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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
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March 2012 Newsletter April 2012 Newsletter May 2012 Newsletter
June 2012 Newsletter July 2012 Newsletter


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



Kansas Meets Colorado in Nebraska:
Some time ago the fabulous Rocky Mountain Thunderbird VTCI Chapter from Denver and surrounding area invited our club to join them 
on one of their great runs to another city; this time an overnighter to Minden,Nebraska to see the Harold Warp Museum! 

Mike and Ann Mawhirter were able to accept the invitation and represent our club at the event.

Here is Mike’s account of that weekend!
Article submitted by Vice President Mike Mawhirter


A little late with this as it took a few weeks to get some pictures, 
and these are only a few.  As the old saying goes, a good time was had by all. 
After an uneventful but hot drive up, we arrived
at the Pioneer Village Inn just minutes before our Rocky
Mtn. friends begin to pull in.  We enjoyed a great dinner
at the hotel that evening and enjoyed good food, (Steak
or Chicken, our choice), and many stories of the road.

Their President Don Rienke II was a particularly
interesting guy, he had only owned T-Birds all his life,
never driven anything else , never sold any Thunderbirds
and currently owned about 12 of them.  Still had his first
one, a 58, but he drove a 63 on this trip. 

There was a total of 18 cars that made the trip counting our 63,
which was accompanied by 3 other 63's. 

I sat by an interesting fellow by the name of Greg Akiyama who is their computer
and communications guy. 
He passed on some good tips on how to make the club grow. 
The RMTB's have nearly 500 members in total, of which nearly half are active. 
One fun thing he suggested was a surprise day trip. 
The planner decides where and when, but the rest of the members just show
up, ready to go anywhere.  He says its very popular with their group. 
They trip somewhere at least once a month as we have set our goals on,
if you've ever seen their newsletter, they're a BUSY group.

After visiting the Village all day Sunday, the plan was to caravan to Kearney that
eve., and eat at a local Steak house in that area.  The weather had other plans 
and a line of storms built up and
headed our way.  Tornado warning was issued and later we did have to retreat 
to the hotel storm shelter, but it quickly passed with no hail or bad winds. 
Before it arrived however, a local car guy was kind enough to let us shelter our
cars in his large commercial quonset truck
storage area.  So we all felt better after we nested the birds in the
barn with room to spare.  Nice part was the door remained open and we 
could come and go with our cars at will.

Memorial Day found 2 or 3 of us staying over the noon hr. before hitting the 
road to see what we missed on Sun.  If you've never been there, you should
put it on your "to do" list, as there's a LOT to see. 
Harold Warp did things in a big way.  He had 3 barns of just cars and 
much, much more.  If you've been to Greenfield Village in Detroit, Mr. Ford's 
place, its a pretty close rival.

No mechanical disasters from any of the cars.  One suffered a loose spoke 
on one of his wire wheels and forced a change to the spare, but as far 
as I know, that was all.

This reporter will be out of town for most of the mo. of July, so best to all 
and keep those birds rollin down the road.  Will try to keep in touch as 
needed electronically, but otherwise, see all in August.

The VEEP Mike




Attention All Exhibitionists (Thunderbirds, That Is):

Klyda Fall has organized a series of events for her employer, Via Christi Village at 1655 S. Georgetown, all involving 
modes of transportation.
Klyda’s September 10 event features the automobile, and she needs our assistance on that date as she needs 
cars to be on exhibit for the residents of VCV.  All we have to do is bring our Thunderbird to the location and line them up 
for the residents to see.

A light (free) supper will be served to us at 5:30 and cars will be shown from 6:30 to 7:30PM. 
Cars are limited to 20—Thunderbirds or otherwise. 
If you own a special interest car in addition to the Thunderbird, this is the time to show it off.
In order for Klyda to obtain her quota of cars she would like us to call her and announce our intention to participate. 

Call Klyda at 554-1177.  (Or call Prez and he will give you Klyda’s cell phone number. ) 

Then mark your calendar for September 10.
Where exactly is 1655 S. Georgetown, you may ask. 
It is just off the SE corner of the Wichita Mall, just a stone’s throw south of Furr’s at 1606 S. Georgetown.
You can’t miss it!


Dues, Memberships and Numbers: 
  Treasurer Lynda Fichter has finalized the dues receipts and our family memberships now rest at 34 . 
We have been running about 38.  ‘Nuff said.


Mid-Kansas College of Automotive Knowledge: 
The MidKansas Vintage Thunderbird Car College is offering a course (non-credit, and
man, is it ever non-credit) to increase our knowledge of that well known
invention, the Automobile. 

This month’s lesson:

Continental Kit: A rear bumper mounted spare tire in a hard shell, named after the 1939 Lincoln Continental’s exposed rear mounted spare wheel.
(source: Hemmings Motor News Collector Car Encyclopedia)

Lecture Part of this Lesson: 
Probably no term in automotive language gets mis-used or just plain murdered more often than “Continental Kit.”  Get out your
note pads, folks, because you are going to need them. 
Here’s how it came about.

One our Thunderbirds’ ancestors was the fabulous Lincoln Continental manufactured by the Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company from 1939 to 1948.

Henry Ford’s son Edsel was an important part of the development of Ford Motor Company, and it is said his forward thinking ideas were in constant 
conflict with ultra conservative Henry Ford. 
But Edsel won the argument occasionally, and we can thank Edsel for several milestone Fords. 

Edsel was responsible for discontinuing the Model T and replacing it with the Model A, the 1932 Model B and the V8 engine, then redesigning it the 
very next year as the famous and timeless 1933-34 Ford. 

As head of the Lincoln division, Edsel was responsible for introducing the Lincoln Zephyr. He was also the person responsible for
introducing the Mercury line to give Ford a model that was halfway between a Ford and a Lincoln.

Edsel was certainly not a poor child, and as a young man owned a few sports cars, special “speedsters” and the latest cars for that era. 
He was experienced with the European sports cars with long hoods, short trunks and exposed spare tires.

During the great depression, Edsel hired a brilliant young automobile designer, E. T. “Bob” Gregorie who had spent a few years designing yachts 
and was now unemployed because few were needing yachts during a deep depression. 
In 1939, Edsel related to Gregorie that he wanted a sports car to be built on an American frame, and asked Gregorie to design a custom 
Zephyr V-12 convertible for his personal use. 
All the mechanical parts would come from Ford products already in
production. Allegedly, Gregorie drew the design in about 30 minutes.  A Lincoln
Zephyr Convertible Sedan #H747650 was chosen for its strengthened frame.
Then the body was sectioned, (a 4-inch strip cut out of the body) a special hood
and trunk designed, and inserts welded and leaded into the fenders to lengthen
them 12 inches. All this was done by hand as dies were not produced until the
1941 model. The running boards were entirely eliminated, and the same bumper
was used on the front and rear of the car.
During construction of this custom convertible, it was discovered that there was not enough room in the trunk for luggage and a spare tire, so the spare tire was
moved to the outside.
Edsel’s custom did not have a metal cover over the spare tire. 
Since European sports cars customarily had outside mounted spares, Edsel dubbed the convertible the “Continental.” 
With much body lead used in its production, the Dove Grey Continental weighed over 5,000 pounds when it was delivered to Edsel at Hobe Sound, 
Florida where he spent the 1939 spring vacation with his family. 
Edsel’s affluent friends were impressed with the custom Continental and Edsel sent word back to Ford that they could “sell 1,000 of them” if they were available, and allegedly brought back 200 orders for a car just like his.

The Lincoln division then produced a 2 prototype, a black cabriolet (convertible with roll up windows) which was called an “Engineering Test Car”, 
but with fenders extended only 8 inches. 
They also produced a coupe, and two more Cabriolets as prototypes on the 1939 frame. 
Every Continental produced on 1939 frames was called a 1940 Continental. 
Once the Continental was put into production, Edsel Ford’s Dove Grey original prototype was cut up and destroyed along with the coupe.
(Think what a wonderful museum piece that could have been) 
Edsel gave car #2, the Engineering Test Car, to Bob Gregorie near the end of 1939.

If Gregorie would have tuned in the radio during that period of the Big Band Era, he might have heard Artie Shaw, “The King of Swing” just as his career was taking off.  He might have certainly heard Benny Goodman’s Carnegie Hall Concert of 1938, a tremendous hit with drummer Gene Krupa and the most popular song from that concert, “Sing, Sing, Sing.”  He might have also heard a young Frank Sinatra with Harry James’ Orchestra and his hit recording “All or Nothing At all.” 
He might have heard all these, but probably not.. since Prototype #2 was built without a radio! 
Even though it was produced and driven in Detroit, it also did not have a heater. 
Gregorie drove the prototype as his normal car, but updated it as improvements came along and had it painted Sahara Sand.  He also added a heavier rear bumper and a steel cover over the spare tire. 

Most notably, Gregorie drove the Continental to New York to the World’s Fair but the car vibrated so badly that he stopped at a 
lumber yard and bought a pair of 2 X 2’s and wedged them under the cowl in an X pattern to cure the vibration. 
Later, he replaced the 2 X 4’s with a pair of metal pipes welded into the cowl in an X pattern.
(Take a peek under the dash and look at the cowl on your Classic Thunderbird) 

By the time the 1941 model was produced, dies were in place and the 1941 and later models were stamped out rather than 
being hand formed. 
(See Wichita resident Gene Razook’s ’41 as it appeared this month at Automobilia) 
The slightly redesigned 1942 Continental was just into production when WWII broke out and all production was suspended. 
Nonetheless, the Continental was a trend setter for 1940-42.
Unfortunately, Edsel Ford died of stomach cancer in 1943 and Gregorie was 
soon to leave Ford, to be called back for a short period of time when Henry Ford II took over. 
After his years at Ford, Gregorie migrated to Florida to go back to
yacht designing.  Gregorie last saw his prototype Continental when he dropped it off 
at a used car lot in Detroit in the mid 40’s. (But hold that thought) 
After the war was over, Ford dusted off the tools and dies and with only minute changes
the 1946 Lincoln Continental began production.

 ( A yellow 1946 Continental Convertible served as Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500 in 1946) 
With only minor changes for 1947 and 1948 the last V-12 to be manufactured by
a major U.S.Automaker rolled off the line; the Continental was
discontinued after the 1948 model year.

The 1940-48 Lincoln Continental was universally considered to be one of the most beautiful production cars ever produced by Ford…or anybody, and it did not
take customizers and accessory manufacturers long to come out with a “kit” that could be attached to a standard car to make it reminiscent of the sadly departed Continental. 
A  typical kit consisted of a body mount for the wheel, rear bumper extension, tailpipe extension and a metal cover for the tire. 
A “Continental Kit” was popular and available for several brands from the late 40’s forward. 
Even Ford manufactured one as a dealer installed accessory for several different models. 
An outside spare was a dealer option on the ’55-56 Ford products including the 1955 Thunderbird, Mercury, and Lincoln; on the 58-60 Thunderbirds, and other manufacturers made one for (shudder) about every car out there. 
Even today Continental Kits are manufactured by various companies for over 200 body types.

The 1956 Thunderbird, however, does not have a “Continental Kit.”
There is no kit involved; the exposed rear mounted spare wheel is an integral part of the design and manufacture of every 1956 Thunderbird, just as it was on the Lincoln Continental. 
When an advertisement from an otherwise knowledgeable seller states that his/her 1956 Thunderbird has a “Continental Kit” it is not only redundant, it is incorrect and causes gnashing of teeth and renting of garments in a true Thunderbird aficionado.

Now…back to Continental #2, which Edsel Ford gave to Bob Gregorie.  ( I told you to hold that thought)
Thanks to vehicle numbers and records, the car can be shown to have somehow migrated to Beverly Hills, California where an aircraft company 
used it to deliver customers around town.  (Cars and Parts Magazine,Volume 46, Number 3, March 2003 pages 10-15, West Peterson) 
It was then sold to an individual who used it to haul construction materials for a new house he was building. 
Somewhere along the line, the V-12 engine had been discarded and replaced with a V8 engine and different transmission. 

In 1952, it was sold a Ralph Ball. 
While driving the car, Ball was in an accident in which an individual ran into the left side and damaged the door, hand built fenders, and 
quarter panel and Ball was seriously injured also. 
Ball sued, and obtained a substantial cash settlement to repair the car, but never got around to it. 
In 1960, members of the Lincoln-Zephyr Owners Club, headed by LZOC publications director George Tissen found the car and attempted 
to buy it for the club. No deal. Not until 1963, was one of the club members successful in buying the car’s remains without engine or
transmission, for himself with the intention of restoring it. 
Four years passed before restoration was started in 1967, but the person doing its mechanical restoration went into the service and did
not return until 1969, and the car restoration never resumed. 
For one thing, it is hard to restore a one-of-a-kind car with nothing to compare it with.
In 1977, Bob Anderson from Pennsylvania purchased the car and although he was a veteran Lincoln restorer, the car sat for another 20 years before restoration began.
During that time Anderson accumulated most of the NOS parts necessary for a
complete restoration begun in 1997. 
The car was finished just in time for the 2002 Amelia Island Concours in Florida, where it took 1st in its class. 
Immediately after that, Anderson drove the car to St. Augustine, Florida to show it to Bob Gregorie, who had designed it, and who had owned that very Continental over 60 years before! 
One of the first things Gregorie did was peek under the dash to see if the X bracing was still intact.  It was.
Anderson took Gregorie for a ride in the car and Gregorie told Anderson
numerous additional details about the car. It was fortunate that Anderson was
able to gain this information because Gregorie died 9 months later at age 94.
(Eric Kaminsky, Cars and Parts Magazine, Volume 46 number 3, March 2003 page 16)
Prototype #2, once a basket case,but now a first class
winner has continued on the concours show circuit since
that time, and most recently won the 2012 Elegance at
Hershey Award, at Hershey, PA. 

And no, this Continental does not have a “Continental
Kit”; it has an external mounted spare wheel and tire.

Information for this article was accumulated from the massive library maintained by the Mid-Kansas Vintage Thunderbird Club
(also known as our Prez Rod’s magazine collection 
Articles relied upon are properly cited above, and additional articles are located on the Internet

The President’s Message

By Rod Wake, Mid-Kansas President

Dear Thunderbirders
 Last summer was one of the hottest summers since 1980 and took its toll on our Thunderbird activities. 
Now it looks like this summer is going to top it! 
It is difficult to think about working on our Thunderbirds, shining our Thunderbird, or going to a car show when the temperatures 
are consistently
over 100 degrees. 
Why, oh, why didn’t the original purchasers of our Vintage Thunderbirds all spring for the extra $300 to $400 and buy
the air conditioning option??

Still, we did have some fun during the month and one of these was our July meeting where we had 28 Thunderbird 
fanciers present! 
We welcomed new members Dale and Linda Gibson and they also were one of our representatives at Automobilia with their 
Raven Black ’58! 
We also welcomed new member Jim Corfman in absentia and a guest, Wayne Mason who is contemplating buying a Retro.

Keep your eyes peeled for Thunderbirds out there which do not yet belong to our club. 
Always remember the good times we have had through our club affiliation and the good things that have come to us that 
would not have happened if it were not for our club.

See you at the August 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!



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 very pretty Rangoon Red Thunderbird Convertible still smelled like fresh paint as the owners rolled in from Missouri. 
Seen unloading the trunk at Des Moines for the North Central Regional Convention, this one went on to win big in concours judging. 
There is nothing like a red Thunderbird convertible to make one realize that the Thunderbird is truly “Unique In All The World.”


Regional and International Conventions:
 Prez Rod and Secretary Bev, and Larry and Treasurer Lynda Fichter represented the Mid-Kansas Vintage Thunderbird chapter at the 
“Fly Away to I-O-Way” North Central VTCI Regional at Des Moines in June, both couples driving their Retro Thunderbirds. 

At Des Moines Larry was seen  talking seriously with a Vintage Thunderbird of Kansas City owner who had arrived driving an
Inspiration Yellow 2002 Retro with its own trailer for additional luggage capacity.

Well, the same four club members are finalizing plans to attend the 2012 VTCI International Convention at
Charleston, South Carolina September 25-30.
Behind the scenes, Larry has fabricated and built a trailer hitch for their Mountain Shadow Grey 2003 and purchased a cute 
two wheel trailer with streamlined box for their use in an extended trip including Charleston, then on through Washington D.C., 
and the eastern part of the U. S. 
Watch for Larry and Lynda’s trailer at some of our events as well.

The International at Charleston promises to be a fabulous experience and we are looking forward to it with great anticipation. 

See the latest issue of The Scoop for details—it is not too late to sign up and join us at the International!

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.
 This list also includes events which may have cropped up since that meeting.  The events are:

August 4:Smoky Valley Car Show, Lindsborg, Kansas.
This show did not garner any support when presented at the meetings.  It did prove to be of interest to 
several of our Retro members to just drive to Lindsborg in a “fun run” to see the cars, get some food, shop the
galleries and shops in Lindsborg and return, all on Saturday August 4.

Needless to say, an invitation is also extended to all Mid-Kansas Vintage (VTCI) members and Wichita 
Classic Thunderbird (CTCI) members to join us.  This was also provided by Email on July 29. 
If the information reaches you before August 4, hope you can join us!
Call Prez and announce your intentions so we don’t go off without you.

August 17: Friday Night at Central and West! 
On Friday,August 17,  our club plans to congregate at Central and West ST (Wichita) for the extremely 
spontaneous and informal car show that appears there every Friday night. 
Please plan to show up as soon after 5:00 as you can; we will park our Thunderbirds in close proximity
to each other and eventually have supper together at one of the restaurants a few steps away. 

No plan, no cost, no reservation, just show up and enjoy the cars and let others enjoy seeing your Thunderbird!



Burma Shave Signs:
Remember those delightful Burma Shave signs from the
30’s 40’5 and 50’s that were posted along all our highways (before Interstates)
and were changed out a couple times a year? 

Five (5)  little red signs with white
lettering, about 100 feet apart were designed to be read as you passed by.  They
normally gave warnings or tips about traveling.  The Newsletter wants to remind
you of this fun period from the past and will run a Burma Shave sign each month.

This month’s Burma Shave ad:

Around the Curve
Beautiful car
Wasn’t it?
Burma Shave

Retro Bird Watchers Alert!

2002 and 2003
See below!

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:
1960  Thunderbird 
(used to be John Moler’s car) for $7,000. 
Call Joe at Yoder, KS
(316) 304-3718
. 1963 Thunderbird Spinner 
Wheel Cover
At Lake Afton, a gentleman approached
the Old Editor and said he has a perfect condition, possibly NOS Thunderbird
Spinner Wheel Cover. 
Asking $100.00 for it
(316) 721-9377
1965 Thunderbird 
(used to be Kress
Fall’s car) for $8,500
Call Joe at Yoder, KS
(316) 304-3718
................................................................ .
John Moler saw this one on the Internet:
1965 Aqua Blue HT
3101 Cornhusker Highway
Lincoln, Kansas
John says it looks nice in
the picture
(402) 466-8686
. .
2002 Thunderbird:
Thunderbird Blue with black hard top, 
soft top and boot cover
Jackie Riggins
(316) 204-3812
. .
2002 Thunderbird:
Curt and Diana Rakestraw
are selling their 2002 Retro Bird. 
Torch Red hardtop,Torch Red body, 
and black soft top. 
Red and Black two tone interior and
all the accessories.
Currently in the Wichita Eagle for
Curt Rakestraw 
(316) 722-4018
.......................... ..........................
2003 Thunderbird
Evening Black (Gads, that sounds sexy!) 
with special upgrade sand interior.
Both tops.14,000 miles and factory
fresh all over. 
$29,500 call Chris Cushman 
Now folks, you won’t find a nicer 
black Retro ‘Bird. 
In a later correspondence, Chris told Pres, “…it is for sale and I want to be fair on the price to the new owner and myself.”
. .

Click on ad to visit VTCI!


August Meeting:
 August 16, 5:30 PM
Spears Restaurant
4131 W. Maple

First we eat, then we meet!

Guys, we must be doing something right at Spears!
Numbers continue to grow for our meetings and the July
meeting boasted 27 members and one guest! 

Keep ‘em coming!






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 Website Director:
Terri McNeill
VTCI NC Director: Ed Elzinga sqtbird@att.net
VTCI Treasurer:
Randy Mattson
VTCI Secretary:
Bob McNeill
Concours Director: 
Paul Prokop 
Historian:  Dan Likar  sqbrd@aol.com
Technical Director  Alan Tast tast@earthlink.net



Mid-Kansas Thunderbird’s Website: 
VTCI website: 

 VTCI Chapter Websites


Chicagoland Thunderbirds:
Thunderbird Midwest/Minneapolis
Mid America Iowa:
Hoosier Vintage/ Indiana Thunderbird Club: 
Vintage Thunderbirds of Kansas City:
Thunderbirds of Manitoba:
Waterwonderland Michigan:
Indianapolis Chapter  http://www.vtcin.com