A Chapter of Vintage
Thunderbird Club International, Inc. (VTCI)
Celebrating Mid Kansas
Vintage Thunderbird Club's 20th year!!
Meets Colorado in Nebraska:
time ago the fabulous Rocky Mountain Thunderbird VTCI Chapter from Denver
and surrounding area invited our club to join them
one of their great runs to another city; this time an overnighter to Minden,Nebraska
to see the Harold Warp Museum!
and Ann Mawhirter were able to accept the invitation and represent our
club at the event.
is Mike’s account of that weekend!
submitted by Vice President Mike Mawhirter
late with this as it took a few weeks to get some pictures,
these are only a few. As the old saying goes, a good time was had
an uneventful but hot drive up, we arrived
the Pioneer Village Inn just minutes before our Rocky
friends begin to pull in. We enjoyed a great dinner
the hotel that evening and enjoyed good food, (Steak
Chicken, our choice), and many stories of the road.
President Don Rienke II was a particularly
guy, he had only owned T-Birds all his life,
driven anything else , never sold any Thunderbirds
currently owned about 12 of them. Still had his first
a 58, but he drove a 63 on this trip.
was a total of 18 cars that made the trip counting our 63,
was accompanied by 3 other 63's.
by an interesting fellow by the name of Greg Akiyama who is their computer
passed on some good tips on how to make the club grow.
RMTB's have nearly 500 members in total, of which nearly half are active.
fun thing he suggested was a surprise day trip.
planner decides where and when, but the rest of the members just show
ready to go anywhere. He says its very popular with their group.
trip somewhere at least once a month as we have set our goals on,
you've ever seen their newsletter, they're a BUSY group.
visiting the Village all day Sunday, the plan was to caravan to Kearney
and eat at a local Steak house in that area. The weather had other
a line of storms built up and
our way. Tornado warning was issued and later we did have to retreat
the hotel storm shelter, but it quickly passed with no hail or bad winds.
it arrived however, a local car guy was kind enough to let us shelter our
in his large commercial quonset truck
area. So we all felt better after we nested the birds in the
with room to spare. Nice part was the door remained open and we
come and go with our cars at will.
Day found 2 or 3 of us staying over the noon hr. before hitting the
to see what we missed on Sun. If you've never been there, you should
it on your "to do" list, as there's a LOT to see.
Warp did things in a big way. He had 3 barns of just cars and
much more. If you've been to Greenfield Village in Detroit, Mr. Ford's
its a pretty close rival.
mechanical disasters from any of the cars. One suffered a loose spoke
one of his wire wheels and forced a change to the spare, but as far
I know, that was all.
reporter will be out of town for most of the mo. of July, so best to all
keep those birds rollin down the road. Will try to keep in touch
electronically, but otherwise, see all in August.
All Exhibitionists (Thunderbirds, That Is):
Klyda Fall has organized
a series of events for her employer, Via Christi Village at 1655 S. Georgetown,
modes of transportation.
Klyda’s September 10 event
features the automobile, and she needs our assistance on that date as she
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
Klyda at 554-1177. (Or call Prez and he will give you
Klyda’s cell phone number. )
Then mark your calendar for
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!
Lynda Fichter has finalized the dues receipts and our family memberships
now rest at 34 .
have been running about 38. ‘Nuff said.
of Automotive Knowledge:
MidKansas Vintage Thunderbird Car College is offering a course (non-credit,
is it ever non-credit) to increase our knowledge of that well known
This month’s lesson:
rear bumper mounted spare tire in a hard shell, named after the 1939 Lincoln
Continental’s exposed rear mounted spare wheel.
Hemmings Motor News Collector Car Encyclopedia)
Part of this Lesson:
no term in automotive language gets mis-used or just plain murdered more
often than “Continental Kit.” Get out your
pads, folks, because you are going to need them.
how it came about.
our Thunderbirds’ ancestors was the fabulous Lincoln Continental manufactured
by the Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company from 1939 to 1948.
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
with ultra conservative Henry Ford.
Edsel won the argument occasionally, and we can thank Edsel for several
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
next year as the famous and timeless 1933-34 Ford.
head of the Lincoln division, Edsel was responsible for introducing the
Lincoln Zephyr. He was also the person responsible for
the Mercury line to give Ford a model that was halfway between a Ford and
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.
was experienced with the European sports cars with long hoods, short trunks
and exposed spare tires.
the great depression, Edsel hired a brilliant young automobile designer,
E. T. “Bob” Gregorie who had spent a few years designing yachts
was now unemployed because few were needing yachts during a deep depression.
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
V-12 convertible for his personal use.
European sports cars customarily had outside mounted spares, Edsel dubbed
the convertible the “Continental.”
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,
where he spent the 1939 spring vacation with his family.
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 mechanical parts would come from Ford products already in
Allegedly, Gregorie drew the design in about 30 minutes. A Lincoln
Convertible Sedan #H747650 was chosen for its strengthened frame.
the body was sectioned, (a 4-inch strip cut out of the body) a special
trunk designed, and inserts welded and leaded into the fenders to lengthen
12 inches. All this was done by hand as dies were not produced until the
model. The running boards were entirely eliminated, and the same bumper
used on the front and rear of the car.
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
to the outside.
custom did not have a metal cover over the spare tire.
Lincoln division then produced a 2 prototype, a black cabriolet (convertible
with roll up windows) which was called an “Engineering Test Car”,
with fenders extended only 8 inches.
also produced a coupe, and two more Cabriolets as prototypes on the 1939
Continental produced on 1939 frames was called a 1940 Continental.
the Continental was put into production, Edsel Ford’s Dove Grey original
prototype was cut up and destroyed along with the coupe.
what a wonderful museum piece that could have been)
Gregorie drove the Continental to New York to the World’s Fair but the
car vibrated so badly that he stopped at a
yard and bought a pair of 2 X 2’s and wedged them under the cowl in an
X pattern to cure the vibration.
he replaced the 2 X 4’s with a pair of metal pipes welded into the cowl
in an X pattern.
a peek under the dash and look at the cowl on your Classic Thunderbird)
gave car #2, the Engineering Test Car, to Bob Gregorie near the end of
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.”
might have heard all these, but probably not.. since Prototype #2 was built
without a radio!
though it was produced and driven in Detroit, it also did not have a heater.
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.
the time the 1941 model was produced, dies were in place and the 1941 and
later models were stamped out rather than
Wichita resident Gene Razook’s ’41 as it appeared this month at Automobilia)
slightly redesigned 1942 Continental was just into production when WWII
broke out and all production was suspended.
the Continental was a trend setter for 1940-42.
to Continental #2, which Edsel Ford gave to Bob Gregorie. ( I told
you to hold that thought)
to vehicle numbers and records, the car can be shown to have somehow migrated
to Beverly Hills, California where an aircraft company
it to deliver customers around town. (Cars
and Parts Magazine,Volume 46, Number 3, March 2003 pages 10-15, West Peterson)
was then sold to an individual who used it to haul construction materials
for a new house he was building.
along the line, the V-12 engine had been discarded and replaced with a
V8 engine and different transmission.
Edsel Ford died of stomach cancer in 1943 and Gregorie was
to leave Ford, to be called back for a short period of time when Henry
Ford II took over.
his years at Ford, Gregorie migrated to Florida to go back to
designing. Gregorie last saw his prototype Continental when he dropped
a used car lot in Detroit in the mid 40’s. (But hold that thought)
the war was over, Ford dusted off the tools and dies and with only minute
1946 Lincoln Continental began production.
A yellow 1946 Continental Convertible served as Pace Car for the Indianapolis
500 in 1946)
only minor changes for 1947 and 1948 the last V-12 to be manufactured by
major U.S.Automaker rolled off the line; the Continental was
after the 1948 model year.
1940-48 Lincoln Continental was universally considered to be one of the
most beautiful production cars ever produced by Ford…or anybody, and it
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
typical kit consisted of a body mount for the wheel, rear bumper extension,
tailpipe extension and a metal cover for the tire.
“Continental Kit” was popular and available for several brands from the
late 40’s forward.
Ford manufactured one as a dealer installed accessory for several different
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.
today Continental Kits are manufactured by various companies for over 200
1956 Thunderbird, however, does not have a “Continental Kit.”
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.
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
1952, it was sold a Ralph Ball.
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
panel and Ball was seriously injured also.
sued, and obtained a substantial cash settlement to repair the car, but
never got around to it.
1960, members of the Lincoln-Zephyr Owners Club, headed by LZOC publications
director George Tissen found the car and attempted
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
for himself with the intention of restoring it.
years passed before restoration was started in 1967, but the person doing
its mechanical restoration went into the service and did
return until 1969, and the car restoration never resumed.
one thing, it is hard to restore a one-of-a-kind car with nothing to compare
1977, Bob Anderson from Pennsylvania purchased the car and although he
was a veteran Lincoln restorer, the car sat for another 20 years before
that time Anderson accumulated most of the NOS parts necessary for a
restoration begun in 1997.
car was finished just in time for the 2002 Amelia Island Concours in Florida,
where it took 1st in its class.
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!
of the first things Gregorie did was peek under the dash to see if the
X bracing was still intact. It was.
took Gregorie for a ride in the car and Gregorie told Anderson
additional details about the car. It was fortunate that Anderson was
to gain this information because Gregorie died 9 months later at age 94.
Kaminsky, Cars and Parts Magazine, Volume 46 number 3, March 2003 page
for this article was accumulated from the massive library maintained by
the Mid-Kansas Vintage Thunderbird Club
#2, once a basket case,but now a first class
has continued on the concours show circuit since
time, and most recently won the 2012 Elegance at
Award, at Hershey, PA.
no, this Continental does not have a “Continental
it has an external mounted spare wheel and tire.
known as our Prez Rod’s magazine collection
relied upon are properly cited above, and additional articles are located
on the Internet
Rod Wake, Mid-Kansas President
Last summer was one
of the hottest summers since 1980 and took its toll on our Thunderbird
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
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
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
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!
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!
forget who helps make all our activities possible;
Thunderbird Club International, Inc.
you do not belong to VTCI, join today!
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.”
and International Conventions:
Rod and Secretary Bev, and Larry and Treasurer Lynda Fichter represented
the Mid-Kansas Vintage Thunderbird chapter at the
Away to I-O-Way” North Central VTCI Regional at Des Moines in June, both
couples driving their Retro Thunderbirds.
Des Moines Larry was seen talking seriously with a Vintage Thunderbird
of Kansas City owner who had arrived driving an
Yellow 2002 Retro with its own trailer for additional luggage capacity.
the same four club members are finalizing plans to attend the 2012
VTCI International Convention at
Carolina September 25-30.
the scenes, Larry has fabricated and built a trailer hitch for their Mountain
Shadow Grey 2003 and purchased a cute
wheel trailer with streamlined box for their use in an extended trip including
Charleston, then on through Washington D.C.,
the eastern part of the U. S.
for Larry and Lynda’s trailer at some of our events as well.
International at Charleston promises to be a fabulous experience and we
are looking forward to it with great anticipation.
the latest issue of The Scoop for details—it is not too late to sign up
and join us at the International!
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:
Valley Car Show, Lindsborg, Kansas.
This show did not garner
any support when presented at the meetings. It did prove to be of
several of our Retro members
to just drive to Lindsborg in a “fun run” to see the cars, get some food,
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
Around the Curve
Bird Watchers Alert!
2002 and 2003
Big Bird Bazaar:
Parts and Services
or sources of service for our Birds are free to club members, but business
card size ads run $60 per year.
less than $5 per issue ‘cause we usually run 14 editions per year.
What have you to sell?
& Misc For Sale:
(used to be John Moler’s
car) for $7,000.
Call Joe at Yoder,
At Lake Afton, a gentleman
the Old Editor and said
he has a perfect condition, possibly NOS Thunderbird
Spinner Wheel Cover.
Asking $100.00 for
(used to be Kress
Fall’s car) for $8,500
Call Joe at Yoder,
Moler saw this one on the Internet:
1965 Aqua Blue HT
3101 Cornhusker Highway
John says it looks nice
Thunderbird Blue with black
soft top and boot cover
Curt and Diana Rakestraw
are selling their 2002 Retro
Torch Red hardtop,Torch
and black soft top.
Red and Black two tone interior
all the accessories.
Currently in the Wichita
Evening Black (Gads, that
with special upgrade sand
Both tops.14,000 miles and
fresh all over.
$29,500 call Chris
Now folks, you won’t find
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 GO TO VTCI
16, 5:30 PM
4131 W. Maple
Guys, we must
be doing something right at Spears!
First we eat, then we meet!
to grow for our meetings and the July
27 members and one guest!
Keep ‘em coming!