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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 Newsletter May 2012 Newsletter




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


Mid-Kansas Chapter Loses Charter Member: 


Our club was saddened to hear of the passing of Leon Cotton
 at Clearwater, Kansas on May 6,2012, at age 86.

 Leon and Mildred, along with son  Greg Cotton were among the group
 who met at Potbelly’s Restaurant in 1992 and formed 
Mid-Kansas Vintage Thunderbird Club, 
at that time a chapter of Heartland VintageThunderbird Club. 
Leon and Mildred were mainstays of our club up through
 the 90’s and their beautiful 1965 Hardtop was a part of 
every club event we had in Wichita, and most of the annual
 events at Kansas City. 
They participated in the Hannibal International Convention
 in 2004, all of our Dream Car Shows and other club events.
Leon and Mildred were always supportive of the Lake Afton
 All Wheels Rally, and a relative told that although Mildred did
 not like heat, she was always among the first to arrive at a car
 show to support Leon in his favorite hobby. 
Leon and Mildred also participated regularly at All Ford Day, 
and loved to visit with club members and others in the comfort of the 
shelter house around our annual pot luck dinner.

A Kansas native, Leon was born in Adams, Kansas and lived in the Viola and
Clearwater area for most of his adult life. Leon knew how to work with his hands
and worked not only the oil fields, but other skilled jobs including Vulcan
Chemicals from which he retired. Leon lost Mildred, his wife of 64 years only a
few months ago and only his own failing health kept Leon from participating in our more recent meetings and events. Leon had told others he still enjoyed our
chapter Newsletters as a way to keep up on what we were doing and we continued sending them to Leon.
The church at Clearwater where Leon’s funeral was held, was nearly filled with relatives and friends,and Leon’s ’65 Thunderbird, immediately behind the
hearse led the procession out to the cemetery.
Leon was particularly proud of his Thunderbird and his eyes would sparkle as he
told how he had found it. 
He enjoyed showing its unique original remaining factory tags and markings
still intact.
 Leon’s ’65 will be leaving our area,  now in the capable hands of daughter and son-in-law Dana and Robert Fitzsimmons, Clearwater and Conway Springs natives now residing in Winfield, Missouri. 
Our club members Prez Rod, Larry Fichter, and Richard Carlisle visited with the
Fitzsimmons family at Leon’s funeral are relieved that the car will continue to receive the attention and care that Leon and Mildred gave to it. We look forward to seeing the car again at VTCI events. 


Speaking of ’65 Convertibles:
It sat in an older gentleman’s back yard and shed for several years before David Dannels, in partnership with the late
Kress Fall located and bought a much neglected ’65  Thunderbird Convertible.

The engine would turn over and the top motor
would growl when the boys brought it home
with no definite plans for its future. 
David already had one ’65 Convertible and at that
time Kress had two Thunderbirds under roof. 
Along came Sal DeLucia who bought the ’65 from the
partners and parked it along with his other
works in progress. 
Sal has had a rough work schedule at Hawker Beechcraft for the last few years and never got around to doing what he planned with the car. 

In 2011, Sal sold it to new Vintage club member Carl Marts. Carl already had a ’64 HT in the works but quickly shifted his time and talents to the ’65 convertible.
Making this car presentable was a major challenge,  but Carl has an extensive mechanical background and has a knack for enlisting help from other club

Daughter April and Grandsons Alec and Austin have also been helpful when available. 
Carl has been making steady progress on the ’65 and with the help of Henry Messerschmidt and Larry Fichter, has done some heavy
duty work on the body. 
This includes rust repairs to the floor pans, rocker panels, some sheet metal replacement. 
This includes some custom metal fabrication by Henry using some snazzy tools and equipment he owns. 
Carl also has the upholstery rounded up along with other soft trim. 
Don’t know the time schedule of Carl’s ’65 but looks like one of these days we will be seeing another ‘65 convertible among our flock 
of ‘Birds; a convertible that without the enthusiasm and dedication of a few ‘Bird lovers would have still been parked in some old
gentleman’s back yard.

A little investigation shows Carl’s Thunderbird left Wixom, Michigan on August 21, 1965 destined for Ford’s Los Angeles sales district.
It would be interesting to know the 1,000 stories of where the car went between that time and the few years ago when the boys found 
it in Wichita looking for a new owner. 
But regardless of where it has been, we now where it is going—to some car events with the club!

The mission of the Vintage Thunderbird Club International is, “to encourage the preservation and enjoyment of all models of Ford 
Thunderbird—one of America’s most beloved automobile nameplates.” 
The purpose for our Mid-Kansas Vintage Thunderbird Club , as stated in our By-Laws is, “…the preservation, restoration
and enjoyment of Thunderbird automobiles built by Ford Motor Company from 1955 through 2005. 
The prime objective of this club is to promote social activity and cooperation among its members and interest and enjoyment of the hobby…”

So take your pick, whether it be the mission of the  VTCI, or the mission of our own Mid-Kansas Vintage club, Carl, Henry, and Larry 
are good examples of what both clubs are all about.
 Friends helping friends  with a common goal in mind;
put a Thunderbird back into use as close to its original condition as possible, for the benefit of the club, its members, and an admiring public.
We will catch up with the Thunderbird a few months from now, and fill you in on its progress.



My Sentiments Exactly:
(Subtitle, “Wish I Would Have
Said That!" )
How many times have you seen something in print which is 
exactly what you have thought, but somebody else put it into words? 

This time the “wish I had said that” is on the
subject of car colors. A few issues back, Editor-In-Chief Richard Lentinello wrote an article in Hemmings Classic Cars about the absence of pretty colors in today’s cars. In the current issue of Hemmings Classic Cars, Richard published 51 of the responses received in response to the article. 
Here are just two of them

“Unlike the cars of the mid-20th Century, modern cars have no discernable lines, or design separations that lend themselves to two-tone color  schemes, unlike the ‘two and three box’ styles that we know and love. Lee Fowble, Edmonds, Washington”

“The 1970’s in many ways, were the best years as far as colors and choices of almost any individual options to add to your cars—not like today’s take-it-or-leave-it $3,000 package options.

Keep in mind, the ‘70’s also had cars with pinstripes, vinyl tops, many choices of engine and transmission options, wheel covers and nice rims.  It was very hard to find any two new cars with the same color combinations and options. As for me, if I’m going to spend $40-$50K for a new car, I want to be noticed!
Randy Zelhofer, Sussex, Wisconsin”

(Hemmings Classic Car, July, 2012, pages 38-42)

Wish I’d have said that!

     Dues Membership and Numbers:

April’s due date came and went, and many club members paid their dues as required. You will notice we
said “many” and not “all” members paid. That means that if you have not paid your dues, please contact Lynda promptly and make arrangements because we cannot afford to lose any more members.



The Mid-Kansas Thunderbird Car College is offering a course (non-credit) to increase our
knowledge of that well known invention, the Automobile

This month’s lesson:

Hardtop Convertible: 
Here is the correct definition, as printed in Hemmings Motor News Collector Car Encyclopedia:
 “Body featuring frameless
doors and no B Pillar (center roof support) that allows for continuous open space from the
 A Pillar at the windshield frame, to the C Piller at the rear of the body when both the front and rear windows are rolled down.”

Lecture Portion (Take Notes):
 Everybody knows that when the side windows and
quarter windows are rolled down on a convertible with its top UP, 
(no middle post or B Pillar) it makes a very attractive look. 

In the mid 40’s somebody discovered that if you were to take a standard convertible with roll-up framed windows and simply fashion a steel, permanent top for it you had all the good looks of a convertible with the safety and comfort of a closed car. 

The 1949 Cadillac came out with a hard top convertible, followed quickly in 1950 and 1951 by other GM cars such as the Pontiac, Olds, and Chevy. 
The others scrambled to
follow—Ford with its 1951 Victoria, Mercury and Lincoln with 1952 “hardtop Convertibles” and also Dodge and Plymouth.

They sold like hotcakes and before long, everybody had a “Hardtop,” (proper noun) which was short for a hard topped convertible. Our 1958-1982 Thunderbirds are Hardtop Convertibles.

When you see an ad in the paper that says, “For Sale, 1962 Thunderbird Coupe” you know that is the wrong term.


The President’s Message

By Rod Wake, Mid-Kansas President

Dear Thunderbirders, 

Lackluster as May was for our club, June promises to be filled with activities.
Lake Afton, and the North Central VTCI Regional Convention at Des Moines
are coming right up. 
Next Newsletter will be bulging at the seams with Thunderbird news.
 In the meantime, we need to take care of business and rake in all the outstanding dues. 
Lynda is ready, willing, and able to accept and deposit dues so we will know what assets we have for the rest of the year.

Please notice---no monthly meeting at Spears this month
We will be touching briefly on business items at the Lake Afton Show. 

I had our banner updated at Quick Signs, to properly show our VTCI affiliation, and our correct Website
address and you need to check it out at Lake Afton  where it will be prominently displayed.


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.  Weneed to promote the VTCI.  If you have club members who are not  yet VTCI  members pleaseencourage 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 friendsfrom across the country and the world.  My wife, Sandy, and I have found some lasting friendshipsthat 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 articlesabout your Thunderbird, lets you know where you can find parts to restore that Thunderbird andsell 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




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!” 

Talk about unique, this 1960 Thunderbird is particularly unique as only 2,536 of them with sliding sunroof were produced for the ’60 model only. 
The sliding metal panel was installed offsite by American Specialty Company as designated ‘Birds were on their way from Budd Stamping’s assembly line to Ford’s Wixom assembly line. 
The Sunroof Thunderbirds were not given separate model numbers, and were also treated to a unique windbar and stanchions to reduce highway wind noise. 
This special feature cost the buyer another $242.00 in 1959/60 dollars, but is worth ‘way more than that in
today’s funds! 

The specimen featured here was on hand at the Hoosier Vintage Thunderbird Club’s 2011 VTCI Regional Convention at Fort Wayne, Indiana in June, 2011.



Regional and International Conventions:

By the time you receive the next Newsletter, Prez, Secretary, Treasurer and Larry will have
attended the North Central Regional Convention at Des Moines.
 The Convention will be June 21-24 and the aforementioned officers  will be taking Retros to the
We’ll tell you all about it next issue.

In the meantime, Vice President Mike took a road trip to Minden, Nebraska to meet with the Rocky Mountain Chapter in touring the
fabulous museum complex there, along with some Thunderbird fun and fellowship.
 Mike will be reporting on that trip, also.

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 whichthe majority wished our club to support with a good presence. This list also includes events which may have cropped up since thatmeeting.

The events are:

June 10:  Lake Afton All Wheels Rally
sponsored by the Mid-Kansas VintageThunderbird Club and the Wichita Classic Thunderbirds. 
In other words, …..US! 

Nuff said, Be there! Prez Rod and Prez Royce will be there ahead of time making an attempt to
save a large area for our Thunderbirds!
See you all there!

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

June 21-23: Fly Away to Io-way North Central VTCI Convention at Des Moines. 
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!

Did you see this one? 
On Sunday, April 29, Davis Moore’s Ad showed as follows: 
02 Ford Thunderbird, only 18K
miles. Whisper white with Torch red interior and a
Whisper white removable hardtop. Well equipped in  dual
power leather seats, 6-disc in dash CD, Traction control,
and much more. This one has the storage cart for the top,
and the original window sticker in the glove box. Was
$40,245 new, now only$24,922

Carl Marts reports that Hambelton LaGreca has two Retro
Birds in inventory; a Merlot and a Torch Red one.  $18,000
for one and not certain about the other one.

A yellow 2002 Thunderbird became available at a dealer in
Goddard, but was gone by the time Darryle Barth could get
there to check it out. 
That is the main reason the Newsletter

has almost quit listing them altogether…they are usually
gone before the Newsletter comes out!

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
. Kool  Rides
802  E. Madison
 Arkansas City,  KS
Local supplier for Smithy’s Mufflers 
and similar street rod accessories..
Carl Marts spotted a
1964 Thunderbird HT

Runs, needs brakes, carburetor rebuild.
(316) 518-2729

...0.0000.............................................................. .
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
This just in!! 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.$24,000.00. 
Curt Rakestraw 
(316) 722-4018
. .
2002 Thunderbird. 
Located in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Evening Black, both tops,
chrome wheels, 49,000 miles. 
Drivers seat worn a bit. 
Carfax shows a salvage title because of an accident at 326 miles—right front fender replaced, but owner says no problems with the car.
Asking $12,000.00.

(816) 868-9140
. .
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 316-648-2444
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!



June 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: