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