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Mid Kansas Vintage Thunderbird Club, Incorporated
Wichita, Kansas

A Chapter of Vintage Thunderbird Club International, Inc. (VTCI)

Mid-Kansas’ Club Song: 
“Silver Thunderbird”  by Marc Cohn



December 2010 Newsletter January 2011 Newsletter February 2011 Newsletter
March 2011 Newsletter April 2011 Newsletter May 2011 Newsletter
June 2011 Newsletter July 2011 Newsletter August 2011 Newsletter
September 2011 Newsletter October 2011 Newsletter November 2011 Newsletter
December 2011 Newsletter January 2012 Newsletter February 2012 Newsletter
March 2012 Newsletter

April 2012
A Chapter of Vintage Thunderbird Club International, Inc. (VTCI)
Celebrating Mid Kansas Vintage Thunderbird Club's 20th year!!

As We Were Saying; Birthday Bash For Lois:  

The last issue of the Newsletter announced Birthday Party plans for  Lois Johnson—not  just any old birthday, but one with an “0” in
it --to be held on March 4.   The March Newsletter had to be issued  before party time.  The ink was not yet dry on that Newsletter when Lois’ Open House Birthday Celebration hosted by Av and Lois’  daughters and sons-in-law and grandchildren took place at their house near Nickerson. 
Almost exactly as planned, several members  of the Vintage Club and the Classic Club met on the west side of Menards parking lot on N. Maize Road.
At precisely 12:30, give or take a few minutes, the caravan
headed northward and arrived at the Johnson acres about 50 minutes later.
There, our travelers found a great Open House and Food Fest in progress. The weather was beautiful for March, with temps in the mid 60’s,  and it made for a beautiful drive in Thunderbirds and a few “plain old cars.” 

(A “Plain Old Car” is defined as any car that is  NOT  a Thunderbird.)

Vintage Club Birds traveling there, but not necessarily in this  order, included Curt and Diana Rakestraw (’57) Mike and Ann Mawhirter (‘63) Darryle and Kaye Barth (‘02) Larry Fichter (’03) Rod and Bev Wake (’04).
Traveling in Plain Old Cars were Lee and Rosemary Hufford,  Carl Marts and April Weaver, Royce Taylor, Klyda Fall, Jeral  and Elaine Lipps, Steve DeVore, Lee and Rosemary Hufford.  Classic Club members included Allen and Kathy Hale, Ann Smith, Estel Gorsage, Dean and Adrienne Hurley, Richard and Susan Carlisle, Jim Hein, and Donnie Edwards.
Anybody who might have happened by the residence that day
would have been treated to an eclectic mix of motor vehicles which, in addition to several colorful Thunderbirds, included the Plain Old Cars wearing brand names such as Jaguar, Cadillac, Lincoln, Buick, Mercury, and Mustang, all herded by our club members.

The food table was brimming with several weeks worth of  baking and preparation and it was difficult to determine which to enjoy and which to pass up. So, we did not pass up much.
In addition to friends from the Vintage and the Classic Thunderbird clubs, many of Lois’ friends, neighbors, and family also mingled throughout their beautiful lakeside house and outdoor deck. It was a great afternoon among good friends and served as a reminder to us of one of the main reasons we joined the Thunderbird club.
Now, back to those diets!

Henry Ford was Irish!  And Faith ‘n’ BeGorra, Irish Eyes Were Smiling in Delano

The sky was overcast and the gusty winds were chilly on March 17 as twelve (12) of our Thunderbirds congregated in the staging area of Lawrence DuMont Stadium, waiting to be ushered into line for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.   
During this time,  we were able to show our cars to several casual observers, to fellow parade entrants, and were also able  to hand out our recruiting packages to a few folks.      
But after what seemed to be a long time fending off the skateboarders, and shielding our cars with our own bodies from the onslaught of bicycles and strollers, we were lined up behind the Marching Bands, the Shriners, the Antiques, the kids and  their dogs and finally reached the intersection of McLean and W. Douglas. 
We turned the corner and, POW! There they were, a huge lineup of Kansans, 8 to 10 rows deep, most of them wearin’  of  the green, and generously peppering our parade cars with compliments.

Keeping our tradition of oldest car first, the lineup was led by Paul and Tina Partridge in their Raven Black ’55, Rod and  Bev Wake in their Thunderbird Green ’56, Curt Rakestraw in his Flame Red ’57, Kathy Hale, Marjorie Hale, with Irish Longhair Terriers Tucker and Riley in their Dusk Rose '57. Next,  were the big birds led by Tedd Roe and Helen Jimenez  in the Brandywine Red over Colonial White ’59 HT, John Moler in his recently acquired Monte Carlo Red ’60 Hardtop, Lee Hufford in his Wimbleton White ’62 HT, VP Mike and Ann Mawhirter in the white over Diamond Blue ’63 HT.  Walter K. Day followed in his Indigo Blue Roush Racing Mark Martin Signature Edition ’97 Thunderbird, closely followed by Darryle  Barth in their Raven Black ’02 with Tonneau Cover,  Larry Fichter in their Shadow Mountain Grey ’03, and newest
member Mike and Janey Lindebak in their Torch Red ’03 convertible.

We would like to know how the parade went but could not see it ourselves because we were part of it!  Strategically located in the crowd were  Richard and Susan Carlisle
Diana Rakestraw and grandchildren and official Club Photographer Jack Wake with several cameras on his person. 
See the evidence in this article!   

The  Delano  Merchants  have created a massive family event here and once we made it to the parade strip, we could not help but wish the parade route was longer. 
said,  “Why not go over to E.Douglas and Old Town?”  The answer is simple.  East Douglas and Old Town did not organize the event, did not do all the work, obtain all the permits and security, and did not host the event.
Although the local news media modestly reported the parade brought out  “hundreds of people,”  the Wichita Police Department estimated the crowd at 8,000 to 10,000 people. Those of us who saw the crowd from one end of the parade route to the other would say the smart money was on the 10,000 figure.
It is obvious this was the most people the
Delano District has seen for a long time and based on the crowd which packed the courtyard at The  Shamrock on W. Douglas, and also the standing room only crowd at Braums, it was no doubt profitable for all the merchants. 
We were happy
to take part in the parade; it was fun and according to organizer Nancy Lawrence of Prairie States Novelties, there were over 300 parade entries. And it must be considered, in our case our 12 cars were classified as one entry!
After  our  cars  exited  and disbursed at Walnut Street, most of us made a B-line to Braum’s Ice Cream Store for a late lunch and some
frequently forbidden dairy products and a great gab fest.   

and Susan, busy packing Richard’s belongings from his office for a well
earned retirement, took
time off to watch the parade and join us at Braums.

Those enjoying the ambiance and the ice cream included Paul and Tina Partridge, Rod and Bev Wake, Richard and Susan Carlisle, Curt Rakestraw, Helen Jimenez and Tedd Roe, Mike and Ann Mawhirter, Walter K. Day,  Darryle Barth, Larry Fichter, and Mike and Janey Lindebak.

Of course, there must be at least one fly in the ointment, and in this case it was a very small gear, located on the very long starter shaft of a 390 Ford starter motor which took all the attention after  the lunch.   
Mike and Ann Mawhirter’s ’63 decided it had started the big 390 enough times over the last several years and chose that time to strip out the starter motor gear, right there in Braums’ Parking
lot.  As the old saying goes, “there is nothing so bad that it could not have been worse” because in this case our old buddy Bud Roat’s Tow Service and auto repair facility was only two blocks away from the scene of the crime.   
With Carlisle’s yellow pages and phone, Bud’s flatbed arrived  before we were through talking about it. 
It would have been unfair to Mike to let him off the hook without a little ribbing so Tedd, Richard, Rod, Larry, and Mike “assisted” the driver in loading the ’63 on the flatbed where we proved to the  world again that the Ford Thunderbird also looks majestic  traveling down the road on a flatbed truck!

Again, teamwork and cooperation was evident as telephone books, cell phones, and Tedd Roe’s spare back  seat were all employed in getting Mike’s car to the shop and getting Mike and Ann back home until another day

So now it can be told, St Patrick’s Day was a successful venture, all’s well that ends well, a good time was had by all, and on to the next adventure!
But wait….there’s more!
Just as a Post Script we ought to mention that Mike’s Thunderbird went into the shop on Saturday afternoon, and the Bud Roat organization had it fixed by Sunday.  The employee told Bud Roat, “First time I ever installed a starter that was over a foot long!” 
Now…get this…one of Bud’s employees lives in Derby, and picked Mike up at his door on Monday morning and drove him down to the shop to pick up his finished car. 
Talk about good old fashioned service!!!


Mid Kan$a$ Due$ are Due Thi$ April Fir$t!
We are happy to report that membership in our club is holding strong, and many members already paid their 2012 dues at the March business meeting at Spears.
Those who have not paid  yet, please do so  as soon as possible by remitting the $25.00 payable to:
Mid-Kansas Vintage Thunderbirds, to treasurer Lynda Fichter


The President’s Message

By Rod Wake, Mid-Kansas President

Dear Thunderbirders,
March is just another month in the Thunderbird world in Wichita.  Few of us put our Thunderbirds “away” for the winter and they are seen in various endeavors year round…especially with this last winter which was ultra mild.
With The Chill successfully behind us last month we looked forward to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade which also happened flawlessly in March, and we are looking forward to some fun events for April!

See how you like the new section of the Newsletter featuring a club Thunderbird, and/or a club person or couple who own one. 
In the past, this section has featured Thunderbirds seen around the VTCI Regional and International circuits.   
We are beginning to focus more on our own Thunderbirds, and this month features a new ‘Bird in town; John Moler’s
beautiful ’60 Hardtop.
This section will continue to be a monthly feature in order for our club members to become better acquainted with each other, and
with all the Thunderbirds in the club. 
It is impressive when we go to shows and conventions and each of us can show other members’ cars in their absence,
and recite the history and features of other members’ Thunderbirds.  Makes us sound like one big happy family; which we are!

Look for interviews of our members in upcoming Newsletters.

Hope most of you can join us for “A Night To Remember” at the Haysville Community Library for a Dinner Theater including re-enactment of a meal on the Titanic, complete with the Titanic memorabilia collected by Kress Fall through the years.  Klyda has brought this event to our attention and several have indicated it sounds like a fun evening!  Don’t know if you noticed, but it
is exactly 100 years since the Titanic went down which should add to the ambiance of the occasion. 
Then to top it off, a part of this event will be a Mystery Theater! 
Co-Editor Jack Wake promises to attach the flyer to this Newsletter.

On a lighter note, the upcoming Richard’s Little Dairy Queen show is a tradition, come and go as you wish, and enjoy some Dairy Queen along with a few hundred Classic Cars and Street Rods.
Hope you enjoy this Newsletter, my latest opus and hope to see you at the April events.


Don’t Forget our Parent Club:
 If you have not yet joined VTCI, please take this opportunity to do so. 
To those of you who have not yet joined, you can get your application from www.vintagethunderbirdclub.org or ask Prez for an application. 
We simply cannot afford to lose our affiliation with VTCI!

Don't forget who helps make all our activities possible;
Vintage Thunderbird Club International, Inc. 
If you do not belong to VTCI, join today!

And Now, a Word From Our VTCI Regional Director:

Our club is in the North Central VTCI Region, and Ed Elzinga, from Holland,Michigan our VTCI North Central Regional Director. 
Ed is a great guy who owns a few Thunderbirds including an ultra rare ’58 Convertible! 
Ed recently wrote to all club presidents in our Region:

To all Chapter Presidents,

Presidents, please pass the following email and attachment along to your newsletter editors.  We
need to promote the VTCI.  If you have club members who are not  yet VTCI  members please
encourage them to join.  The VTCI is a family oriented club and we need to bring the younger
families into the club to keep it going.

One of the benefits of being a member of the VTCI is meeting new people and finding new friends
from across the country and the world.  My wife, Sandy, and I have found some lasting friendships
that we would have never had if it wasn’t for the VTCI.

Another benefit is receiving the award winning “Thunderbird Scoop” which comes out bi-monthly.
The scoop keeps you up to date on all of the activities through the year, gives you tech articles
about your Thunderbird, lets you know where you can find parts to restore that Thunderbird and
sell Thunderbird parts and memorabilia, and shows what other chapters are doing.

If you have questions or comments please let me know.

Ed Elzinga VTIC North Central Regional Director

616-399-6568  E-mail sqtbird@att.net

Mailing address:  17040 Ransom Street, Holland , MI 49424

 Along  Those  Lines: 
Mid-Kansas Vintage Friends, it is with mixed emotions that I report the following.   
The first emotion is happiness that the following members have renewed their VTCI membership for 2012, according to
the brand new Roster just put out by our National President Terri McNeill:

The next emotion is dismay, that of our thirty-some family memberships, only the following memberships have supported our national club, the VTCI with their renewals.   
That means only 33% of our club belongs to the VTCI, and if our National club ever makes it mandatory to have over 50% participation,
 then our club gets flushed by the VTCI. 
These members are on the current roster of paid up members as of January 30, 2012:

Wil and Shirley Banman
Walter Day
Sal Delucia
Larry and Lynda Fichter
Lee and Rosemary Hufford
Av and Lois Johnson
Matt and Carrie Macy
Mike and Ann Mawhirter
Henry and Anita Messerschmidt
Tedd Roe
Jack Wake
Rod and Beverly Wake

If you renewed after the deadline of January 31, your name will not appear on the roster.  If you renewed and your name is NOT listed above, or if you renewed late please let Prez know.  There is a possibility an addendum to the roster might be prepared in a month or so.


Unique In All The World:  

The Newsletter continues its series picturing Thunderbirds seen around the VTCI Regional and International Circuit as well as local club events.   
With each Thunderbird  featured, you should see why the Vintage Ford  Thunderbird is considered to be “Unique In All The World!” 

This month’s feature is right here in our own chapter:

John G. Moler, who most of us knew for years as proprietor of Downtown Camera in Wichita, knows his cameras.  But, John is also no stranger to Thunderbirds. 
Beginning in the early 60’s John owned Thunderbird Convertibles and Hardtops including 17 of them he can name without trying too hard.  John has bought, driven, and sold Thunderbirds from the ‘50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, and is also no stranger to Ford pickups.
 In his spare time John has also parted out a few ‘Birds, and currently has in his stable a 1962 Hardtop, and a 1960 Hardtop which is the subject of this article.
The Monte Carlo Red 1960 HT shown above was owned for several years by a gentleman in Cunningham, Kansas who drove it in parades and was very proud of it.   
After his death the family kept the car in storage for an estimated 10 years
before deciding to free up the building. The owner’s children contacted Vintage Club member Curt Rakestraw, who gathered enough information for The Newsletter to include the car in its want ads.  Enter John Moler, who immediately made a run out to Cunningham to check it out.
The Thunderbird’s data plate showed that on December 19, 1959, this ‘Bird with a 352  c.u. engine was driven off the assembly line at Wixom, Michigan. 
The Thunderbird had a Monte Carlo Red exterior, (color code J) with red interior and whit  inserts (color code 55), had Cruise-O-Matic transmission and a 3.10:1 differential.  In other words, it looked identical to the way it looked when John was examining  it.   
This is important to a Thunderbird collector and shows that the car still had original colors, upholstery and carpets to match
the data plate. The odometer read only 43,000  miles. The back seat upholstery had deteriorated (darn that cotton thread) and the red vinyl on the rear seat back had only lasted 51 years before cracking.  But otherwise the car was a looker!

It was love at first sight for John, but in its current condition with locked brakes, and no battery, it was impossible to start the car and drive it. And that does not even take into consideration the transmission, the instruments, radio, lights, signals, and all those costly little failures that can occur when a car is in storage.

Also, a gummed up gas tank, gas lines, carburetor and a myriad of other possibilities for trouble loomed in the background as  well.   

Since John  is  not normally a gambling man, all he could do was give the owner some fatherly advice about getting the car roadworthy, make a low offer for the car “as is” which was refused, so John reluctantly passed up the car.  The owner took John’s advice and spent a few thousand getting the car running (and provided the receipts to prove it) and offered it on line.  John  again made a not-as-low bid online and after several days of nail biting, found he was the successful bidder!
Now, all that glitters is not gold, and once John got the car into his possession he found himself re-doing many of the jobs the previous owner had paid a mechanic to do. 
Fortunately,  John was able to do much of the re-work himself, but
particularly disappointing was the fact that several scratches had appeared in the car which were not there the first time John examined  it only a  few months before.   
John’s  body shop buddy, spray gun in hand, remedied that situation.

John also got out his catalogs and ordered new correct red and white vinyl upholstery from one of the  usual suspects and also planned to revamp and re-arch the rear springs.   
Wichita’s Atlas Spring and Axle made John an offer he could not  refuse; brand new springs for the  same amount he could expect to
spend on the old ones.   
John had another 1960 Thunderbird in stock with a
beautifully overhauled engine which he swapped into the Cunningham purchase and suddenly, John’s car was in the show car category again.
The beautiful red
‘bird made its debut at The Chill Car and Motorcycle show.
It did throw a little fit
on the way out there due to a sluggish carburetor, but made amends by running
back home flawlessly after the show.     
It also ran flawlessly through Douglas
Avenue in Delano as part of the St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 2012

John  reports  that  he  is  in  the  process  of  replacing  the  turn  signal  wiring,
switches, and a horn ring.  He is also replacing the carpeting at this time.  Once
that  is  completed  his  only  plan  is  to  maintain  the  car  in  its  current  condition,
identify  and  replace  anything  else  that  needs  to  be  replaced,  and  just  generally
maintain the car to drive, show, and enjoy.

So, there is a new ‘Bird in town and we are glad it ended up with John, who has
the experience and the desire to maintain the car in the correct fashion which it
deserves.    We  are  looking  forward  to  enjoying  the  car  in  our  various  club
adventures.  John’s car is still almost all original, looks original, is factory correct
and is one of those Thunderbird stories you only read about.

Above all, John’s car is  another example of why we say a Vintage Thunderbird is
truly, “Unique In All The World.”


Upcoming  Events  We  plan  to  Support….a  definite maybe:     
At the February meeting we reviewed upcoming events
listed by the Wichita Area Car Club Council and chose those which the majority wished our club to support with a good presence. 
list also includes events which may have cropped up since that meeting. 
The events are:

April 14:  The 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, “A Night To Remember” Dinner Theater Gala at the Haysville Community Library, Saturday, April 14, 5:30 PM.      
Klyda Fall is
helping, Kress Fall’s Titanic collection will be on display

April  15:    Richard’s Little Dairy Queen Show ‘n’ Shine, Lincoln  at  Grove, Sunday afternoon 1-5PM

April 19: April meeting at Spears, 5:30

April  20:  Friday Night. This is unscheduled, uncontrolled, unsupervised, unplanned, and unorthodox.  
All who can, come to Central and
West Street for the impromptu car show that “appears” there every Friday night!
This was decided upon at the March meeting. 
Let’s have a good showing of
Thunderbirds for a change!
Come at 6:00 and leave at ??

May 19: Salvation Army Benefit Car Show, Camp Hiawatha. (?)  Ask Prez

June 10: Lake Afton All Wheels Rally sponsored by the Mid-Kansas
Vintage Thunderbird Club and the Wichita Classic Thunderbirds.
other words…US!   Nuff said, Be there!

June 17: Father’s Day at the Zoo.  Participate individually if you can work it into your Father’s Day plans

June 21-24: North Central VTCI Convention at Des Moines.  Pres and Secretary, and Treasurer Lynda and Larry Fichter will be there!
The Registration and details about the weekend are in the latest issue of The Thunderbird Scoop, and/or ask Prez for a copy

Retro Bird Watchers Alert!
None spotted at this time

Big Bird Bazaar:
Cars, Parts and Services

Ads or sources of service for our Birds are free to club members, but business card size ads run $60 per year. 
That’s less than $5 per issue ‘cause we usually run 14 editions per year.   What have you to sell?

Autos For Sale: Wanted: Parts & Misc For Sale:
1962  Thunderbird  HT.
Corinthian  White,  Pearl  Beige  interior
Correctly  detailed  engine  compartment, 
drives  great.
Lee and Rosemary Hufford
(316) 267-0008
...0.0000.............................................................. Kool  Rides
802  E. Madison
 Arkansas City,  KS
Local supplier for Smithy’s Mufflers 
and similar street rod accessories.
2002 Thunderbird.
Located in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Raven Black,

chrome wheels, 49,000 miles. 
Drivers seat worn a bit. 
Salvage title
because of an accident at 26 
miles—right front fender replaced.

Current owner says never had any trouble with it.
Asking $12,000.00.

(816) 868-9140


Click on ad to visit


 Mid-Kansas  Meetings  Set  Records: 
Attendance  at  the  last  few meetings at Spears continues to set records. The January meeting head count was 26, February was 23,
and the March head count was 28!
If you were to take a total head count in our club, it is currently 61 persons,  so that means almost exactly 50% attendance at our meetings. 
Attending the meetings is an important part of supporting our club. 
Next meeting is April 19, so please plan to be there and keep the trend going!

April Meeting:



Current Officers
J. Rodney Wake
Vice President:
Mike Mawhirter
Beverly Wake
Lynda Fichter

Mid-Kansas Vintage Thunderbird’s Appointed Positions

Newsletter Editor:
J. Rodney Wake
Associate Editor, Proof Reader,

  Club Photographer, Computer
  Guru and all around helper
Jack Wake
Website Coordinator:
Cheryl Thomas
Webmistress Design and Graphics
Connie B C
Wichita Area Council
of Car Clubs Representative:
Royce Taylor Royce.taylor@spiritaero.com

National VTCI Contacts

VTCI President:
Terri McNeill
VTCI Vice President: 
J. Rodney Wake
VTCI Secretary:
Bob McNeill
VTCI Treasurer:
Randy Mattson
VTCI NC Director:
Ed Elzinga
VTCI Website Director:
Terri McNeill

Mid-Kansas Thunderbird’s Website: 
VTCI website: 

 VTCI Chapter Websites

Chicagoland Thunderbirds:
Thunderbird Midwest
Mid America Iowa:
Hoosier Vintage/ Indiana Thunderbird Club: 
Vintage Thunderbirds of Kansas City:
Thunderbirds of Manitoba:
Waterwonderland Michigan: