Sunday, December 7, 2014

Holiday Party- 2014

2014 - Holiday Party Report

Sixty people attended the annual Holiday Party at Chandler's Chop House.  We were seated at tables of eight, all with great views of the "Year In Review" showing continuously. Guests received oil filters and a copy of the "Year In Review" DVD produced by Pete and Steve Kramer. The tables were set with two buckets of Hershey's kisses and colorful centerpieces topped with a bottle of wine from "Dougie's Nonsense Vinyard" sitting in a Thunderbird. Tom Bruin Presented Doug with a plaque honoring his contribution of nonsense to CTCC activities.  At each guest's place was a handmade Thunderbird cookie, purchased to benefit the People's Resource Center/Food Pantry to which the club members have continued to generously donate.

Following the cocktail hour and delicious dinner, President Ken Smizinski made a few announcements. Liz Werth read Bert and Jane Eisenhour's nomination letter and announced the winner of the Bert Eisenhour Award - Jim Wilson. Tom Bruin presented Ken Smizinski with the first ever Knucklehead Award, for excellence in Thunderbird Mechanics. Ken Smizinski and Joel Greenberg drew names for the door-prize raffle. Everyone went home with several gifts.

Many thanks to Ken and Kathy Smizinski for planning the party, making the name cards and obtaining the oil filters and many of the door prizes - including bottles of wine, to Tom Bruin for dreaming up and creating the wine and knucklehead awards, to Pete Kramer and his son, Steve, for the Year-In Review show and DVDs, to Liz and Bill Werth for the cookies and candy, and to all those who donated items for the door prizes. Once again, it was a fun night in a nice venue with good friends. 

Liz Werth

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cedarburg- 2014

Cedarburg Sunday

Taking advantage of the beautiful weather, nine people met at the Lake Forest Oasis at 9:30 AM on Sunday, Oct. 26. Four little 'birds and one new 'bird caravanned to Cedarburg, WI. After parking in a nice big lot adjacent to very clean public restrooms, we visited some shops while waiting for others to open. The town was pretty deserted and we had many of the shops to ourselves. Eventually the ladies rejoined the men and we all headed to Morton's Wisconsinn. Many of us ordered the famous Bloody Mary and some had the French Onion Soup. We all enjoyed our meals and several kept an eye on the disastrous Bear's game. Following lunch and the "group photo", we visited a few more shops and then headed for the cars and the trip home. Thank you to Len and Mary Keil for planning and leading this fun last-minute day-trip. Also participating were Sue Wenderski and her sister, Carla Dusa, Debbie Powless, Tom and Judy Bruin and Liz and Bill Werth.

Liz Werth

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Crandall's and more

Sunday, October 12 was a beautiful day for a drive. Thirty-one members met at Crandall's to enjoy a delicious buffet. Bob Hoge, the day's planner, filled us in on the schedule for the day. After our brunch, we caravanned to Richmond. At the four-way stop in Hebron, a local policeman stopped all traffic so that we could glide through the intersection without difficulty. In Richmond, the group split up and explored the shops, ate ice cream and fudge or sat on the small town square. The caravan to the Eddie Cash Music Hall in Genoa City, WI started out with the help of Bob Sroka who stopped traffic so that we could all get through a stop sign. Once at the Music Hall, some availed themselves of the caramel popcorn samples and others ordered Spotted Cow beer or some wine. Once in the theater, we were treated to two hours of wonderfully nostalgic music and stories about how Eddie met many performers. During the intermission, several of us spoke with Mr. Cash about a possible CTCC outing to the Music Hall. It was a great day and we thank Bob and Helen Hoge for planning it. Taking part in all or some of the activities were: Bob & Helen Hoge, Ken & Kathy Smizinski, Joel Greenberg & Annie Luginbill, Gordon Gluff & Mary Ziemba, Lee & Gina Bakakos, Gail Hascek, Mike & Laura Cielenski, Bob & Barb Sroka, Doug Rogers, Tom Bruin, Pete & Lisa Ekstrom, new members Tom & Joanne Jacobi, Dan Mrozek & Arlene Figlia, Dan & Karen Anderson, Andy & Kathy Rominiecki, Len & Mary Keil and Bill & Liz Werth.

Liz Werth

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Johnsburgs Sufen Und Spiel Parade- 2014

On a beautiful Sept. 7th Sunday morning, 11 T-Birds gathered at the Keil's for a breakfast of bagels & cream cheese, coffeecake & rolls, assorted breads, coffee and juice. The group, Dan Anderson, Tom & Judy Bruin, Joel Greenberg, Art Hahl, Bob & Helen Hoge, Len & Mary Keil, Pete Kramer, Jerry & Doreen Michna, Doug & Soon Rogers,  Ken & Kathy Smizinski, and Bill & Liz Werth, then departed for the Staging Area. The ladies took their chairs and, yes, plastic bags for candy, to a spot along the road to watch the parade.  Liz, with her trusty camera, took pictures of the fun.  All enjoyed the cars, tractors, fire department equipment, tumblers, bands, karate groups, scouts, and of course, local politicians as the parade passed by our group. After the parade, we gathered at the park for liquid refreshments and our cars were displayed for a mini car show--we were a big hit with everyone. The group went back to the Keil's for a late lunch of It. sausage sandwiches, sloppy joe's, hot dogs, baked beans, apple pie & ice cream. Johnsburg looks forward to the T-Birds being part of the parade again next year.   

Mary Keil  

Friday, September 5, 2014

Volo Mustang and Tbird show- 2014

Little Birds:

Len - 1st   '57 Willow Green
Bob H. - 2nd  '56 Peacock Blue
Andy R. 3rd  '57 Starmist Blue


Jim Elijah 1st   '59 Blue  CV
Pete Kramer 2nd '63 Red Roadster
Best of Show - Jim Elijah  '59 blue CV

This is the second year in a row that a T-Bird took Best of Show.  Pete won last year.   There were easily 250 Mustangs there and about 15 T-Birds.  They're going to stop inviting us if we keep taking the Best of Show trophy.

Andy Rominiecki

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Day At The Hangar- 2014

Day at the Hangar

Ken Kresmery and Sons welcomed several hundred guests to Ken's hangars at the Poplar Grove Airport on Sunday, August 17. The day was overcast, but warm, so very nice. The guests who drove their antique cars parked them across the drive from Ken's Hangars so that all could admire them. Among those attending were twenty-four CTCC members, families and friends: Dan Anderson and Karen Anderson, Lloyd Schellin, Jim and Jane Wilson, Joe and Barb Esdale, Dan Mrozek & Arlene Figlia and Dan's family members, Len & Mary Keil and their family members, Bob and Helen Hoge and their friend from Florida, Gordon Gluff and Bill & Liz Werth. Ken's brats, hot dogs, sweet corn and ice cream from a freezer cart were seemingly unlimited as were the numerous side dishes and abundant desserts contributed by the attendees. Water, pop and beer on tap kept everyone hydrated. Quite a few people drove Ken's cars and enjoyed flights in one of his airplanes. This was Ken's 19th Annual Day at the Hangar and the seventh one CTCCers have been invited to attend. Thank you, Ken, for your generous and gracious hospitality! 

Mount Prospect Features TBirds

The Mount Prospect commuter parking lot was the location of the BluesMobile Cruise Night hosted by the Mount Prospect Downtown Merchant's Association on Saturday, August 16. CTCC (including one prospective member) contributed twenty-two vehicles to the display. Nineteen classic Thunderbirds lined up to present a wonderful tableau! The evening weather could not have been better. Those in attendance enjoyed pizza and drinks provided by CTCC. It was a wonderful night of socializing and seeing lots of antique cars. Thank you, Ken and Kathy Smizinski for arranging a super outing!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

3rd Civil Affairs Group Family Day

Family Day at Great Lakes, Il.

Sgt. Major Miller contacted Ken Smizinski about having CTCC participate in Family Day for Marines, sailors, and families of the Third Civil Affairs Group.  Several of us met at the Lake Forest Oasis and caravanned to 2205 Depot Drive in Great Lakes, Il. for the first anniversary of the Marine Group.

Six Thunderbirds and Bob and Barb Srokas  1937 LaSalle with a 350cu. Chevrolet engine made up the CTCC contingent.  Bill and Liz Werth brought their Blue 1955 TBird.  The five 1957 TBirds were Dan Mrozek with Dusk Rose, Len Vinyard with Black, Joel  Greenberg and Annie Luginbill Inca Gold, Lee Bakakos with Coral Sand, and my Colonial White car. Dan Anderson and Gina Bakakos came later in the day.

Fire apparatus and antique military vehicles were on display and there was a K9 demonstration.  The Marines provided ample food and beverages.  We lined up and filled our plates with grilled hamburgers and brats, cole slaw, potato salad, and various kinds of bagged chips.  Water and Gatorade were passed out by the servicemen.

Colonel  Lee, First Sgt. Hidalgo, and Staff Sgt. Loebe all chatted with us, expressed their appreciation, and are interested in seeing us again next year.    

Jim Wilson             

Monday, August 11, 2014

2014 Picnic


Joan and Lloyd Schellin welcomed forty-nine picnickers to their Garden Prairie farm on August 9. The weather cooperated beautifully. Those present enjoyed a multitude of appetizers highlighted by the huge salmon caught and prepared by Ed Levin and Rose Kovalenko. Dan Mrozek, Jr. served as chief pork chop and hamburger griller while several men shucked the just picked corn (donated, we were told, by the Corvette Club). The serving tables groaned under the weight of the beans, salads and fruits. No one could have possibly gone away hungry. And let's not forget the many dessert choices on the table along with Mary Keil's version of Paul Mount's coconut cake. Soda, water, beer, wine and coffee rounded out the perfect buffet.

Ken called the Membership meeting to order at 5:25. He thanked Lloyd and Joan for their gracious hospitality. He then talked about the upcoming cruise night in Mt. Prospect. Joel Greenberg updated people on the next day's trip to Great Lakes. Pete Kramer talked about the September Annual Meeting with a program by Mitch Frumkin from the Chicago Auto Show. Pete Ekstrom talked about the Fall tour. Tom Bruin showed the group the CTCC grill medallions and those who attended the Orland Park car show received theirs while other members purchased them. Annie Luginbill talked about the Renaissance Faire. The group sang Happy Birthday to Kathy Smizinski. Doug Rogers gave Joan Schellin a "hostess gift" from the "House of Lloyd". Madeline Zambon talked about the many Jim Beam containers she is selling in preparation for her move. Ken and Liz raffled off six items donated by Madeline. Liz thanked the members for their generous donations of diapers and food for the Food Pantry. The group applauded the successful conclusion of treatments for Ed Levin, Larry Kelly and Bill Balogh. The meeting concluded at 5:55.

As with the set-up, many pitched in to help clean up. The leftover pop and water will be used at future outings and tours. Thank you to Joan and Lloyd for hosting 

Liz Werth

Monday, July 28, 2014

Westmont Cruise Night

Westmont Cruise Night- Vettes vs T-birds

Beautiful weather was enjoyed by 17 members at the Westmont Cruise Night on July 24.Pete and Marylu Kramer had arranged for us to sit at the front row of  patio tables at J. Flemings Absolutely Delicious restaurant, across the street from our row of T-Birds. Everyone had a nice meal.

The balance of the evening was spent walking the three blocks of Cass Avenue admiring the 183 cars in attendance, shopping at the vendor booths, listening to the live band and chatting with each other. The Theme for the night was Vettes vs T- Birds. While the T-Birds were way outnumbered by the Corvettes, in this totally biased reporters opinion, the T-Birds were the winners!

Experiencing the extraordinarily lovely evening were Pete and Marylu Kramer, Bob and Barb Sroka, Gordon Gluff and Mary Ziemba, Haig Garabedian, Ron Pavlak, Gail Hascek, Laura and Mike Cielenski, bob and Helen Hoge, Ed Levin and Rose Kovalenko and Bill and Liz Werth.

Liz Werth

Board Report


In lieu of the Presidents Report, this month we are presenting a report from the Board.

We have had a pretty full calender of events so far this year.  This started with our largest Tech Session, when 34 members and friends gathered at the garage of  Bob Wenderski where, among other things, we heard a presentation on car care from Jim Heidel, a spokesman and representative from Turtle Wax. After lunch, a number of members finished the day by viewing a private car collection which Bob arranged for us to tour.

Beautiful weather prevailed for our Spring Tour - a four-day outing to Springfield, Illinois, coordinated by Len and Mary Keil. Our large turnout was augmented by participation from several neighboring clubs and representatives from CTCI honoring us with their participation. While this was our clubs fourth trip to Springfield, we always find something new and different to see and experience each time we go there.

Cruises and car shows have occupied many weekends and evenings. After spending a Saturday driving around the community of Crystal Lake, which included a visit to a downtown shopping center, members in eight cars showed up at a surprise 80th birthday party for Cora Claypool. (Her family had contacted the club via the Internet about providing her with the opportunity to cross a ride in a 1957 Thunderbird off her bucket list.) While she got to ride in both a 1957 and a 1956 Thunderbird, which thrilled her immensely, the rest of us put on a show for the other party guests.  From there, it was off to the Dog and Suds opening car show of the season where we were joined by additional club members.

Mike and Laura Cielenski coordinated a lunch at White Fence Farms on Route 66 in Romeoville, giving members an opportunity to get together once again.

Our club was also contacted by the management firm for several shopping centers in the southern suburbs of Chicago, requesting us to do a couple of car shows. The first  one we did at the Orland Park Crossing drew over a dozen members and several T-Birds from non-members. This presented us with an opportunity to recruit new members; although that has not panned out yet, contacts have been made. Unfortunately, our second show, at the Kensington Center in Plainfield, for which 15 members signed up, was cancelled due to thunderstorms that morning.

The Board has purchased 25 grill medallions with the club logo. It was initially decided to give one to any member who participated in both of these car shows. However, with the second show being a rain-out, we will have to rethink what we want to do with them. The balance of the medallions were to be made available to club members at cost.

For our next event, 20 members and 10 cars are scheduled to go to Bristol Renaissance Faire this Saturday, July 19th. This will be the fourth year we have visited the Faire. Other members who will not be able to go with the club have purchased our discount tickets and will be going on their own later in the summer as their schedules permit.

Club members and their Thunderbirds have been participating in numerous local car shows so far this summer.

The calendar for the remainder of the driving season is just as loaded with activities for club members to do together. Included are our annual picnic and Fall Tour. Check the Calender of Events on the web site or in the Bird News for details.

Joel Greenberg

White Fence Farm

White Fence Farm

It was a warm and bright sunny Sunday  June.  We all congregated in the parking lot of White Fence Farm  and then proceeded in to enjoy lunch.  As we ordered drinks and waited for our lunch to be served, Ken held a brief meeting. Ken went over the upcoming calendar of events for the club. Pete Kramer spoke about the upcoming cruise night in downtown Westmont on July 24th. While  Joel Greenberg and Annie gave an update on Bristol in July.  Annie also handed out items for the ladies in the club who were going to be attending the Faire. Pete Eckstrom spoke about the upcoming fall tour to East Troy and said he and Lisa were going back up in July to plan the details. Ken ended the meeting with a drawing for a $50 gift certificate for NPD.  The winner of the drawing was Laura Cielenski.

Lunch was served and all enjoyed either chicken, shrimp, steak and much more.  Of course there always is excitement for the club and sometimes things don't run as smoothly as you would like especially when it came to the separate checks. Sorry to all those who attended for the mishap. But I think everyone still enjoyed the afternoon.  Some club members stayed on to view the antiques and classic cars in the restaurant museum area , as others either visited the petting zoo or talked around their cars and then went home.

We had 34 in attendance and we Thank all those who came.  Ken & Kathy Smizinski, Len & Mary Keil, Len & Irene Vinyard, Doug & Soon Hee Rogers, Pete & Marilou Kramer, Joe & Sandy Kraatz, Kami Woody, Pete & Lisa Eckstrom, Joel Greenberg & Annie Luginbill, Larry & Karen Kelly, Dan Mrozek & Arlene Figlia, Bob & Barbara Sroka, Jim & Jane Wilson, Bud & Cindy Kryszak , Haig Garabedian, Ron Pavlak, Gordon Gluff & Mary Ziemba, Gail Hascek and Mike & Laura Cielenski.

By Laura Cielenski

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Bristol Renaissance Faire

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!  My Lords and Ladies  The Queen is Coming

An event where you adorn yourself with your Sundays best.  A once in a lifetime experience, July 19th, we all enjoyed the pomp and circumstance of her arrival at the Bristol Renaissance Faire  Those attending were:  Tom & Judy Bruin, Bill & Liz Werth, Jim & Jane Wilson, Bob & Barbara Sroka, Len & Mary Keil, Bob & Helen Hoge (A HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO HELEN), Lloyd & Joan Schellin, Joel Greenberg & Annie Luginbill, and as late arrival were Len & Irene Vinyard with family.

As we entered the gates, 16th century Old England awaits.  Step back in time to meet the Queen and here court as they travel to Bristol to escape the summer heat of London.  We were able to view her arrival as the parade past by.  A full compliment of servants, entertainers, ladies in waiting, Royal Guard and Beefeaters formed the procession.  Behind these were the soothsayers, jesters, witches and peasants.

All were able to eat, drink, and make merry while roaming amongst, jousting knights, and saucy wenches.  Entertainment included, knife throwing, archery, whip demonstrations, female sword fighting, Bagpipes with Scottish dancers as well as many games and stages of the improv troops performances.  There were also Shoppes exhibiting all kinds of hand-crafted items, costumes, glass, pottery, Jewelry and much more.

With all this frolicking and cavorting it leaves one in need of food and drink.  A bountiful supply of refreshments from the giant turkey legs to ice-cold sassafras, beers and ales were always just a step away.  You could rest around the Maypole where the Steampunk costume contest showed us all an imaginative array of apparel.

We finished our day by viewing a standing room only arena while watching the Knights joust to the final victor becoming the Grand Knight.

Thank you to all that attended, and a special thanks to Joel and Annie for arranging an excursion that we will all remember.  HUZZAH!!!

Barbara Sroka

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Orland Park Crossing Show

Orland Park Crossing Display
Saturday, June 14, was a bright, sunny 48 degree morning ideal for a drive in a Thunderbird.  Hearing horror stories about traffic tie-ups due to Kennedy Expressway construction I left home at 6:35 AM and was the first to arrive at Orland Park Crossing.   I saw the parking lot blocked off with barricades and Joel Greenberg came soon afterward.  When all had arrived we had 13 members participating in the event.  Haig Garabedian came from LaGrange with a white 1956 TBird.  Ken Smizinski,  Len Vinyard, Larry and Karen Kelly,  Doug Rogers,  Lee Bakakos,  Ed Levin and Rose Kovalenko, Pete Kramer drove Thunderbirds.  Tom Bruin came in a Shelby Mustang and Bob and Barbara Sroka in their 1937 LaSalle. Also, 2 non club members came in their 2 seat Thunderbirds
Ken Smizinski has a Midtronics battery, starting, and charging tester.  Both Len Keil and Vinyard tested OK.  The tape for my car read Replace Battery.  Better to know now!
The Club provided a 4 foot long submarine sandwich, chips, and pop for lunch.  Ken kept slicing  the sub until we all had plenty to eat.
We were visited by several General Motors vehicles during the day as there was a Pontiac show at the bank across 143rd  St .  Phil Bianco Jr. parked his 100% stock restored 1956 Chevy BelAir hard top with a Sierra Gold and Adobe Beige paint scheme and reminisced with club members about the old days.  A radically customized orange early 50s Chevy (The only way one could tell was the roof line) parked with the TBirds for a time.
A 1969 Malibu and stray Pontiacs cruised through the lot.
The shopping center people were most appreciative and want our Club to do more displays.  I steered clear of LaGrange Rd. and I 55 upon leaving and encountered no serious traffic on I 355.
 By Jim Wilson 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bristol Renaissance Faire


Get ready for something different this year:...

What is Steampunk? Per the internet: "Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction
that portrays a world where steam is king: without higher technologies to replace it, steam
is the dominant source of power, leading to the creation of strange, new technologies which
dominate an entirely new society. It is wildly cool, featuring tons of intriguing little things that
reshape the world entirely. Even style is different in this steam-oriented world featuring
steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western
civilization during the 19th century. Books are often set in an alternative history of the 19th
century's British Victorian era or American 'Wild West', a post-apocalyptic future in which
steam power has regained mainstream use, or a fantasy world that employs steam power. It
features anachronistic technologies or retro­ futuristic inventions as people in the 19th
century might have envisioned. Technology may include fictional machines like those in the
works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne. Steampunk may also incorporate elements
from fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history, or other types of speculative fiction,
making it a hybrid genre. The term Steampunk was first used in 1987 (but now retroactively
refers to many works of fiction created as early as the 1950s). It also refers to the artistic
styles, clothing fashions, or subcultures that have developed from the aesthetics of
Steampunk fiction, Victorian-era fiction, art nouveau design, and films from the mid-20th

In other words, the costumes will have to be seen to be believed, so plan to come on July
19th! Tickets are $15 and are good for the entire season. If you can't come on the 19th but
want to experience Bristol between its opening on July 5th and its closing on Labor Day,
parking is $5 (it's free for us on the 19th -- and we get VIP Parking in front).

Please join us for what promises to be a VERY interesting day at Bristol! We'll leave the Lake
Forest Oasis at 9 AM to meet folks from the North/Northwest at the gas station on Frontage
Road at 9:20 (we'd like to catch Bristol's 'pre-­show show' starting at 9:45 AM).

Joel Greenberg and Annie Luginbill
Phone: 773-348-3233/e-mail:

Monday, June 2, 2014

Spring Tour- May 2014

 CTCC Spring Fling- May 2-5, 2014

8:00 AM Friday, May 2, 28 CTCC members departed from Rte. 53 and Butterfield Road in Glen Ellyn, Illinois on the first leg of our Spring Tour. Driving Little 'Birds' were Len and Mary Keil, our tour organizers, Ed Levin and Rose Kovalenko, Joel Greenberg and Annie Luginbill, Bill and Liz Werth, Len and Irene Vinyard, Lee Bakakos, and Bob and Barb Sroka. Bob drove a tastefully retro-rodded '37 LaSalle with a dashboard he designed himself. More Thunderbird drivers were Doug and Soon Rogers, Larry and Karen Kelly, Dan Mrozek and Arlene Figlia, Jerry and Pat Peterson, Gordon Gluff and Mary Ziemba, and your scribe. Driving Retro 'Birds were Bob and Sue Wenderski and Mike and Laura Cielenski.

We left the Interstate at Rte. 47 to avoid major construction on I-55 over the Des Plaines River in the Joliet area. At Love's Travel Center, further south on Rte. 47, we met Art Hahl driving his Ranchero, Tom and Judy Bruin, and Lloyd (feeling the Love) and Joan Schellin. After our lunch stop in Lincoln, Tom Bruin heard a loud pop, as if he had a tire blow out. I looked to the right and saw he was still rolling. Turns out that his overdrive went out. Tom spent the rest of the tour at 55 mph, and a transmission rebuild will happen sooner, not later. At Lincoln's New Salem Village, where Abraham Lincoln was a resident for six years, we visited 23 historically reconstructed cabins. It was here that we met Ken and Kathy Smizinski, who had come from their lake home in Missouri, Joe and Sandy Kraatz from Valparaiso, Indiana, Madeline Zambon from Crete, Illinois, and Sandra Hood and Geraldine Nuckels, who had come from Dallas, Texas.

After a walking tour of New Salem, it was off to our final destination, the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield. Baby 'Birds and a '63 Sport Roadster from Wisconsin were already there when we arrived. The Vander Zandns and the Schermitzlers came from Green Bay and Jewel and Judy Meetz from Brillion. Cyril and Nancy Leick were also in attendance. A contingent from TARTC, Bob and Sandra Lewis and Gene and Linda Nelson, arrived soon afterward. (TARTC is the Detroit area chapter of CTCI.) Bob Young came from  Des Moines, Iowa. John Smith from Kansas City, Missouri joined us as well as Charlie Gouveia and Mitch and Pat Mitchell from the Central Illinois chapter of CTCI. By the time of the pizza party that evening in the hotel hospitality room, our number had grown to 69 people from seven states! 

At the party in the "Capital View" room, Len Keil went over the agenda for the days to follow. Tom Bruin handed out rules and a sign-up sheet for "Horse Play," which he and Doug Rogers devised for Saturday, which was Kentucky Derby Day.

Saturday, May 3, we were off in a caravan, bright and early, for Lincoln's Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery. Charles, our guide, pointed out how the tomb was constructed and modified over the years as well as interior details of the current monument and told of how a plot by Chicago mobsters to steal Lincoln's body was foiled due to the bungling of the crooks. Lincoln's wife and sons are also buried in the tomb, with the exception of son Robert, who is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

After visiting Lincoln's Tomb, we paid our respects at the World War II, Korea, and Vietnam Memorials. Next stop was The Cozy Dog Drive-In, home of the original 'Hot Dog on a Stick,' a Rte. 66 original. (At the Texas State Fair, they call them 'corny dogs.') After Cozy Dog, we traveled to the original Rte. 66, now Illinois Rte. 4, to visit Auburn, Illinois, where we drove on a brick road. We stopped at Becky's Barn, which handled antiques, collectibles, and Route 66 information. Some purchased Thunderbird and Rte. 66 related signs and T shirts. The proprietor was quite cordial and made sure that we each left with a Rte. 66 brick from a pile of discarded bricks. 

Back in the hospitality room at the hotel, 4 PM was time for the Derby party. The ladies not only sported their most outlandish "Homemade Hats" but modeled them in an equally provocative manner. Kathy Smizinski was the winner by popular acclaim. The "Horse Play" racing game then commenced. Stick horses were used like golf clubs to get a small ball into a bucket across the room. Six racers at a time held onto their horse-head and hit the ball with the stick. There were a number of heats and the fastest finishers from each heat and the slowest finishers participated in a final run-off to determine the top three finishers as well as the slowest three finishers. It was frenzied as the racers hit each other's ball across the room, trying to get theirs into the bucket. Doug and Tom tallied the scores with trophies to follow at the Saturday banquet. While finishing the meal at the banquet, big winners of the "Horse Play" were announced and trophies awarded. I was seated at the table with two winners; Gordon Gluff received a trophy and Bob Lewis was the big winner. He stood up and everyone cried out, "Bob! Bob!" His trophy aptly showed the rear quarters of a horse.

Sunday, May 4, we departed the hotel at 8:30 to tour Lincoln's Home. This is the only home Abraham Lincoln ever owned and it is furnished in original and period antique furniture. Several other houses in the neighborhood are restored with some open for tours and some used as State offices. All of the Thunderbirds were able to park along Lincolnshire Blvd. as we toured the Old State Capitol. Charles, our guide from the Tomb, was again escorting us through the Capitol, showing us where Lincoln served in the Illinois General Assembly, Supreme Court chambers, State law library, and every other room. After the Capitol, we visited Union Station, where the movie sets that were used in the movie 'Lincoln' are located. Our next stop was a tour of the Lincoln Museum. This is a place that I experience more every time I see it again. On leaving the museum, we drove in a caravan to Quaker Steak &  Lube Restaurant from dinner. The automotive-themed restaurant featured a '55 Thunderbird hanging overhead as well as a later model Corvette.

Monday, May 5, we said our goodbyes and headed for home. Len Keil led a group on the state highways and Rte. 47 while Ken Smizinski led a group on I-55. We encountered no delay at the river bridge, and by 1:30 I was home mowing the lawn!

Thanks to Mary and Len Keil for leading another memorable tour.

By Jim Wilson

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

8 Thunderbirds flock to the party.


Often, what we take for granted, other people dream of. Such was the case of Cora Claypool. About a month or so ago, I received an email thru the club's website. Jill said her mother was turning 80 and they were planning a surprise party for her (she is also a 3 year survivor of pancreatic cancer). One of the items on her bucket list was to take a ride in a 1957 Thunderbird. Was there anything we could do?

By coincidence, the club was planning an outing in the area of the party on the day of the party. We arranged to stop by at a preset time and give Cora a ride in a 1957 Thunderbird. People at the party were amazed when 8 Thunderbirds pulled up in front of the house (1 1955, 1 1956, 5 1957s and 1 1959). Cora was absolutely ecstatic. Len gave her a short ride in his 1957. Then she got in Bob's 1956 (with the top down) and they were gone for 15-20 minutes. While people at the party were looking over the remaining cars, Cora was having a dream come true.

The family was very appreciative of what we did. When I asked Cora why she wanted a ride in a 1957 Thunderbird, she replied that she always thought of it as THE American sports car. She was very excited and thrilled about the opportunity. If we had more time I am sure she would have loved to go for a ride in each of the cars. About a short hour later, we were on our way. Everyone was happy about what we did- but no one was happier than Cora. I think we helped make it a special day for her.

Joel Greenberg

Crystal Lake and more

Crystal Lake Excursion, A Happy Birthday and A Smokin' Dog & Suds

The  Saturday of Memorial Day week-end was a sunny, blue sky day;  the kind of day to which T-Birders look forward.  An initial group of CTCC members started the day at the Foundry in Barrington including our 
leaders, the Bruins (top down), Jim Wilson, the Werths, Joel Greenberg and Ed Levin and Rose.  The Kellys brought up the rear with their '59 as both the last to arrive and official outing tail gunner.

We drove to down town Crystal Lake where the Keils and Hoges joined the group.  The ladies explored the shops on main street while the guys quickly found the candy/ice cream shop and a place to sit and enjoy their purchases, (Tom Bruin tried the chocolate covered bacon), and Larry Kelly managed to find the only bar in town.

There was a lot of browsing, but not much shopping until the kitchen store.  That's where Liz Werth and Mary Keil purchased a little, round gizmo that makes potato chips in the microwave.  Now, this is a rough
estimate, but if they start zapping now, we may have enough for the Fall Tour!

Our next stop was a definite highlight of the day.  The children of a woman about to turn 80 found our club on the internet.  Their mother always wanted to ride in a 1957 Thunderbird, a bucket list kind of
thing.  They contacted Joel Greenberg and asked if there was any way we could help them surprise their mom on her Birthday.

We were only to happy to oblige.  (We don't like showing off our cars much, do we?)  So off we went!  We drove the short distance to the Claypools' for operation birthday surprise.

Mrs. Claypool was thrilled and received her ride in a '57 driven by Len Keil.  Afterwords, one of her grandchildren remarked, "Don't you want to go in one with the lid off?"  So, Bob Hoge and his top down
'56 took Mrs. Claypool on another ride around the neighborhood.

Mr. Claypool and his family could not have been nicer.  We were given a very warm welcome complete with hugs and many thanks.  They had no idea we would bring so many cars!  And we were happy to have added to Mrs. Claypool's birthday cheer.  Mr. Claypool didn't think he'd stop hearing about it any time soon.

Now, it was on to the first cruise night of the season to meet even more T-Birders at the Fox Lake Dog & Suds.  The evening was so popular most of us had to park in the train station lot across the street. A
couple of our group arrived early enough to secure two spots at the drive in and at least one member was in the adjacent lot. Thunderbirds were represented well with 19 cars, though not all from our club.  We received a shout out from the disc jockey thanking the
Thunderbirds for coming out in force.

We gathered at picnic tables and set up chairs to listen to the oldies and enjoy our Dog & Suds eats and treats together.

As the sun and temperature started to dip, the Kellys walked to the train lot to pick up sweaters from their car.  There, parked two cars in back of them was the Michna's car with a swirl of commotion surrounding it.  Other car people saw smoke billowing from the
Michnas' 55  and popped the hood to disconnect the battery afraid of a fire.  The Kellys said they knew the owners, called Tom Bruin on his cell so some one could alert Jerry.

Most of our group came along with the Michnas to check out what exactly was happening.  It seems an announcement was made that a black T-bird was on fire.  Oops!

Good thing the Smizinskis like their rootbeer! They were among members meeting at the Dog & Suds.  Ken looked at the engine and was able to start it.  But, the fire department had been called and they had to check all was well. Larry Kelly asked Jerry if he had a fire extinguisher and Jerry replied he did.  Larry then asked where it was and Jerry said it was in the trunk.  Larry advised he'd better get it out.  The young fireman laughed.  Actually, all the firemen were
young, but nevermind.

Well, we hope Jerry and Doreen and their T-bird made it home safely. And we hope everyone had just as memorable time on Memorial Day!

Karen Kelly

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tech Session- 2014

Thirty-four CTCC members and guests gathered at Bob Wenderski's on Saturday, April 26 for our annual Tech Session and Spring Dust-Off event.  Dick Murray from AACA reported that he sold his '49 Cadillac four door and was looking for another older model with four doors!  We drank coffee and munched rolls before our guest speaker, Jim Heidel, from Turtle Wax began his presentation.

A tire was brought in to show application of Turtle Wax Tire Shine. Itwas sprayed on and let dry for a few minutes before reapplication for a greater shine. Jim cautioned that it must be allowed to dry between coats or lines would show on the tire. Turtle Wax & Dry was discussed next. It should be wiped off with microfiber or terrycloth  and not applied to glass as it will leave a residue. He discussed carnuba paste wax and headlight lens restorer. Free samples of "Ice" car wash concentrate and interior wipes were given out.

After the guest speaker Ken Smizinski discussed Marvel Mystery Oil which is similar to Pyroil, providing top end lubrication but should not be mixed with Sea Foam.  Disc brake conversions were discussed.  They are not maintenance free and can lead to bearing problems and oxidation of pads.  If the speedometer is shaky, the cable can be lubricated with graphite.  Slick 50 or Marvel Mystery Oil can be used to keep the diaphragm softened in vacuum wipers.

Most of us went to lunch at the Tap House Grill in Highwood and afterward drove to Highland Park to view the Richard Sacks Car Collection.  Rich was an amiable host, describing in detail each of his twenty cars.  The Collection was eclectic, featuring postwar British, General Motors, and a Lincoln four door convertible.   Rich discussed the one Thunderbird that he had owned, a '57 "C" 'Bird with a 292 and 3- speed, which he felt was underpowered!

By Jim Wilson

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Riverview Presentation and March Meeting


Over fifty members and friends gathered early to enjoy lunch and fellowship at Fuddruckers before the start of the March meeting.

A short business meeting began at 2:15. The members approved the 2014 budget and elected three Directors- Joel Greenberg, Lloyd Schelling and Len Vinyard. We then heard about upcoming events and tours, including the CTCC "Spring Fling" weekend tour to Springfield, IL. being organized by Len and Mary Keil, an outing to White Fence Farm being arranged by Laura and Mike Cielenski and the Annual Tech-Session at the home of Bob and Sue Wenderski. Those who wished to win one of the raffle prizes donated by Madeline Zambon dropped their names into the appropriate bags.

The business meeting ended and we were treated to a presentation about Riverview Amusement Park by Ralph Lopez, who worked at Riverview from 1957 until its closing. He is currently a caretaker of its history. Following the presentation, Ralph answered questions and offered Riverview memorablilia for sale.

Article and Photos by Liz Werth.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Young Frankenstein



Our Club had a great time going to the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook on Sunday, January 26th. It was a cold overcast winter day, but thankfully, no snow. What else would a day in the Chicagoland area be at the end of January? To uplift our spirits, it was the perfect day to venture out and be with our fellow Thunderbird friends.

We were anxious to start out the late morning with a Bloody Mary, but regrettably, the bar wouldn't be open until noon — not to fear, after a little discussion with management, they opened the bar early for us and we all enjoyed the libations.

We were ready for the ensuing lunch and were seated in a private area of their dining room. The crystal chandeliers that abound throughout were as awesome as the sparkling white linen on the tables. Lunch was served starting out with a crispy garden salad, along with warm rolls and butter.

The entrees were a choice of Chicken Marsala, Roast Beef with Mushroom Gravy, and Salmon Filet with a Lernon Sauce. All were joined by herb roasted potatoes and mixed vegetables. Carrot cake was served for dessert, along with coffee.

After lunch we found our way into the theatre, which was only steps away. The theatre is a world class, proscenium style, sound-perfect auditorium that seats around 900 — and really not a bad seat in the house! The writer here, seated in the handicapped section that was the last row, had a great view of the stage!

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN is a funny story and the re-imagining of the Frankenstein legend based on Mel Brooks' classic comedy masterpiece; it was hailed by the American Film Institute as one of the funniest movies of all time. The story follows bright young Dr. Frankenstein as he attempts to complete his grandfather's masterwork, and bring a corpse to life together with his hunchback, but endearing helper Igor, and his curvaceous lab assistant Inga. Dr. Frankenstein succeeds in creating a monster, but not without scary and quite often hilarious complications. This play had us all laughing for two hours straight. It was an enjoyable afternoon for all of us, and a nice break from the winter doldrums.

Those who attended were: Gail Hascek, Lorry and Karen Kelly, Len and Mary Keil, Pete and Marylu Kramer, Steve and Allison Kramer, Ed Levin and Rose Kovalenko, Jerry and Doreen Michna, Gary and Debbie Smithe, Ken and Kathy Smizinski, Len and Irene Vinyard, Bob and Sue Wenderski, Liz and Bill Werth, Tom and Alice Wolfe.

 - Pete and Marylu Kramer

June Outing- White Fence Farm

In honor of 60 on 66 our June Event will be held at the

White Fence Farm

1376 Joliet Road, Romeoville

Sunday, June 22nd - 1pm

Dust off the birds and fly on down for an afternoon of fun and fellowship. We will have an area in the parking lot to park our birds and then congregate for Lunch and a Brief Meeting.

Come enjoy their Famous Chicken and Corn Fritters (or anything else you might have a hankering for). Also, view all the antiques, the antique auto collection and petting zoo

Please R.S.V.P. to Mike or Laura Cielenski by June 14th.

Monday, March 3, 2014

2014 Spring Fling Activities

2014 "Spring Fling" in Springfield, Illinois 
 Hosted by the Classic Thunderbird Club of Chicagoland


Hello Everyone -
We have finalized the group events for our tour event to Springfield, Illinois. Attendance is your option, but we ask that if you do plan to attend, please complete the reservation form that follows, clip it and return it to us with your payment. We need all payments in advance and these reservation forms and payments need to be returned to us by April 15th ( can mail your reservation form and tax returns on the same day!!!!)

                                                                                                   # Attending  Price Each  Total

Registration Fee    $10.00 per person                                            _____ x $10.00 ______
Friday 5/2/2014 Lincoln's New Salem $4.00 per person                    _____ x $4.00   _______
Saturday 5/3/2014 Lincoln's Tomb $4.00 per person                    _____ x $4.00   _______
Sunday 5/4/2014 Lincoln Library and Museum   $7.00 per person    _____ x $7.00    ___
(Optional Movie Sets at the museum $3.00 Add'l)                            _____ x $3.00   ___
Group Banquet-Saturday Night 5/3   $43.00 per person                    _____ x $43.00____
Please indicate your choice of entree (for you and spouse or co-traveler): New York Strip ___  Salmon__

Your Name: ___________________________________________
Spouse/Co-Traveler: ____________________________________
Address: _____________________________________________
Home Phone:__________________________________________
Cell Phone: ___________________________________________
Email Address:_________________________________________

Please return this form with your payment
(MADE PAYABLE to "Classic Thunderbird Club of Chicagoland ") to Len and Mary Keil,

In addition to these organized activities, there a number of other side-trips that you may find interesting, including the old Illinois State House museum ($4.00 pp), the Illinois Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Illinois Air Combat Museum, a visit to Cozy Dog, "inventor" of the corn dog, and much more! We have left of plenty of free time in the weekend schedule for you to explore on your own.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Pizza Party and Meeting- 2/16/2014

Sunday, February 16 was a bright, sunny day, fortunately between snow storms.

As 42 CTCC members gathered at Aurelio's Pizza in Addison for our annual Pizza Party and Membership Meeting. Ken Smizinski urged everyone to take a seat as numerous varieties of pizza were placed on a serving table.

 At each place was a blank entry form for one of three door prizes provided by Madeline Zambon. Club members who had donated toiletries for the People's Food Pantry were instructed to write their name on the paper and place it in the bag beside the prize of their choice.

After four groups of hungry Thunderbirders had filled their plates, the membership meeting began. Copies of the 2014 CTCC Budget for 2014 prepared by Tom Bruin were passed out. Ken then explained the calendar of events planned for 2014.

 Drawings were held for the door prizes. Ron Pavlak took home a l/50th scale model of a yellow '55 Thunderbird, Bud Kryszak a Thunderbird watch, and Rose Kovalenko a 1:18 scale model of a red 2002 retro 'Bird complete with hard top.

 We finished up the last of the pizzas, pitchers of Pepsi, and Slice and said our goodbyes until the next meeting on March 16.

By Jim Wilson

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Riverview Park


Do you remember Riverview Park? Or do you remember hearing about Riverview Park?
Does thinking about the Shoot-the-Chutes, the Bobs, the Pair-O-Chutes, Aladdin's Castle,the Double Whirl Ride, the Aero-Stat, the White Flyer Roller Coaster or the Flying Turns bring back fond memories - or raise your curiosity?

CTCC members and their friends and family are invited to a special event on Sunday, March 16th at 2 PM at: Fuddruckers, 436 East Golf Road, Schaumburg, to reminisce about Riverview. Ralph Lopez, a former manager of the 22 man crew on the Shoot-the-Chutes ride, who now devotes himself to keeping memories of Riverview alive, will give us a presentation about the Park and its history.

Dudes and Divas Dinner


The deep freeze of earlier in the week gave way to rain on January 10. Twenty-nine CTCCers navigated the parking lot lake to gather and enjoy a delightful Dudes and Divas Dinner at the Palm Court, We were seated at five tables in our usual semi-private room and received excellent service. The conversations and jokes were lively and the food was delicious. Thank you. Ken and Kathy, for once again planning a terrific winter outing.

Attendees included Lee & Gina Bakakos, Tom & Judy Bruin, Joe & Barb Esdale, Joel Greenberg & Annie Luginbill, Gail Hascek, Larry & Karen Kelly, Ed Levin & Rose Kovalenko. Pete & Marylu Kramer, Jerry & Doreen Michna, Dan Mrozek & Arlene Figlia, Doug & Soon Hee Rogers, Lloyd & Joan Schellin, Ken & Kathy Smizinski, Bob & Barb Sroka, Bill & Liz Werth,

- Liz Werth

President's Report 2-14


Hello Members-

WITH TEMPS REACHING 16 DEGREES Below, it is hard to think about out Thunderbirds. But with warm weather right around the comer (WE HOPE), the season is already set with the  Annual Tech Session. It will be held on April 26th.  Bob Wenderski has put together a great program, This will be a "dust off" as the Spring Tour to Springfield, IL will be the following weekend (May 2-5). Len and Mary Keil have put in a lot hard work and planning, including inviting clubs from around the country.

Also, don't forget about March16'" at Fuddruckers for the presentation on Chicago's famous Riverview
Amusement  Park. This program is open to your family and friends, at no charge. So, make a day of it
and start with lunch at Fuddruckers.

- Ken Smizinski