekstrom, Lloyd and Joan Schellin, Bob and Sue Wenderski, Len and Mary Keil, Bob Sroka and guest Beverly, and Bob and Helen Hoge.

The day was sunny in the mid- 80's with no rain and only a few menacing clouds, so 13 - '55-'57 Thunderbirds and 3 New 'Birds filled the block in front of Keil's home. Pete and Lisa drove their '03 "007" 'Bird. Bob and Sue, their Vintage Mint Green '04. and Pete and Marylu. their Cashmere 50th Anniversary '05.

After several hours of feasting and 'Bird talk, dusk was approaching and several members began their trips home. The movie at the McHenry Outdoor Drive-in Movie Theater that night was "Ice Age - Dawn of the Dinosaurs". Our adult crowd decided to skip the cartoon movie. Len said, "Next year, we'll have the hot dogs again and maybe skip the drive-in."
- Jim Wilson


It turned out that one ot our lead-footed T-Birders raced by the turnoft to the Keil's subdivision, finding himself "lost" somewhere north of his intended target!

While pondering his dilemma at a stoplight, the fellow in the car just in front of our member's 'Bird exited his car and asked, "Are you looking for Len's house?" Momentarily baffled by this stranger's uncanny mind-reading powers, our subject learned that the elusive turnoff was some 2-miles to the south!

The "GPS Man" did indicate that he was a neighbor of Len and Mary's! (In fact, the neighbor lives almost directly across from the Keil's residence!) [Name withheld to protect the 'guilty.']
- Ed.

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.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tech Session- 2009


Saturday, April 25, twenty-eight CTCC friends and members gathered at Bob Wenderski's Garage-Mahal for our seventh annual Spring dust-off event. Present were Dan Anderson, Bob Burhop, Bert Eisenhour, Gordon Gluff, Joel Greenberg, Bob Hendrickson Jr., Larry Johnson and Sue, Len Keil, Larry Kelly, John Kiverts, John Kolb, Pete Kramer, Paul Mounts, Dan Mrozek, Jerry Peterson, Dave Pogorski, Dan Raerfahl, Gary Smithe, Ken Smizinski, Bob Sroka, Len Vinyard, Bob Wenderski, Bill Werth, your scribe, Joe Wintz, Tom Wolfe, and Joe Zarnbon. John Kiverts is a new member of CTCC, though he has owned a Red '55 'Bird for twenty-five years. Bob Hendricksen, Jr. has a Silver '57 of his own, and he reports that his mother, Darlene, still has the Black '57 "E" 'Bird owned by his late father, though it is now stored in his garage We sipped coffee and munched on rolls as nine Thunderbirds filled the close-in part of Bob's driveway.

I parked my blue 2002 new 'Bird behind Gary Smithe's Red 2004. Len Keil followed with a Willow Green'57 followed by Pete Kramer with a Sage Green '56 and Bill Werth's Blue '55. JoeWintz drove his Gray '57,which was followed by Joel Greenberg's Yellow '57 and Larry Kelly's Fiesta Red '56. Gordon Gluff, with a Red '56 topped off the Thunderbird contingent.

Bob had the club libray out for our perusal. Ken began the Tech session with a discussion of motor oils which have the zinc additive necessary to lubricate the cam and lifters in the Early 'Birds. Shell Rotella T and ACCEL 1OW40 SF (Available at WalMart for $2.27 a quart) were recommended. STP Oil Treatment also has the necessary zinc.

Ken then proceeded to the main topic of the day, changing automatic transmission fluid. When draining the fluid it is important to drain the torque converter as half of the fluid is there. Ken began by loosening the transmission fluid filler tube on Bob Wenderski's '57 Thunderbird to drain the fluid. He explained that one could also lower the pan to drain the old fluid, but that may cause a leak when the pan is reattached if it was originally on too tight. Ken then pulled off the inspection cover-plate facing the oil drain plug, in order to drain more fluid. It has four bolts. The next step was to open one of the plugs in the torque converter with a 1/2" wrench to drain the transmission fluid. The two plugs are 180 degrees apart, so by bringing one into the lower position, the other remains (inaccessible) at the top. So, either one of the 2-drain holes can accomplish the job.

While the fluid was thoroughly draining, Ken discussed inteteresting facts about our transmissions. Type F transmission fluid, in use in the 70's and 80's, is not compatible with Mercon Dextron 3, which Ken recommends for refilling the transmission in our 'Birds. "Lube Guard," an additive, in a platinum bottle, will keep the transmission from burning out. Ken's advice: If you buy a car, DO NOT change the transmission fluid, as there is no way of determining when or IF it has ever been changed in the past.

Changing the fluid after a prolonged period of time may cause transmission failure as sediment in the pan is released. Note: I followed this caveat to the extreme, as I never changed the transmission fluid in my 'Bird from when I bought it in 1974, until Ken overhauled the transmission in 2005. Ken told me that the transmission fluid had never, in fact, been changed since it left the factory in 1957! I remember being advised - back in the 70's - that if the transmission shifted properly, to leave it alone. A manual transmission also needs the gear lube changed and an overdrive transmission has two drain plugs, as the fluid in the overdrive needs changing. Transmission fluid should be used in the power steering reservoir, as the power steering fluid sold today is too thin for our cars and will cause leaks. Ken explained that it is no longer possible to "sniff' transmission fluid to tell if it is dirty. He handed out an "Updated Routine Maintenance Schedule" which advises changing the transmission fluid every five years.

The drain plugs were then tightened in preparation for refilling with fresh transmission fluid. A 1 1/16" wrench was used to tighten the filler tube and a 1/2" or 7/16" on the torque converter. A standard transmission takes a 1 1/2" wrench on the plug and an overdrive trans., 2". The car was then lowered and 4 quarts of transmission fluid were emptied into the reservoir and the car started. The engine must be running in order to fill the torque converter with fluid. The car holds 10 1/2 quarts of transmission fluid. Ken said to put in 9 1/2 quarts and check with the car engine running before adding more.

Unrelated to the transmission, difficult starting was discussed. Ken suggested using a Master electric fuel pump part # E8012S, which is available at Auto Zone Retailers.

After the transmission fluid was filled, the oil was changed on Bob's car, using oil he had on hand, SF rated, with the necessary zinc additive. Paul Mounts greased the front end, U-Joints, and Steering. Bob's car was now ready for Spring driving, but not on the day of our Tech Session, as it had begun to rain heavily. We enjoyed a luncheon of sub sandwiches, chips, soft drinks, and garnishes provided by the Club. We said our goodbyes - until the Spring Tour the following week.

- Jim Wilson

Friday, June 12, 2009

President's Report- June 2009



During the March General Club Meeting, a very emotional Urszula Mounts, announced to the membership that this would be the last [CTCC] function that she and Paul would be attending, as they are moving to Florida in early May.

Although Paul has talked about moving for sometime, this announcement surprised a lot of members. Paul has been an active member for more years than he probably wants to remember. He is also the reason Mary and I joined the Club in 1994. I recall the times Paul drove his T-Bird past our home, and giving me the "Thumbs Up" when I asked his advice on purchasing our '57 'Bird. He will always be our great friend.

Anyone who has attended Club outings and tours knows of Paul's ability to bring his childhood experiences of being raised on a farm in rural Kentucky, to present- day happenings. Paul would mesmerize Club members with his anecdotes on everyday life. Perhaps you may have noticed Paul's aversion to chicken; it seems that when growing up on the farm, it was his job to take care of the chickens - from beginning to end. Need I say more?

Let's not forget Urszula! This delightful lady, a more recent member, has won the hearts of everyone she has met. We wish them great success and happiness in their new venture. Urszula, when making herannouncement at the meeting, invited all Club members to visit them when in Florida. She may regret this, since so many of our members winter in Florida! (Ha, Ha!)

Paul is one of those really great guys who is always ready to help anyone in need. He and Urszula WILL be missed by all.
- Len Keil

Monday, May 25, 2009

June Meeting


We are, having a
Sunday - June 14th at Noon
hosted by and at the home of
Pete and Marylu Kramer
560 W. 58th Street - Hinsdale

Please join us for Bloody Mary's (virgin or otherwise), Mimosas, Food-A-Plenty, Cars, a short meeting - and Pontoon boat rides! (yes, there is a lake)

From the north: 294 south to Ogden west exit -Ogden Avenue west to Route 83 South - 83 South to 55th Street east exit and east on 55th to Madison (Hinsdale Central High School on the east corner) south on Madison to 58th Street and west on 58th Street three blocks to house on left corner which will have Tbirds galore on the driveway!

Sign up sheet or RSVP by June 9th
Email: Cell: 630 606-2416

1st Production Mustang Hardtop

photo caption- left: Lee Iacocca, The father of the Mustang, with the Fria's 002 1965 Mustang
photo caption- right: Bob & Joyce Fria's #1 '65 Mustang Hardtop on display at the Nethercutt Museum

The world famous Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, now has on display the first production Ford Mustang hardtop. The 60,000 square foot museum contains over 100 specialty automobiles that have been carefully restored to their original elegance. Packard, Duesenberg, Pierce Arrow, Rolls-Royce, as well as other cars of their stature, are artfully exhibited in a way that shows many historical changes and developments of automotive design and engineering.

This 1965 first production Mustang hardtop was shipped from the Ford Dearborn factory to help launch the new Ford pony car to the public in April, 1964. The new introductory model was mistakenly shipped to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory, Canada. It arrived too late for the continental first day public introduction and after its first retail sale one year later, dropped into obscurity for over 35 years. Discovered by Bob Fria after 13 previous owners, the car was restored to precise factory new specifications and has a fully developed provenance.
Celebrating the 45th Anniversary of the Ford Mustang, this first Mustang will remain on display until the summer of 2009. The historical hardtop is owned by Bob and Joyce Fria of LaCrescenta, California.

The Museum is located at 15151 Bledsoe St, off San Fernando Rd, in Sylmar, CA and is open to the public free of charge. Hours are Tuesday thru Saturday, 9am -4:30pm. For further information call (818-364-6464) or
Note: The Fria Mustang was one of only 25 cars to be included in the HEART AND SOUL display at the Ford Centennial- Dearbord 2003.

Bob and Joyce Fria were CTCC members for many years, and Bob was one of the early T-Bird owners who had an "advanced" restoration performed on his White, 1956. Having visited the Nethercutt collection with Bob and Joyce in 2003, I consider the invitation to have the first '65 Mustang Hardtop on display as a fine tribute.
- Editor

Editor's Note: It was in the fall of 1964 when I met Lee lacocca at the Chicago Hilton. The occasion was the 2-hour introduction of the Ford lineup for the 1965 models. It was the year that we had been privileged to see - and photograph - the Ford '65 models while we were attending the (first) CTCI Convention in Dearborn, Michigan.
In addition to meeting the "Father of the Mustang," we met Henry Ford II and a number of other Ford executives who were in attendance at the elegant, albeit short. Ford unveiling of the '65 cars.

The Editor's Notebook- May 2009

the editors Notebook
Bert Eisenhour

IN SPITE OF ITS TRANSITORY BEAUTY, THE SNOW, WHICH GREETED US ON the morning of April 6th was most depressing to any owner of a collector car whose destiny is to live in the Midwest! While the dialogue for the lower picture on page 3 is mine, the facts remain: The driver was unaware of his extra "passenger" and he didn't suspect any problem - until his engine began over-heating!

The Mustang coverage on page 6 is included in this issue, since Bob Fria is a former member of CTCC. His # 1 Hardtop was featured at the Ford Centennial in 2003.

Thanks to Pete and Marylu Kramer, we will enjoy a Brunch/Meeting at their home on Sunday. June 14th. Details and directions appear on page 7. Mark the special date on your Calendar!

While the Air-Conditioning treatise (page 8) is quite obviously "tongue-in-cheek" (with the possible exception of #3), it is most interesting to note that photo #2 was submitted by the Elgin Police Department! We have a Redneck living in the Chicago suburbs? Page 9 features another edition of License Plates With a Message, thanks to Annie Luginbill! Thanks to Ken and Polly Kresmery, CTCC members are again invited to attend their super event - Day at the Hangar - on Sunday, August 23rd! Members attending last year's (13th Annual edition) reported having a marvelous time - plus a selection of excellent food-fare! COVER: (last para.): Should read ...... smaller 14" tires. [1955 &1956 T-Birds featured 15"tires.1

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring Tour- May 1-3, 2009

May 1-3, 2009

Friday, May 1- Participants join a regional caravan or drive on own to the Belvidere Oasis
1- Join a group leaving Ken & Kathy Smizinskis at 9:00 AM
2-Join a group leaving McDonalds (Butterfield & Rt. 53, Glen Ellyn) at 9:30 AM
3- Meet everyone at Belvidere Oasis- westbound I-90 (Milepost 54.5) by 10:45 AM
11:00 Am- Leave Belvidere Oasis
(Drive west on I-90 to I-39 to US-20 West to Winnebago Rd. Turn Left.
Turn Right just past the Pilot Station. Turn left at Cannell-Puri Ct. to Culvers)
11:30 AM- Lunch at Culvers- 807 Cannell-Puri Dr, Winnebago, IL
1:00 PM- Leave Culvers- drive 70 miles to Stoney Creek Inn- 940 Galena Square Dr.
(possible brief photo-op detour to the newly reopened Apple River Fort)
3:00 PM- Check in at Stoney Creek Inn
5:00 PM- Stoney Creek Inn "Northwoods Room" open for socializing (wine & beer provided)
6:30 PM- Pizza Party (sponsored by CTCC) "Northwoods Room"- Until 11:00 PM

Saturday, May 2- Continental breakfast in the Stoney Creek Inn breakfast room.
9:30 AM- Gather in Stoney Creek Inn parking lot to caravan into Galena- bring parking pass
(see Galena map for CTCC parking lot location)
10:00 AM- Trolley Tour of Galena including guided tour of The Dowling House (paid in full)
11:30 AM- Lunch and afternoon on your own.
Lunch suggestions:
Durty Gurts (235 N. Main) (see flyer- we liked it)
Boones Place (upstairs- 515 S. Main) (see flyer- we liked it)
Green Street Tavern & Restaurant- DeSoto House Hotel
Fritz and Frites- 317 North Main Street
American Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor- 102 North Main
One Eleven Main- 111 North Main
Vinny Vanucchis- 201 South Main (we liked it)
5:00 PM- Stoney Creek Inn "Northwoods Room" open for socializing
6:15 PM- Gather in Stoney Creek Inn parking lot to caravan to Dubuque, Iowa
(see driving directions and map)
7:00 PM- Arrive at Catfish Charlies (1630 E. 16th Street) and assemble for "Group Photo".
7:30 PM- Embark on American Lady for the "Sunset Dinner Cruise" (paid in full)
9:30 PM- Disembark American Lady and caravan back to Stoney Creek Inn.
(see driving directions and map)
10:00 PM- Stoney Creek Inn "Northwoods Room" open for socializing- until 11:00 PM

Sunday, May 3- Continental breakfast at Stoney Creek Inn (For those who cannot last until 10 AM)
9:30 AM- Gather in Stoney Creek Inn parking lot to caravan into Galena- bring parking pass
(see Galena map for CTCC parking lot location)
10:00 AM- Breakfast Buffet at The DeSoto House Hotel (separate checks)
12:00 Noon- Say goodbye to Galena and drive home (US-20 to I-39 to I-90 or I-88)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tech Session set for Apr-25-2009

Classic Thunderbird Club of Chicagoland


265 N. WAUKEGAN RD. - Lake Forest, Il. 60045

*****R.S.V.P. BEFORE APRIL 20, 2009*****
TEL: 847-234-2394 EMAIL: (





President's Report- April, 2009



We are all fully aware of the serious financial conditions of the American auto industry. This financial situation has made it necessary to request funds from the U.S. Treasury, although not as much as the banking industry was to receive. After much berating by the senators, funds were approved, along with many caveats to be instituted before the money would be forthcoming. That is, most senators voted in favor of the funding, with the exception of six southern senators who voted against funding. It must be noted that these states have large, foreign car plants. These plants were built in states that gave these companies the largest tax breaks; in essence, the general public is subsidizing these companies. It appears like these senators would like to have the American auto manufacturers go broke. Wonder why?

Immediately after the announcement was made, "Letters to the Editor" started to appear in all matter of print. Letters suggested that the American auto industry be allowed to disappear. Writers' claims of American cars being inferior to foreign brands - at one time, certainly - are no longer true. It seems that writers think of auto workers as being expendable. If the auto industry were to fail, human and monetary costs would be incalculable. Yes, there are problems in the industry, including salaries and benefits, but new policies and procedures are being established to address these issues. I would guess that many of these writers would have no problem attending sporting events where ticket prices are over one hundred dollars for a single ticket! In addition, a beer at seven dollars and a hot dog at five dollars are typical "add-on" expenses.

Most professional players receive at least 1-million dollars per year. Big names command 10's of millions - or more. Case in point: A pitcher for the New York Yankees will be paid $161 million for seven (7) seasons! This equates to $24.2 million per year. Starting major league pitchers will probably start 30 games a season, on average. Figuring 4 hours per game x 30 (games) equals 120 hours of actual pitching per season. Based on the foregoing, the payment figures to be $201.666 per hour! I don't see anyone complaining about these salaries. SO: Are we still complaining about salaries and benefits that the U.S. workers receive?

If it were not for the auto industry [production] during WWII, we would not be able to complain about anything!!!!

- Len Keil

The Editors Notebook- April, 2009

the editors Notebook

AS SPRING MAKES ITS OFFICIAL 2009 ENTRANCE, WE DO SEE some encouraging signs that will put our T-Birds back on-the-road! Moderating temperatures and no road-salt give us hope. Our hard-working Webmaster, Joel Greenberg, has indicated that he will be listing the routing for the Spring Tour about one-week prior to the event. If you are signed up for the Tour, be sure to check out the CTCC Website in advance of the departure date - May 1st.

As mentioned in this column last month, e-mail from member, Dave Zornig, mentioned the fact that he had found a brochure covering one of the several attempts to market Replicas! It was this note (in 2008) that spurred my interest in a 'review' of the efforts by six different firms. The information is presented on pages 9 and 10 of this issue.

The picture of the Pavlak's Studebaker Hawk (page 6) was taken at the CCCA Car Show at Oak Brook Shopping Center on Father's Day, last June. The Greater Illinois Region of the CCCA annual display of approximately 100 cars is a major fund-raiser for the Club.

The rear-cover photo was received at press-time, so details of the special T-Bird event will be published in the May issue. Perry Anthony reports that the outing found 33 members of their Smoky Mountain Club enjoying the Terry Evanswood Magic Show and party!

Will you and your T-Bird be traveling the Illinois Highways before April1st?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ad- Holiday Magazine, November, 1954

See Editors Notebook, March, 2009 for an explanation of this ad.

Testing Fuel and Temperature Gauges



To test your temperature or fuel gauges to determine if the gauge needs to be replaced or calibrated, the following techniques will help.

6 volt applications: If you pass a 1.5 volt charge across the fuel gauge posts and the gauge reads 1/2 scale, then the gauge is okay.
If you ground the temperature gauge when the car is cold, it should go all the way to the HOT side of the gauge.

12 volt applications: For the fuel gauge, when passing a 3 volt charge across the posts, it should read 1/2 scale, or 4 volts should read 3/4 scale.
For the temperature gauge, 3 volts should read 1/2 scale, and 4 volts should read 1/4 scale.

From ThunderEnlightening, Casco, November 2008

Friday, March 20, 2009

Food Pantry Donations


photo- CTCC donations to the Food Pantry

Thank you to all who donated personal care items in our first endeavor to help fill the bin at the food pantry of the People's Resource Center in Wheaton. CTCC Pizza Party guests contributed a total of 126 items ranging from shampoo to shaving cream. We even received a playful stuffed frog which will find its way into a child's birthday bag. The food pantry is open eight times a week for once-a-month visits by low income residents. Last year, 5,618 families received provisions from People's Resource Center food pantries. This equaled 23,293 grocery carts filled with food and, if available, one thing from the "personal items" bin which CTCC has helped stock.

The one weekly shift that Bill and I help staff serves 30 to 35 families. Doing the math, the CTCC donation will last less than a week. Please consider bringing full size personal care items (shampoo is a favorite of the clients) to the March 12 meeting at Russell's to again help fill the bin.

Thank you so much for your most gracious generosity.
- LizWerth

CTCI Annual Meeting Report- 2009


As being CTCI Region 2 Director had never been on my radar until last summer when I was asked to accept the position, I had no idea what to expect when Bill and I journeyed to Long Beach, CA for the Annual CTCI Board of Directors 2-day meeting beginning on February 6. What I experienced was a well-run meeting during which I learned an enormous amount of information about the inner workings of our International Club. The eleven Board members around the table and the committee members and others sitting around the room engaged in well thought out discussions throughout the two days. We learned about the two 2009 Regional Conventions (Tulsa - July 2-5 and Vancouver - Aug. 18-20) and the International Convention to be held in Dayton, Ohio (June 15-20, 2010). We approved the 2009 CTCI budget and heard from various appointed Chairpersons. I urge you to read about the meeting in an upcoming issue of the Early Bird. If you have any questions about CTCI or wish the CTCI Board to address an issue, please feel free to contact me. I will do my utmost to represent the 18 clubs in Region 2 to the best of my ability.

- LizWerth

Cover- March 2009

The 1955 model had a removable hardtop with a 102 inch wheelbase chassis that was 175.3 inches overall. The engine was a Mercury 292 cubic inch V-8, exclusive to the Thunderbird line, which had 198 horsepower with the automatic and 193 horsepower with the manual transmission.

The first Thunderbird came off the Dearborn assembly line October 22,1954 and had at least 4,000 orders waiting on the first day of production. Over 16,000 units of the 1955 Thunderbird were ultimately sold. The car sold for a base price of $2,695 with the convertible selling for $2,765 and was available in five colors: Thunderbird Blue, Raven Black, Snowshoe White, Goldenrod Yellow, and Torch Red. All cars had vinyl upholstery matching the exterior paint color.

This month, we feature another one of the several Ford Motor Company Thunderbird advertisements included in The Thunderbird Anthology CD. Note that the "history" indicates the 1st 1955 production date as: October 22, 1954. Most references record this date as being September 9, 1954 (the S/N 100005 once owned by the late George Watts). The remains of the 1955 bearing S/N 100004, found in a Pennsylvania field in 1974, bore Data Plate information showingAugust 25,1954 as the production schedule. - Editor

The Editor's Notebook- March 2009

the editor's NOTEbook

AS WINTER MAINTAINS ITS ICY AND SNOWY GRIP ON THE MIDWEST, we anxiously await the sign of the first returning Spring robin!

Meanwhile, we turn our attention to the CTCC Calendar [pg. 2] for the New Year. Please note an important change for the June Meeting: Thanks to the Kramers, our Meeting will be at their home in Hinsdale on Sunday. June 14th. Look for directions/info for the Brunch Meeting (which will start at 11:45 a.m.) in a future issue. Save the date.

Thanks to Ken and Polly Kresmery, CTCC members are once again invited to attend their Annual Day at the Hangar event! (For a PREVIEW of the many unique attractions available, refer to page 8 of the July, 2008 issue of Bird News.) Plan to be there!

As you will note from the cover, this marks the first issue in our 48th year of publication! The cover photo, from the Thunderbird Anthology CD, is quite obviously from the (early) Ford files. A close look at the top of the fenders reveals the beginnings of a Fairlane trim-stripe! The Ford ad that is featured on page 6 appeared in November, 1954 issue of HOLIDAY MAGAZINE. Bob Burgess, a member of TARTC, noted the following when the ad was reproduced in Little Bird Talk some time back: "... at least two ads were released showing the stainless steel stripe. A similar ad appeared in the Oct. 23-1954 issue of The Saturday Evening Post."

Inspired by a 2008 e-mail from Dave Zornig, the back-cover shows one of the Replica 'Birds.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009



'SUBSCRIPTION MEMBER': Their only Club activity is reading BIRD NEWS. How many times have members read the CTCC Membership Roster and wondered, with all these members, why are only one-third ever seen?

Currently we have 111 members; yet the largest turn out for a recent event was the 2008 Christmas Party, which 62 persons attended. Even the free pizza party and summer picnic do not bring out more than one third of the membership. The active Club members would enjoy meeting the other two-thirds of the Club membership. If part of the reason you haven't attended any Club meeting or outing is due to not having an operable T-Bird, don't worry. In fact, you dont even need to own a T-Bird, just be an avid enthusiast!

Your Club has arranged a variety of activities for this year. Look thru the Calendar of Events in BIRD NEWS and try to attend whenever possible. In the coming months, there will be a Tech-Session and a Spring Tour; read BIRD NEWS for all the necessary information. If you would like to suggest some other event, contact any Board Member with your idea. Better still, attend one of the general Club meetings and present your idea.

Certainly, we realize that all members can't attend all events, due to circumstances or choice, but we would like to put a face with your name.

Give your Club a try; you will be pleasantly surprised. CTCC is comprised of a great group of T-Bird enthusiasts.

- Len Keil

Saturday, March 7, 2009


AT ABOUT 8:17 P.M. ON SATURDAY, JAN. 17™, the gleaming Black 1955 Ford Thunderbird came to rest on stage at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, AZ.

The much-anticipated arrival of Lot 1295 was its history as being the "1st Production 1955", bearing S/N 100005! The 'Bird was "discovered" by the late George Watts, who upon noting the S/N - on his 2nd visit to a shop in Santa Ana, CA - decided to acquire the wreck for the asking price of... $500! (This did include a host of new parts.)

The (surprisingly low) opening bid: $75,000. Succeeding bids of $85K, $125K $150K and $160K followed quickly, reaching $170K less than a minute later!

George Watts gathered the many new parts for his "find" and began the long period of research and restoration required to return this special T-Bird to its original condition. The effort was not only time consuming, but quite costly - even 40 + years ago.

BIDDING- $185K and $200K at 8:19

Naturally, George was inspired to ascertain the Production Number of his "005," and an inquiry to the Ford Motor Company yielded a response declaring that his was ths first production 1955 Thunderbird. The Ford correspondence was sent to George (via Air Mail) on February 8, 1966.

BIDDING- $210K, $225K, $235K, $250K @ 8:20

The "blood-line" established by the Ford letter held sway until 1974 when Jeff Barnes located a '55 relic in a field in Pennsylvania. This (modified) 'Bird bore S/N 100004 with the Build Date indicated as August 25,1954. Speculation abounded: could this be a counterfeit or was it in actuality the "oldest" 1955 Thunderbird?

BIDDING- $275K, $300K, $325K, $350K, $375K, $400K, $450K, $475K & $500K at 8:22.

As George's daughter, Leslie Paino, intoned her emotional ties to the very special 'Bird -prior the start of bidding - B-J staff displayed the (framed) Ford certification letter to the bidders. This critical document was obviously the driving force in the minds of the last two aggressive bidders!

BIDDING- $525K (Phone) 8:22.30, $550K at 8:23

The "005" T-Bird bidding was now reaching a commanding dollar amount; could the high bid reach the one-million mark as some had predicted?

BIDDING- $575,000 at 8:23.30

Auction floor personnel now cajoled the two remaining bidders to even higher numbers, stressing the rarity of this particular Thunderbird.......

FINAL BID- $600,000 at 8:24

NOTE: The buyer's outlay, with the 10% fee totaled: $660,000!

* At one time, George Watts was the proud owner of the one-millionth Thunderbird as well as the "001"'Bird! -Ed.