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.

Cover- February 2009 Bird News


This month, our Cover once again draws on the [CD] - Thunderbird Anthology - for a very interesting photograph. Note that the 'Bird has a small windscreen, no rear-bumper, a weight reducing drilled hood, & special wheels. Other features, e.g., the drilled trunk &Add Image hinges appear in the photos on page 7.

Gallery: The 1957 Ford Battlebird

At the behest of Ford, the '57 Ford Battlebird was built by Peter DePaolo Engineering to compete against the Chevrolet Corvette at Daytona. Four cars were built in total. Two were essentially stackers, and two were modified. Only one of the modified Battlebirds survives and that car is powered by a stroked 312 Y-blocked backed up by a Jaguar gearbox. Not long after the Battlebirds took the fight to the Corvettes, manufacturers began to back out of racing, and the 'birds were sold off. User 'xseabee 1' has posted a small gallery of Battlebird photos on Webshots and there is a good frontal photo on Serious Wheels.

The Battlebird's 312 is stroked to 348-cid.


Photo 3-

Cover- January 2009 Bird News

Yesteryear~ Shown here is an illustration of a "1955 1/2" Thunderbird Replica, which was advertised by Regal ROADSTERS some years ago. The company, located in Madison, Wisconsin, was one of several builders who attempted to replicate the original T-Bird and capitalize on its continuing popularity as a collector car. One of the most familiar names is Shay Reproductions, a company that offered Model A Ford and 1955 T-Bird Replicas! Located in Battle Creek, Michigan, Shay required a $1,000 deposit with any order for a T-Bird. Thunderbird CLASSIC Motor Car Reproduction, located in Los Angeles, California, offered a 1957 T-Bird reproduction.

Most offerings utilized Ford, 4-cylinder engines and standard chassis/drive-train components, as well as brakes and suspension. (The California group brochure listed four available 1957 grades, the Custom model being equipped with a V-8.)

Public acceptance was marginal, at best; these replicas, appearing in the 70s and 80s, were priced in the $25,000 range, the relatively high cost driving away many potential buyers.

Cover- December 2008 Bird News

This month, we again feature one of the many photos included in The Thunderbird Anthology CD. This is a very interesting (1957) photo, one that shows a Sponsored (Champ/on Spark Plugs and Pure Oil Thunderbird ready to start a "clocked" run. (A 2nd '57 is lined-up behind the 'Bird, in position for its "speed run.")
Note the extensive taped headlight protection as well as the taped gas filler cover! The wheel covers have been removed, providing a (slight) reduction in weight. The driver is wearing a rather primitive helmet, offering scant roll over protection in the absence of a roll bar! - Editor

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What is a T-Bird Worth?


While most people at the Scottsdale, Arizona Barrett-Jackson Auction were focused on the "#1 Production '55" 'Bird, there were a number of other classics:

Photo: 1st Production T-Bird, S/N 100005



"E" 101,200
"F" 137,500

* THE S/N 100005 "Watts" T-BIRD
"E" = DUAL-QUAD (270 HP)
NOTE: Above sales prices include the 10% Buyer's Fee.
Thus, the high-bid for the "005" T-Bird was: $600,000.

Presidents Report- Feb. 2009



On the masthead of the BIRD-NEWS you will find all the names and responsibilities of all Board Members. Next to Bob Wenderski you will find the Title of Librarian. The obvious question to the uninitiated, what does a librarian have to do with a car club? Obvious answer: to organize, catalog all T-Bird related materials. For example: shop manuals of every description, chassis, engine trim etc. The collection includes related magazines of all descriptions, and nearly any article ever written about our 'Birds - from day one to the present time.

Your club has the most in depth-collection of this material to be found - anywhere!

Think you have a problem or situation unique to your T-Bird; think again, any "happening" is most likely covered in this library.

Alas, our CTCC library is not fully used by club members, this writer included. Maybe, with this editorial, more members will take advantage of this great source of information.
Bob is known for his absolute pursuit of perfection, as evidenced by his Gold Medallion '55; his quest for perfection rolls over to his stewardship of this great library.

Since the CTCC Spring Tech Session (tentatively) scheduled to beld at Bob's garage in April of 2009, this event would be a perfect time to check out your Club's extensive library.

With winter here, and most projects on our 'Birds soon to start, it is an ideal time to utilize this treasure trove of information.

Contact Bob at anytime for library access.

- Len Keil

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Winter Dance Party


Despite the near zero weather, 40 'Bird members and friends made their way to the Willowbrook Ballroom in Willow Springs. It was a sell out with 1,100 in attendance. It was the scene of the Winter Dance Party 5Oth Anniversary, which was a tribute to Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper who all tragically died in a private plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa in 1959. What a great show they presented — while we snacked on pizza, nachos, hot dogs, popcorn etc., they each, in their own style, brought us back to the our high school days (at least some of us). Some of our "younger members" had only heard of these performers, but still enjoyed the special evening. Many of us took to the dance floor and danced to the ever so familiar melodies such as Buddy Holly's Peggy Sue, Maybe Baby, It's So Easy. Richie Valens LaBomba and Oh Donna, and The Big Bopper's Chantilly Lace and Running Bear, along with at least 300 dancers on the dance floor. It was a memorable evening with the mirror ball spinning, and the ballroom recalling the "old days."

The history of the Willowbrook Ballroom goes back to the 1920's when it was known as O' Henry Ballroom and it became home to the biggest and best bands of the day throughout each decade. What a privilege to be able to still spin around the ballroom today. This tribute concert is an annual event, and hopefully, we can make this a repeat event next year, since it was enjoyed by so many of our members.

The awards for coming the farthest were: Len and Mary Keil (Johnsburg), Lloyd and Joan Schellin along with two of their friends (Garden Prairie), Joe and Sandy Kraatz (Valparaiso, IN), and Tom and Alice Wolfe (WestDundee). Also enjoying the evening were: Gordon Gluff and Mary, Len and Irene Vinyard, Perry and Cindy O'Kano, Bill and Liz Werth with two friends, Ken and Kathy Smizinski, Ron and Donna Pavlak, Paul and Urszula Mounts, Pete and Marylu Kramer, Larry Johnson and Sue and two of their friends, friends of Bob Hoge, Larry and Karen Kelly and two of their friends, and Dave and Marian Pogorski.

- Marylu Kramer

FORD sells for $1,000,000 Plus


No, the heading is not a typo; it is in fact true for a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor! The beautifully restored vintage aircraft was sold for $1,210.000 at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona!

In May of 2000, Dan Mrozek made arrangements for our Club members to ride in a Ford Tri-Motor during our tour to Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Monday, March 2, 2009


the editor's NOTEbook

AS MOST OF YOU ALREADY KNOW, T-BIRD HISTORY WAS MADE IN Scottsdale, Arizona when the Barrett-Jackson Auction gavel fell at $600,000 for the First Production 1955 Ford Thunderbird! See page 9 for the story on this historic landmark for the S/N 100005 T-Bird.

The CTCC event for February - the Annual Pizza Party and Meeting -is one of the best-attended outings, year after year! Could it be that the FREE Pizza motivates us to brave the bone-chilling WlNTER COLD? In any case, mark your calendar for Thursday, Feb. 12th and plan to join us! See page 10 for Directions; Bob Hoge will present the 2009 Budget.

The Cover Photo this month features the storied BATTLEBIRD, #98 being one of two all-out race-cars commissioned by the Ford Motor Company. The photo is from one of the many featured in The ThunderbIrd Anthology CD. CTCI member, Gil Baumgartner, was instrumental in providing the meticulous attention to detail in the restoration of this particular 'Bird. Gil is the Authenticity Co-Chairman for CTCI, a position that eminently qualified him for this unique restoration task.

We suspect that Liz Werth, our Region 2 Director, is by now packing for the trip to California to attend the CTCI Annual Board-of-Director's Meeting! Of course. Bill will also be flying west, in anticipation of finding some sunny - and warm - days to break our Midwest cold spell!

Thanks to member, Perry Anthony, for his B-J telephone call - and pics! (See Back Cover.)